Bandana Adhikary is from Kathmandu in Nepal. She was funded by a Rotary Scholarship from District 1090 in the Thames Valley to study for a Masters in Anthropology of Childhood, Youth and Education at Brunel University in 2020-21.
It was about a year ago, amidst the pandemic that I was jumping with joy. An email from Rotary had confirmed my scholarship to study for a Masters in the UK. I remember how lucky I felt at that moment as I shared this news to my parents. It was a delightful moment witnessing the proud faces of my parents.
A whole year has gone by, and I have now successfully completed my Masters in Anthropology of Childhood, Youth and Education with the Certificate of Merit. Looking back at my journey the overall the scholarship experience has been magnificent. I have enhanced my understanding of the subject and gained much clarity towards my goal. Firstly, I am glad that just by studying in a renowned university of London I could experience and understand how the international standard of education is. As my goal has always been to improve the education system in my country, studying here gave me a perspective and comparative measures to consider. Previously, I thought building schools in remote areas would solve most of the problems but now I have understood that it requires a holistic approach. I now want to vouch for quality education and thus want to work on improving the curriculum, training teachers, setting up libraries so that students can cultivate the habit of reading and so on, be creative and bringing out the best in them.
Studying in a different country and getting used to the educational system here was quite challenging for me at the beginning. Along with the restrictions and lockdown from the pandemic, my experiences were restricted to virtual classes. By the time restrictions were lessened, my classes were all completed so I couldn’t experience the physical aspect of going to the university.
However, for the research purpose, I visited a school in Hillingdon for two months which is the highlight of the year. I could learn so much and physically see how the learning and transformation happens in a primary school. I saw how children were explicitly taught to organize, read, have opinion, manage emotions, learn teamwork, learn from mistakes, self asses, be resilient, and know one’s strengths. The research discovered some interesting contribution of children towards their identity as they were seen adapting to the British values (accepting all cultures and being tolerant, being extremely polite, understanding and practicing sarcasm and humour without being rude). School curriculum, activities and hidden curriculum were seen as an important medium responsible in transferring those values both intentionally as well as unintentionally. Children were seen very active in making friends and understanding the group identity with influence of parents and neighbouring community. Overall, various acts of balance among teachers, students and between them was seen in the learning process.
Through all the experiences throughout the year as I met new people visited different places in the UK. I have improved my pronunciation and public speaking skill in English language as I heard and spoke to many native speakers. I have met people from different culture with distinct mindset and thus learned to appreciate and acknowledge the difference of opinions. My knowledge and understanding of education and its nuances have been broadened and I believe that all these skills gained in the last year will surely help me become a better advocate of quality education.