Reflections

Working at OLE and living in Nepal was one of my all-time favorite experiences. I went bungee jumping, biked a 50K with my coworkers, went ziplining, and ate the lung of a buffalo. I never thought I would do any of those things and I did all of them in just one summer. I was out of my comfort zone upon arrival in Kathmandu and I stayed in that area of discomfort the entire summer. Not only did I learn to have a sense of adventure, I also learned how to take better care of myself and to not plan every minute detail of my life. I learned how to listen to my body and give it time to relax and heal, which is something I had been severely neglecting at Davidson and during my time abroad. My time at Davidson was spent eating too much junk food, not sleeping enough, and crying (a lot). I put my work and extracurricular activities above my mental and physical well-being and I learned in Nepal that taking care of yourself makes life so much better. Not only was I able to be more productive, but I began enjoying myself doing the simplest things. I was much happier and I’m already applying what I learned about myself in Nepal to this semester in Beirut. I take time out of my day to be myself (I even started training for a half marathon) and make sure I get enough sleep every night–even if I don’t finish all of my work. Doing this has already made me a better student, friend, and person and I really hope I continue this back at Davidson. I also hope that I don’t lose my renewed sense of adventure when I return to Davidson. Keeping it up in Beirut has been easy because there are so many places I have yet to visit in Lebanon and so many dishes I haven’t tried yet, but it will definitely be more difficult to do at Davidson. I fear I’ll get back into a monotonous, stressed out routine, but I’m using what I’ve learned from my time in Nepal and Lebanon to make sure this doesn’t happen.

 

OLE Nepal gave me an opportunity to work in a field of education that I hadn’t had before. I’ve worked (and am currently working) for education-based NGOs and have been teaching small classes for the last four years, but OLE was completely different. Working there reaffirmed my dedication to education access and showed me that I could enjoy education-based work that wasn’t teaching. I originally feared that working in an office setting would bore me, but it made me appreciate teaching in a classroom even more. I am very grateful for the lessons I learned in online education, lesson planning, and curriculum work but I don’t think I will stop teaching in the traditional sense anytime soon. I was also able to make time to teach a weekly English class and run a self-defense workshop while I was in Kathmandu. This is especially reassuring as I start looking for non-teaching jobs. No matter what type of job I have in the future, I know that I will make time to teach and spend time with students. After almost a year of living abroad, I’m ready to go home. I’m nervous to return to Davidson, but I know having these lessons under my belt will definitely make it a more enjoyable and rewarding experience the second time around.

 

These are pictures of the students in my English class. These girls are part of a program, Sikaai, run by the organization I volunteered with called Powerful Hands. Sikaai provides these students with housing, free classes, and meals.

This was taken after we finished learning some of the lyrics to One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”.

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