Donna York, IPD ’18

J-Term Practica: Nepal Wrap Around, 2017

Summary of Experience

I had never fallen this hard for a place before. When I arrived in other places it would take me two to three days before I would venture outside by myself and meet other people. Immediately I knew I was comfortable. I did not know the language. Upon reflection, I realized I did not even know much about the country.

It was not entirely perfect. Nothing ever is. I made sure that I was critical of the program and everyone. I felt uncomfortable about how I was treated differently around my team members. I noticed how my feelings and actions seem less important than other lighter skinned team members. When I lived in Benin I was constantly tormented by how scrutinized I was. Everything I did was not enough. In Nepal, I was only there for a short amount of time so I did not experience this torment. I am sure they would have treated me in a similar regard to my previous experience. But I never let my anguish become apparent. Nor did I let anyone forget the terror of being a Black woman in a White dominated field.

But ultimately, this was one of the best international experiences. So much work, play, terrifying experiences combined with together makes it memorable. I got to see Buddha’s birthplace; I place that not many people will see in their lifetime. I am not saying that I saw God, but I experience a euphoria and empathized with the many different cultures that were there. Who know when I will visit again, but I am coming back.

Nothing can compare to Nepal’s rich culture, unique food, long history, breathtaking landscape and deeply kind people. Not only have I been conducting surveys and interviews but I have also learned more about the arduous process of policy enforcement. I am looking forward to learning more about Nepali culture and I will definitely be coming back.

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