Tell me something about you (name, age, education, interests, future plans)?
I’m Sujita Sapkota, a resident of Panauti-1 in Kavre, Nepal. I’m currently enrolled in my third year of a bachelor’s degree program in education with English as a major at Kushadevi Campus. I’m 21 years old right now. From a public school here in Nepal, I received my secondary education. I’ve also had experience teaching younger students. My family chose the education faculty for me as my career because they couldn’t afford the more expensive alternative options. Given that my parents are farmers, they were unable to invest significantly in my schooling. I have also accepted this career with passion now. My father hopes I become a government teacher. I currently intend to take the Teacher Service Commission (TSC) examination to become a government teacher. Right now, I am authorized to teach in Nepal. I will devote most of the time I have after finishing my undergraduate studies to studying for the TSC exam because it is a highly challenging procedure and selection demands a lot of effort. I also enjoy reading, listening to music, collecting coins, travelling, and helping my parents around the house. After earning my bachelor’s, I intend to apply for scholarships to study abroad and earn my master’s. Then, I want to return to Nepal and use my skills in a variety of fields, including teaching, organizing awareness campaigns to educate young girls and promote girls’ education, as well as mentoring young women in my nation.
What kind of activities did you attend during your two-weeks stay in Luxembourg? What did you like the most?
I’m Sujita Sapkota from Panauti- 1 Kavre, Nepal. I’m currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Education program with English as a Major. I’m presently in my third year of college. I attend Kushadevi Campus for my studies. A youth club called Kushadevi Youth Club was established in my college with the help of the Association for Rural Development (ARD) and undergraduates there. I am this club’s Sub- Secretary.
A youth exchange program between Nepali and Luxembourgish teenagers was organised as part of the ARD and AEIN project. I was also chosen for this exchange program after a few rounds of application and interviews. ARD assisted me in obtaining my passport, visa, and other documents so I could participate in the exchange program.
My flight was scheduled for September 26, 2022. My group and I were making our first trip to a foreign country. My family was quite worried about me, but they were also thrilled for me because I was getting to experience this wonderful opportunity and was on a journey with a superb team. The aircraft departed from Kathmandu at 3:45 PM NST on September 26. The flight I just took was the longest of my life. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a window seat, but I still had a great experience.
We arrived at Findel airport at 10:00 AM (Luxembourg time), on September 27. At the airport, the AEIN team greeted our group and took some pictures. Jeff drove his car to take us to Liliane’s residence.
After that, we introduced ourselves to one another. At Lilliane’s, we had lunch and participated in a Jamara plantation ritual for Dashain, which is merely a Nepalese Hindu tradition. Delegates and our friends who were staying at Lilliane’s home waved goodbye to us. The rest of us were accommodated at Edmee’s home. We were taken to Edmee’s by Lesley. Edmee gave us a brief house tour and walked us to our rooms. We got refreshed and got some sleep because we were so exhausted from the trip. We had a new day and program in wait for us.
Sarita, Prashna, me, and Suluchona ma’am woke on the lovely morning of September 28 and joined Lesley for a delightful breakfast while greeting Jeff. We visited the National School for Adults (ENAD) after breakfast. We took pictures, had coffee, and introduced ourselves to our youth acquaintances. We began a city trip to the Golden Queen, Church, and Security Office with the stamina provided by caffeine and the energy of a recent friendship, and we chatted with other young friends while on the tour. Following lunch, there was a presentation. After that, we went to the AEIN office. We went to the park behind the AEIN office and snapped some pictures to commemorate the trip. Then, we had a crucial conversation on the global problems brought on by climate change. It surprises us to learn how the poor and the environment have been impacted by climate change. This conversation gave us a sense of obligation to work toward a sustainable future. Following the conversation, Francoise Ma’am accompanied us to a Nepali store where we made some purchases. We cooked a Nepali meal and served it to the team. We went back to the houses where we were staying and had a restful night.
We visited the university with several young friends and the AEIN team on the crisp morning of September 29. We attended a session with a presentation about entrepreneurship at the university. There, we also enjoyed some snacks. After that, we went to a homeless shelter where anyone in need could come and eat for free. We also had a meal there. We exchanged stories about food and other topics during our conversations. We also received a gift and then we went to ‘Be New’. In “Be New,” recycled old clothing was used to create new garments with innovative designs. What a great example of something we can do in our own country to lessen the waste brought on by fashion! We went back to Liliane’s house at the end of the day to rehearse a dance for cultural exchange. We eventually ate some snacks before returning to the house where we were staying for a restful night.
We greeted our kind host Edmee as soon as we woke up. With our team, we went over ENAD once again and took an English class. We also talked about how Nepal and Luxembourg differ and are similar in terms of their cuisines, eating customs, educational systems, transportation systems, and political dynamics. Learning about a developed nation like Luxembourg was fascinating. Following that, we were outdoors enjoying the scenery when we came across some sheep. The weather was breathtakingly lovely.
After taking a break in the presence of nature, we visited a biogas factory to see how waste can be converted into green energy. After eating some potato fries, we travelled to the Belgian border before returning to Luxembourg. We then prepared a Nepali supper to share with Edmee before going to bed.
Festival Nepal was one of our programs. We went there with Sam dolled up in our cultural dresses. We gave our visitors topis and put tikas on their foreheads as a way of saying “welcome.” Then we performed our traditional dance for them. We interacted with other people, including Nepalis living in Luxembourg. We cherished that day and had a satisfying lunch of Nepali food. We departed as Jeff drove us back to our homes.
After waking up, we had breakfast. Our group visited Germany. We had to use an umbrella the entire day because it was raining. We visited Karl Marx’s birthplace and his house, which has been maintained as a museum. It made me think of the historical sites we can protect in our own country, Nepal.
Additionally, we went to a stunning palace in Germany. After eating at McDonald’s for lunch, we met at Liliane’s house. We made a Nepali dessert. It turned out to be Father’s Day, so we enjoyed a small celebration with dinner. We surprised Sam and the family with a Father’s Day celebration when we got back to Edmee’s. Afterwards, we went to bed.
I discovered that I had a common cold in the morning. Everyone wondered if I ought to stay home and relax instead of taking a city tour. They did invite me to join them on the tour to an organic farm, though. I nevertheless desired to accompany them on their city tour. My cold and flu were forgotten in the process. We bought several things we needed at the Nepali and Luxembourgish supermarkets. At a Nepali restaurant, we had dinner. After that, we took a tram. For the journey to an organic farm, we had Jeff’s vehicle. We saw chickens, pigs, goats, and cows. The cattle were entirely distinct from the ones we breed in Nepal. They produced milk and other products that are in demand in the market. Pesticides are not used in their agricultural products. To sell things, they had a shop of their own. I recalled how the farmers in Nepal had limited access to the market and relied on middlemen to sell their goods.
After leaving the farm, we returned home and went to Edmee’s place to cook a Nepali dinner. Along with eating dinner together, Edmee’s family, Jeff, his wife, and our team also delivered food to Liliane’s home. We slept after cleaning the kitchen.
Jeff came to pick us up after we got ready in the morning. We went to one of the SOS Children’s villages. They assisted HIV-positive children, children who were orphans or had unstable families. SOS Children’s Villages are also located in Nepal. It makes me feel good to know how SOS has been helping neglected and underprivileged kids all across the world. We had some cookies and hot chocolate there. We said goodbye to everyone at SOS Children’s Village before going back to ENAD. In ENAD, we prepared bones soup in a communal kitchen. We also prepared several additional meals for lunch. There, we had lunch before entering the classroom. We performed a cultural dance from Nepal while wearing traditional dress. We bid our young friends farewell after giving them Tika, scarves, and some gifts. We then travelled to the Mudam Museum. There, we rehearsed dancing. There was a meeting with the Foyer team. We danced once the meeting was over. We then spent some time with Edmee and Sam before having some drinks and dinner.
On that day, we celebrated Dashain, a very important Nepalese festival, in Nepal. It was extremely important to my teammates and me. When we were prepared, Edmee, Sam, and our team headed over to Liliane’s house. We made food for everyone. The AEIN team was also present. Sashi sir offered us tika, Jamara, blessings, and Dakshina in the form of money. We then got in a group photo. Afterwards, we ate. We did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. We visited the Schengen region, which shares a border with Germany, France, and Luxembourg. Even though we missed our families in Nepal, we had a great time that day. We had dinner at a Nepali restaurant. We took a moment to consider our journey thus far. We talked about how it went for each of us individually and what the nicest part was. We also talked about the difficulties we faced and the fresh lessons we had picked up. We were enthusiastic about sharing our friends in Nepal about our learning experience. During the conversation at the restaurant, our hosts and we experienced an emotional moment together. Indeed, it was the final day of our trip to Luxembourg. Because of AEIN and the Ard team, who provided us with this opportunity, we formed a family there. We went back to our rooms to prepare for packing and went to bed.
When our farewell breakfast in Luxembourg was over, we were prepared. Once everyone had said goodbye, Jeff, Edmee, and Sam drove us to the airport. We were at the airport on time and feeling sad at the moment, but we had to say goodbye to them and depart Luxembourg at 10:25 AM.
The visit to Luxembourg was an exciting and a very new experience for me. I believed that my interpersonal skills developed while I was with the team. I stepped out of my comfort zone and made a friendship with the youths abroad. This opportunity also gave me the scope of networking. Developed countries like Luxembourg differ a lot from developing countries like Nepal. One of the greatest learnings I made was that development can only be sustained if the country values the environment, good governance, transparency, quality education and skill enhancement. As I aim to become a teacher in near future, I am determined to deliver these experiences to the young minds that I encounter. I am determined to contribute to sharing experiences among my friends, family and college mates. I believe, a collaboration of highly advanced countries like Luxembourg and a developing nation like Nepal is essential for an equitable future and shared development. I am grateful to ARD and AEIN for this opportunity of a lifetime.
How did you like Luxembourg? Can you name the biggest differences you noticed and what was similar to your hometown?
I’m from the countryside in Nepal, which is less developed than the cities. I have noticed a noticeable contrast between these locations, as rural Nepal and Luxembourg’s urban streets are very different from one another. There are, however, some similarities as well, such as:
- Both Luxembourg and Nepal have beautiful natural landscapes and lush vegetation.
- Inadequate transparency of the government
- Rapid Population increase
- Humility toward guests
There are then a lot of distinctions between the two nations. Let’s explore,
- Strict traffic laws in Luxembourg, whereas in Nepal, people do not abide by the laws.
- Youths can make their own decision in Luxembourg, while here in Nepal we must ask our parents for permission; even for our careers.
- Arranged marriage is mainly practised here in Nepal, but not there in Luxembourg
- Schools have a liberal environment with friendly teachers.
- There is a great difference in culture, language and celebration of festivals.
- Luxembourg is highly advanced in technology, sustainability and development whereas Nepal is not.
- People in Luxembourg are more punctual than people in Nepal.
What did you learn/see in Luxembourg that you want to bring back home with you?
The educational system, organic farms, punctuality, lack of pollution, waste management, environmental protection, etc. of Luxembourg have all greatly influenced me. For Nepal to deliver high-quality education, the educational system, a liberal environment, amiable teachers, adequate classroom space, and the usage of technology must all be followed. In Nepal, the majority of the population works in agriculture, although in a traditional and subsistence capacity. Different farming practices can be found in Luxembourg. They create the commodities for the market following consumer demand without using pesticides. This is an excellent practice that Nepal might adopt as well. The punctuality of Luxembourgish is another aspect I prefer to bring home. Nepal’s urban areas are becoming more and more polluted. The cities of Nepal have become filthy due to population increase, migration from rural to urban areas, and solid waste. However, Nepal’s rural areas are significantly better than its urban centres. Both the city and the countryside in Luxembourg are equally clean, less polluted, and have effective waste management, a good transportation system, etc. During my tour, I picked up on these lessons from Luxembourg, which I wish to apply to Nepal as well.
How overall has this visit affected you?
I was very excited because this was my first foreign flight. I had the chance to learn more on the trip and learn more about Luxembourg, including its culture, food, and behaviour. I come from a very conservative society, therefore I am thankful for the chance to learn about punctuality, the liberal atmosphere at school, the canteen, SOS children’s villages, and an organic farm. The knowledge I gained from the trip will always be a part of my whole experience, and I’ll do my best to apply it to my work in Nepal. I was particularly drawn to the people in Luxembourg because of their modesty, cleanliness, and effective waste management. In a nutshell, I had a thrilling time during my visit. I was astonished by Luxembourg’s appearance, residents, surroundings, educational system, way of life, and everything else. I had the opportunity to take part in several programs and events where I spoke with young people. I have vivid memories of every event I participated in there. I sincerely appreciate everyone who helped make our visit possible. I am grateful for the whole trip since it taught me how to handle difficulties, communicate with people, and improve my networking, leadership, and communication abilities. For the chance I was given, ARD and AEIN have my eternal gratitude.