International student shares unique food, culture of Nepal

Nella Kopp


The International Students Association presented its first Cultural Experience of the semester featuring Nepal on Friday in The Ferguson Building.

The presenter was Sabina Adhikari from Kathmandu, Nepal, who is a sophomore computer science major. She was aided by Aayush Bhattarai, who is also a sophomore engineering physics major from Kathmandu.

Adhikari and Bhattarai prepared a traditional Nepalese meal, with rice, chicken curry and a native salsa made out of potatoes and cucumbers. Those present were able to sample the different foods and have one-on- one discussions with the presenters.

Adhikari shared numerous facts about Nepal, or the “City of Lights.” These included that the Nepalese follow the Hindu solar calendar, their current year is 2075 and their New Year is in April. The Nepalese say ‘Namaste’ as a respectful greeting and farewell, along with asking nearly everyone they come in contact with if they have eaten. Uninvited guests for meals and snacks are very common.

In Nepal, there are 123 spoken languages, and the highest percentage of people follow the Hindu religion. In a nation five times smaller than Texas, Nepal holds eight out of 10 of the highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest.

The nation of Nepal has about 30 million people and is broken up into three regions, the Himal, Pahad and Terai. The capital of Nepal is Kathmandu, where the 7 to 9-year- old goddess of Nepal lives, known as Kumari, or “unmarried.”

Nepal is located between India and China, and there are 133 festivals celebrated every year.

“Every day is a festival for us, we must be the happy people!” Adhikari said.

These festivals draw influence and can be similar to Indian culture.

Among these festivals are Tinar, which celebrates lights and animals. Different days of the festival focus on different animals. The second day is devoted to dogs, who protect the Nepalese homes.

For many festivals, the presence of the people is enjoyed.

“We get together and eat good food, dance and have fun,” Adhikari said.

Before the presentation, Adhikari said she was planning on addressing the cultural aspects of the country instead of the similarities or differences between Nepal and America.

“Every place has differences, I really want to focus on the culture,” Adhikari said.

In the past 20 years, Nepal has moved from being ruled by a king to a democratic society. The education has changed even more recently, transforming from the British education system to one similar to America. Nepal has many colleges and trade schools, but only five to seven universities. Bhattarai said almost 100 percent of Nepalese people pursue a higher education today.

The ISA has held events similar to this for over 10 years. Sponsor Lerin Blackmon, international admissions coordinator, said these events used to be called “Global Gateways” but the name was changed this semester to better fit the situation.

“These events are great for anybody who wants to learn about different cultures or go abroad,” Blackmon said. “You can learn about the world around us without actually having to travel.”

Nacogdoches community member Anthony Cecil has been attending Cultural Experiences for several years.

“I love getting to be a part of this, it’s like going on vacation,” Cecil said.

There will be two more Cultural Experiences this semester. Brazil will be featured on Oct. 19 and Pakistan on Nov. 2.

Originally published on on 11 October 2018

Published on Lokantar on 12 October 2018