Student placements abroad – my experience in Nepal

March 22, 2018


Caption: Teaching students about solid waste management in a government school near Jhamsikhel.


Dreaming of doing a placement abroad? WSU student Robert Watkiss made it a reality and interned in Nepal.


W’SUP: In a nutshell, what was it like?

Robert Watkiss:

My experience in Nepal was enlightening. I did struggle to adjust initially, for the first 10 to 15 days, but once I began to relax and met some of the Nepalese, experiencing their hospitality and inclusivity, it really began to become a great experience.

The placement itself included an internship with Clean up Nepal – an organisation based in Kathmandu – as well as attendance at Kathmandu University (School of Arts) in Hattiban (Patan).


W’SUP: Why did you choose to intern abroad?

Robert Watkiss:

I initially did the internship purely because it was a pre-requisite to my degree, but it has opened my eyes tremendously and introduced me to some amazing people. It influenced the way I think about rubbish disposal and food wastage back here in Australia, and even life in general.

The experience taught me to be patient, and to relax. I liked it so much, I even went back for two weeks during my short break before the autumn semester.

It isn’t really the place that makes the experience but the people you meet, and there is no shortage of amazing and accepting people in Kathmandu. Overall, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity and would gladly do it again.


W’SUP: What did your internship entail?

Robert Watkiss:

The internship involved three main tasks. First one was to develop and deliver presentations, which sought to educate and increase awareness among the children of the British school, as well as the Nepalese government schools, about appropriate management and disposal of solid waste.

Second one was to construct a literature review regarding gender equality and social inclusion, and its role in waste management in the town of Bharatpur in the Terai region.

Third one was to promote and compete in [a race to help raise funds. We had to run a] 10km circuit in the Nuwakot National park near Kathmandu. We were successful in completing all three of these tasks.


W’SUP: What else did you experience in Nepal?

Robert Watkiss:

I had the pleasure of witnessing the Dashain and Tihar festivals. Riding the “ping” many times (a Nepalese bamboo swing), and participating in the Deusi Bhailo dance.

About this dance; men and women visit local homes and then sing and dance there to raise money for a cause. We raised 35,000 Nepalese rupees (approximately AUD $434), which went towards an e-library.

I also explored all of the local temples and monuments including the Monkey Temple, which has fantastic views over Kathmandu.

I did plenty of cycling through the traffic, which can get quite dangerous but is probably the most efficient way to travel the roads of Kathmandu and even the outskirts.

The Nepalese in general are very inclusive and incredibly resourceful. The food is fantastic despite my initial weariness.

There is a decent nightlife with plenty of live music, as well as clubs, bars and the like to let your hair down. You will also see many foreigners from all over the world you can interact with.

You do have to still keep your wits about you but for the most part, if you are out for a good time then you will likely find one, and will certainly be welcomed by most people you meet, and be assisted if you find yourself lost or in strife.


W’SUP: Would you recommend doing an internship in Nepal?

Robert Watkiss:

I would recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to spend some time in Nepal, to just grab the opportunity, and really throw themselves into the experience. Don’t hold back because you’ll be back home before you know and wishing you could do it all over again. There will be hardship, but it will make you grow as a person, and provide you with insight into the amazing culture and attitude of the Nepalese.


If you are interested in a study or intern experience overseas, attend Western Sydney Uni’s Go Global Fair on 16 April. For more information, check out:


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