I participated in the global challenge by Unbound in Nepal, and the memories I have of my time will always be cherished. I was able to see historical sites, go on a safari, and see many spectacular views. What makes the experience so memorable is not the activities I did, but the people I met from other universities, the facilitators of the program and the Nepalese family I stayed with briefly.
I had the opportunity to work on a project focused on encouraging ethical tourism in the village of Dhulikhel. I was excited to work with like-minded individuals that were passionate about delivering meaningful value to the community we had been welcomed too. For the project, I was able to revise on existing skills I had with human-centered design and apply them to a project outside of the Australian context. Human-centered design is a series of methods that allow you to investigate problems and develop solutions. Some other team members also had pre-existing knowledge of human-centred design, which made the process of knowing how to conduct interviews, break down problems, and solve the challenge a familiar experience. As a team, we developed a strategy and proposed different project streams people could be invited to Dhulikhel to work with the community on. Our project did not have a physical outcome for a product as we developed a strategy, but we did get to visit other teams as they created bamboo prototypes to help people with farming and in schools of Dhulikhel. As it was super warm at the time we were in Nepal after long days of working on the project we got to experience swimming in the pool to relax for two of the nights.
There was still lots of time to explore the culture and sites of Nepal while working on the project. We often ate Dhal Bhat, a common household dish consisting of steamed rice and lentil soup. Some of us also had the opportunity to learn how to make momos. Being able to learn to cook momos was a highlight of my experience, even though my momos looked horrible, they tasted excellent.
Overall, the experience has taught me a lot about working on projects in a country very different to Australia and how to have fun while doing it.
~By Sophie Hawkins