Beyond the Boarders: Nepalese student explores interest for international education systems, study abroad

Physics and mathematics double major sophomore Pranish Shrestha feels passionately about cultural and racial issues. As an international student originally from Nepal, he studied abroad in the Netherlands where he fostered his fascination with learning about different cultures, and he currently works closely with the International Student & Scholar Services office at Geneseo. 

With his growing interest in learning about different international educational systems, Shrestha pursued his desire to learn and chose to study abroad in the Netherlands where he felt solely interested in the function of their higher educational system. 

“The Netherlands was an opportunity to go abroad and experience a different kind of culture. The higher education in Nepal is, I would like to say, it’s not as good as other countries,” Shrestha said. “And that’s what prompted me to go to the Netherlands, to push in my higher education and also to expose me to a different culture.”

Shrestha is also very well-informed about literacy skills in the various countries he has studied in. While the United States has a good education system that encourages students to continue to learn, he knows that Nepal’s literacy rates are on the lower end of the spectrum, especially since their system blossomed just 50 years ago.

“I think [the literacy rate] is not comparable, you know… it’s totally different, the mindset of the people. The literacy rate of Nepal is around 60% and that actually contributes to a lot of the people thinking of people in Nepal,” Shrestha said. “So, it’s fair to say that they’re behind in technology, and [it’s two different lives].”

In addition to his passion for cultural education, Shrestha has a strong opinion about racial issues on campus. He speaks mainly about the most recent incident associated with lack history. 

“Yeah, it was disturbing… It was exactly a week ago that I came to know about the issue, and I work for the International Students office as well, and so it was not just like [a] disturbing thing for the Black community, but me not being Black and being [someone who is international], it affected me in that kind of way,” Shrestha said. “[Since] I had like followed the Black history in America… to see [this racial incident] happen in the college community was, you know, it was really disturbing for me.” 

As an international student who has both assimilated into an Americanized culture, and who has dedicated his time to learning about Black history, Shrestha’s reaction was well understood. But, as he continued to stay informed of the issue, he did come to appreciate the administrative efforts to combat the problem. 

In reflecting on this recent issue as well as other cultural and racial incidents that have occurred previously, Shrestha explains his interest in understanding why these problems arise. 

“I am a physics major … I’m in a physical world, and these are social issues that are actually affecting me,” Shrestha said. “I just think that it’s … the same kind of sentiments that you share, [it’s like a connectedness].” 

Shrestha’s admirable passion for cultural and racial issues will undoubtedly add to the safety of the campus and to the college’s already diverse culture.