Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cultural Education for the Nepalese

Nepal is a mountainous, fairly poor nation of around 30 million people that is located half-way around the world from Colorado. So, you might be surprised to discover that I teach more students from Nepal than from any other foreign country. It would be less of a surprise if you knew that Boulder was home to one of the first Himalayan restaurants in the US, and the first Sherpa restaurant. It appears that early immigrants to the US from Nepal took a liking to this area because of the mountains, and now there is something of a Nepalese community in this area.

There are a couple of cool things about having students from Nepal. First, I get to learn about their country. A few years ago one student wrote an outstanding essay for extra credit about politics and economics in Nepal. Second, and I don't know why, but Nepalese students almost always seem to be smiling. I'm not sure why they are always smiling, but they are, and I love it.

Most fun of all though, is that I get to teach them not only Economics, but a bit of American culture as well. For instance, recently we worked through a problem in class from out textbook that used the names Curly, Larry and Moe as the characters in the problem. Now, anyone who grew up here and doesn't know those names as the 3 Stooges should be forced to leave. But the Nepalese students have never heard of them. So, I get to teach them about the important cultural contributions of the Stooges. Now days, they can go home and find some Stooges video on Youtube, and become quickly educated in the proper application of a shovel to the forehead.

Just another example of the enriching experience of teaching.

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