Guest post by Emily Sherr, my 18 year old daughter, who is at Durham University studying Education with History,
This Summer I have been provided with the opportunity to partake in a once in a life time experience of teaching for 6 weeks in a Nepalese charity school in Kathmandu called HVP-Central. I have never done anything like this before but the opportunity seemed ideal as I have a great interest in education and want to work with children in the future. I started Durham University this October, and I was adamant that I was going to make the most of it and not let what ifs or fears hold me back. Therefore I knew that when this opportunity arose, I shouldn't let it pass.
The title of this blog post, “a great experience for someone else’s daughter”, is a phrase I’ve heard an awful lot recently and the catchphrase my mum has coined. As you can guess, my mum is slightly, let's say, apprehensive, about me going. She liked the idea in theory, as did I; a chance to see a different country and culture, an amazing way to spend my summer, meeting new friends and learning new things, an incredible boost for my CV and doing something I really enjoy. My parents were therefore fully supportive of my application and the concept. When it became more of a reality, I got an interview and then got accepted, their opinions changed slightly. They still recognised the benefits of the trip but worry certainly set in. The positives soon became negatives; I was going somewhere I’d never been before with a different culture and way of life, teaching 40 children in a traditional classroom, going to a charity school where the amenities aren’t up to the standard of our western expectations - the theory became more appealing than the reality. To be honest, it did to me as well, this is something completely different and way out of my comfort zone. Yet, I know this is something I need to do and I also know it will be absolutely incredible. I wasn’t going to let my parents’ fears stop me.
This was a big decision especially as I am youngest and the only daughter. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for me to say that I wasn’t going. But I didn’t. So after many (many, many) arguments, disagreements and tears, we are starting to all be on the same page. It’s not that they don’t want me to go, they’re just worried, and that’s all it is. It is perfectly understandable - I’m terrified too, but I do know that I will be fine and come back in one piece (hopefully!). From the word go they have supported me and always will, irrespective or whether they wanted me to go or not, and I have to be grateful for this. As time’s gone on and it’s settled in a bit more they seem to be coming round to the idea. Mum has taken slightly more convincing but we’re getting there!
Now my parents have been dealt with I can get on with planning and realising how amazing this experience really will be. I am sure that I will greatly underestimate how much I will gain from this trip and I know it will provide me with more than I ever imagined. I am now looking forward to the challenges I am going to face and hope to gain a wealth of qualities, experiences and memories. I am going to make the most of every opportunity which arises in Nepal whether that be to do with the school or the outside community and I am very keen to actively participate in the many festivals as well as see the national sites including the numerous temples and Chitwan National Park.
Yet I hope that I will not just be gaining from the experience, but also giving. These children face so many problems in their day to day lives and I hope to give something back to them, considering they’ll be giving so much to me. The children are used to rote learning, mundane textbook syllabuses and uninspiring teaching materials. I hope I can bring some energy, life and enjoyment into the classroom by using the skills I have learnt through my Education degree, my own experiences of working with children and being in the classroom myself, to engage the children and enhance their education. For these children, being educated can dramatically change their lives and their futures making it such an important feature of their childhood.
I am planning on keeping a log and writing regular blogs whilst I’m out there. My mum wants one on the differences between Nepalese and British schools. If anyone has any other requests then just let me know.
Earlier this month I booked my flights, now for injections, visas and all that. Fundraising and working to get some money is top of my list so I can fund my trip. This really is a truly remarkable experience, for someone else’s daughter, but also for my mum’s daughter.