A whole new experience
Elena Axinn, a junior at Skyline High School, was nervous to leave home and board the 17-hour plane ride. She had never experienced a country so far from home, especially anything like Nepal. Axinn wasn’t sure what to expect, but her expectations were matched.
“I was nervous about being away from everything I’ve known for so long,” Axinn said. “New food, new people, new place, it just seemed like it was going to be too many differences at once. At the same time though, I was excited to experience something so different that there was no way to even describe it, I just had to see it.”
Nepal is a small country in Asia, squeezed between the countries of China and India. Most popular for being the home of Mount Everest, Nepal also has a diverse bio-system. Tigers, Rhinos and Elephants roam the country, bringing in many tourists from around the world.
Nepal’s roads are unforgiving. With little traffic lights, groups of people walking in front of cars and large trucks, making driving an adventure of its own.
“Driving was terrifying! I don’t think I saw a traffic light the entire time I was there. We were in huge traffic jams half the time and on cliffs the other half. Also, no one uses the crosswalks there, so people just walk out,” Axinn said.
Axinn had to stay busy, as her dad was working for most of the time. “My favorite thing I did was definitely going to the school, I had so much fun there and I learned the most about Nepal because I got to see what actual daily life is like there,” Axinn said, “I also went elephant riding, paragliding, and visited buddha’s birthplace.”
Nepal is a developing country, ridden with poverty and political unrest. Axinn was looking forward to experiencing something like this, to live in other people’s shoes.
“The schools are completely different there and the kids have trouble not because it’s hard, but because their books are all in English and none of them speak the language. After school they don’t go to hang out with friends...they just ride their bikes home. Kids here play on their Ipads for fun and kids there play badminton with cardboard and empty bottles on the street corner for fun.” Axinn said.
Axinn hopes to return in the future to learn the language and work with kids.
“The experience was extremely humbling, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” Axinn said.