On November 2, 2015, the Nepal team was blessed with the opportunity to hear from Kashyap (Kash), a Nepali Calvin student, on a variety of topics, including culture shock, common greetings, food and more.
Kash took time out of his busy engineering schedule to tell us about the differences he noticed when he came to the US. These included:
- How big the US is
- How we talk to strangers
In Nepal, people normally just pass by without saying hello or acknowledging one another.
- Hugging or showing public displays of affection to the opposite gender
In Nepal, it is considered offensive for an unmarried man to hug a married woman. Although uncommon, it is generally considered okay if two unmarried people of opposite genders hug if they are of the same age.
- Drinking water out of the tap
In Kathmandu, it is most definitely not okay to drink water directly out of a tap!
- We drive on the other side of the road
- How informal Americans are
In Nepal, it is considered appropriate to refer to professors or other people of respect as Sir or Ma’am, but here it’s (sometimes) okay to say “What’s up, Prof?”
- The jetlag will be difficult to adjust to
He recommended adjusting to the Nepal time zone immediately, even if it means staying up all day.
- The infrastructure is much different
Kash reminded us that Nepal is a third world country and there isn’t heat, air conditioning or facilities that meet first world standards.
Kash also spent time telling us important things that he thinks we should be prepared for when we travel in January.
- We will have difficulty communicating – and it’s okay
- There is a high amount of pollution in Kathmandu – a mask is a must
- Nepalese people are not punctual
- People are going to stare at our large group of Americans
- There isn’t a lot of privacy or personal space
- Nepalese people will either be eager or reluctant to talk to us
- Nepal can have crazy slow internet or random power cutoffs
- Nepal is currently in a transition state, as in new political leadership, so strikes may be apparent (strikes may include: store closings, no vehicles going or entire areas closed)
- The travel to and within Nepal may be tiring, especially because of the hills
Finally, Kash gave us a few suggestions for making the most out of our time in Nepal. This list includes:
- Learning to say a few things in Nepalese, mainly greetings and common phrases, because the people will love our accents
“What’s up?” — k chha
“How are you?” — Tapai Sanchai Hunuhunchha
- Be open minded & don’t make quick decisions about people
- Try new foods!
Kash recommends momos, which are a type of dumpling. Other common foods include rice, lentils, curries, but there is no beef.
- Go with the flow in all situations
- Bring glow sticks (to give as gifts but need to check with the airline)
Kash remembers as a child that some visitors from the US brought glow sticks and they were one of the coolest things he ever received!
Other Random Topics Discussed at the Meeting:
Music – Kathmandu sometimes listens to American Music (Professor Sinniah was especially happy that Taylor Swift would be appropriate!)
Kash estimates that 60-70% of us will want to go back, while Dr. Beels estimates 94% will want to go back. Very specific, Dr. Beels!
Thanks for reading our latest blog post, and please continue to keep our team in your prayers as we prepare for our journey abroad, as well as while we are there. Please pray that the blockade of goods and fuel from India will be resolved as soon as possible. God Bless!