Sarita Sapkota

Tell me something about you (name, age, education, interests, plans). (200 words max)

I’m Sarita Sapkota, and I’m from Panauti-02, which is 32 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu in Nepal’s Bagmati Province’s Kavrepalanchok district. I’m 21 years old. I graduated from Shree Kushadevi Higher Secondary School with a SEE and a +2 and am currently enrolled there to pursue a Bachelor of Education. I enrolled in Banepa Polytechnic Institute’s Diploma in Geomatics Engineering after passing the SEE. I parallelly pursued a diploma and a +2.

When it comes to my social life, my first involvement in a group like this was when I was in the fifth grade. I had been a member of the Junior Red Cross Society for four years at the time. When I was in grade 6, in addition to being a member of it, I also joined the child club network at my school. From the age of 12, I also joined the Village Child Protection Committee (VCPC), where I served for two years. I joined Ward Child Club Network as a secretary after a year in VCPC. I had the opportunity to participate in a variety of social programs, campaigns, extracurricular activities, training, orientations, and other events during these five years. All of these activities, training and events have aided in developing self-confidence and interpersonal skills. When I was 14 years old, I had the opportunity to lead the Panauti municipality’s municipal child club network in addition to my studies. I became the leader of the committee. As the president of the Kushadevi campus youth network, I am currently active in the youth network.

I am a sociable person, and that is my only goal in life. I wanted to be a voice for the public and a helping hand to someone in need. I wanted to travel around the world and gain experience.

What kind of activities did you attend during your two-weeks stay in Luxembourg? What did you like the most? (200 words max)

On September 26, the 10-day trip to Europe with the aid of AEIN and ARD officially began. After bidding farewell to family, the Kushadevi campus, and the ARD office, our team of eight persons—two from ARD, one of our campus chiefs, and five young people from the club—departs from Kathmandu on September 26. We had three flights (KTM- DUBAI, DUBAI – AMSTERDAM, AMSTERDAM – LUXEMBOURG). There, with Luxembourg and Luxembourgish, we stayed for ten days. It was fantastic to travel to a new country and discover its unique culture. We encountered entirely new people, a new language, a new timezone, a new climate, a new culture, a new culinary preference, and a new family. For the first two days, that was extremely challenging, but after that, we got used to it. We were accustomed to new places, tastes, faces, and people. If I’m largely talking about myself, the 10 days I spent there were the best of my life because I was always learning new things. And I cherish each second of it. My favorite moment was when I shared something new with new friends who had different perspectives.

The AEIN team greeted us at the airport with lovely flowers and gifts on the 27th of September, which was our first day in Luxembourg. They picked us up at Lilian’s house, where we shared a snack, got to know one another, and then had lunch that Lilian had made. We talked about our entire plan. For our Bijaya Dashami, we first placed the jamara. The boys were left at Lilian’s place to stay while the four of us girls went to Edmee’s house. We showered at Edmee’s place, had lunch with Sam, Edmee, and Lyasli, and then took a nap.

We had been looking forward to exploring Luxembourg on our second day, so I got up early, showered, and had breakfast before Jeff and us set out to explore the country at 7:30 AM. First, we met the youth of Luxembourg at ENAD, and we introduced ourselves with photos and treats. Then, as we toured the lovely city of Luxembourg, including the Golden Queen, Church, Security Office Area, Red Bridge, etc., we began the trip with the youth and Jeff. Then we went to the area where the teenagers are helped. Following that, Franco, Jeff, and Lyasli joined us for a Nepali meal in the Nepali food kitchen. We also purchased some groceries.

On the third day, we began by going to the University of Luxembourg, where we attended a presentation on youth entrepreneurship concepts. We next went to a home for homeless persons and had breakfast there with Franco, Jeff and several young people from Luxembourg. We then headed to Lilian’s house to practice our dance, made a Nepali snack, ate it, and then returned to our home.

Our fourth day began at the ENAD school with an English class about Nepal and Luxembourg. Following our exploration of the Luxembourg village site and our visit to the Biogas project, we returned to our home to make Nepali food for the Luxembourgis, which we then ate.

On the fifth day, which was the Nepal Festival, we participated in the program the entire day and performed a Nepali dance while having a conversation about the situation of women in Nepal.

Day six was our day of sightseeing; we traveled to Germany with Jeff, enjoyed ourselves there, and then returned to Lilian’s home. For the Father’s Day celebration, we made Nepali food. After eating, we went home.

On the seventh day, Jeff took us on a tour of the city before we visited a farm, picked up the food and other supplies we would need for the lunch, and then returned to Edmee’s house to cook for Edmee’s family, which included Jeff and his wife.

Day 8 was significant since it was the day we said goodbye to the ENAD youth and began our day with Jeff. Before getting ready for the Foyer program, we first shared our kitchen with them, then we gave the school and youths gifts. After talking about the school project there, we performed our dance, ate, and then went home.

On the ninth day, Dashain, we got dressed early, went to Lilian’s house with Edmee and Sam for tika, and then came back. There, we had puja, prepared food for Dashain, and shared tika in accordance with ritual. We celebrated Dashain while eating lunch. We travelled to the Schengen region for a visit during which we also stopped by France, Germany, and Luxembourg. The entire family, including Franco, Jeff, Sam, Edmee, Lilian’s husband, Tiyano, and Ibrahim, joined us for a lunch in the Nepali kitchen. They gave us a farewell message during the dinner.

The tenth day was a difficult and highly emotional day. We got up early, packed our bags, and got ready to go back home. Jeff, Sam, Edmee, and Lilian all made the trip to the airport to bid us farewell. Finally, we returned home, filled with knowledge, memories, and a few tears.

How did you like Luxembourg? Can you name the biggest differences you noticed and what was similar to your hometown? (200 words max)

Prior to that tour, I knew very little about Luxembourg; nevertheless, following that visit, I had a sense of belonging there, which I attribute to the people’s kindness. The beauty of the village’s rooftop houses surrounded by flowers and greenery, the hospitable locals, the orderly and well-maintained system, the buildings (roads, homes, schools, and colleges), the cultures, the four major languages, and hosts, most importantly, of other factors all attracted my attention. Things like food, mealtimes, and family division that I had described there are different in Nepal. When it comes to similarities, the weather and the friendliness of the people were pretty comparable, but the timetable differs. I find everything about this country to be perfect: the structures with all the facilities, the villages with the greenery, and the rules with the order and discipline. I adore the nation, therefore I also wanted to visit a second time.

What did you learn/see in Luxembourg that you want to bring back home with you? (200 words max)

I thought the entire trip was fantastic. I gained knowledge of a new place, hospitality, and culture. I learnt things on how to adjust to a new setting. I gained confidence in my personality by learning how to communicate, engage, express myself, and greet new people. These are the key skills I learned.The most important thing I notice over there is a strong system. Everything, every work was done in very systematic ways, and if we want to change things we should have to be systematic, and that’s my great learning. However, I faced some strange experiences, like the very new taste of food which was not fine for us for a few first days, the weather over there which changed from time to time, the strict traffic rule. Punctuality and discipline should be adopted. Along with that, I saw everyone there aiming for excellence while also learning, the government supporting NGOs, and other groups doing excellent job.

How overall has this visit affected you? (200 words max)

In conclusion, the entire trip was wonderful and productive. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn and collect all of the experiences. During the visit, I encountered many unfamiliar people with peculiar behaviors, but after ten days, I developed a strong bond with them and formed a new family there, along with the above-mentioned learning. I learned a ton, and the trip left me with more questions about the foreign country, its inhabitants, and its culture. The entire experience increases my excitement for new networks and visits because I always get excited about them. The visit largely increased my confidence in every scenario; I can now state that I will fit in with any kind of location, weather, people, hospitality, foods, cultures, and many other things. I feel like I have evolved into a new version of myself, and I like seeing myself in that perspective. I’d want to thank AEIN and ARD for giving me this chance and for giving me support as I explored the enormous platform. I will retain all of my knowledge and share it with my communes, friends, family, and other people in my network. These ten days were a significant part of my life, and I shall be appreciative of all the helping hands I received to succeed till the very end of my career.