Samita Thapa was born on July 12, 1990 in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. She lived at home with her parents and her younger brother until she was 12 when she went to an international boarding school in India. She came to Goshen College on December 29, 2009 and has been studying history, global economics and social policy since then. Currently, she is one of the six leaders of the International Student Club. In her free time, Thapa likes to play intermural soccer.

Facts about Nepal:

· The capital of Nepal is Kathmandu.

·  The official language is Nepali.

· The size of Nepal is about 56,827 square miles which is almost the same size as Iowa.

· A round trip ticket to Kathmandu costs about $1,300.

What is considered one of the most significant customs or celebrations in Nepal?

Whenever somebody leaves for another country, people give the person garlands made out of marigold flowers and a white shawl (called khada) to wish them good luck and safe travels. This has been borrowed from the Buddhist tradition. Nepali culture is influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism, so a lot of our customers are related to these religions.

What is your favorite food and drink from Nepal?

My favorite food is choila, but I also like momos. Choila is served as an appetizer and it’s made of buffalo meat marinated with spices. It’s really hot. Momos is similar to dumplings—steamed meat covered with dough. It’s served with a curry-like sauce. My favorite drink is called moi. It’s a mix of plain yogurt and water and it can be sour or sweet. It’s a very traditional drink so you won’t find it in the cities; it’s available in most villages.

What are some of the most popular places to visit in Nepal?

There are so many! The birth place of Buddha, called Lumbini, is a very popular tourist attraction. The place has a little pond that is surrounded by Buddhist temples. There is also a fire bowl that is always burning. Another popular place is Pokhara, a tourist destination with very beautiful lakes surrounded by the Himalayan Mountains. Many people come to climb the Himalayan Mountains as well.

What does a typical day look like for you in Nepal?

I usually get up around 6 or 7 am and put on my school uniform. School starts around 9 a.m. and goes until 3:30 p.m. After school I’d come back home, and hang out with friends. The rest of the day is reserved for homework. On weekends, we’d usually go to Thamel –the place in town that’s influenced by the hippy culture. Thamel is a very small street that has Nepali gift shops, hotels, and cafes that play a lot of reggae music. There’s always something happening there.

Interesting Facts about Nepal:

·  Nepal is the only country in the world that holds the Elephant Polo World Cup.

· Schools in Nepal have a very specific dress code: nails need to be cut, shoes must be black and shiny, hair should be tied with a ribbon, skirts should to be knee length, nail polish is forbidden and students have to wear the school badge along with a belt and a tie.

·  Nepalese drive on the left side of the road.

·  Nepal has a place called Swoyambunath, which is a Buddhist stupa, or place of worship. It’s situated on top of a hill and has 365 stairs and a lot of monkeys. The monkeys are so used to people that they take visitors’ food all the time. They even know how to eat ice cream with a spoon.