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Nepali students visit Brashear to experience Western education

| Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 12:35 p.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Brashear High School student Trey Bailey (right), 16, of Observatory Hill, explains the lesson during Italian language class to Anadi Adhikari (left), 15, of Kirtibur Katmandu, Nepal, at the school in Beechview on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Adhikari was one of 13 Nepalese students shadowing Brashear students for a day as part of their two-week stay in Pittsburgh through Magee Healthcare International. Bailey will also be traveling to Nepal in July for a month to study environmental studies.

Thirteen Nepali teens from Kathmandu attended Pittsburgh's Brashear High School on Wednesday for a taste of Western education.

“It's a totally new experience for them,” said Dipesh Thapa, 33, a program coordinator traveling with the group. “Nepal is more strict, more traditional.”

Open dialogue between students and teachers isn't their norm, said Lynsie Clott, who directs the trip locally.

Clott, 29, planned the three-week trip with a State Department grant through the international service arm of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. Students will spend two weeks in Pittsburgh and one week in Washington, learning leadership skills through the lens of environmental health.

In a crisp, new Pirates hat, Anadi Adhikari, 15, chatted in careful English with Brashear sophomore Trey Bailey, who is scheduled to travel to Nepal in August as part of the same program.

“I want to be like a marine biologist or a wildlife veterinarian, so learning about the environment seems like a good thing to learn,” Bailey said. “There's a big group going, but I'm the only one from (Brashear).”

The program is very competitive, Clott said.

She followed the pair to Bailey's mid-morning Italian class where students peppered their instructor with crude snippets of vocabulary. Adhikari thumbed his desk in silence, watching Bailey volley guess after guess in the crowded, colorful room.

“In Nepal, classrooms are silent. Students stand when they speak, and only if the teacher specifically calls on them,” Clott said. “Last year we took a group to Pittsburgh Obama, and their mouths dropped open. American education can be eye-opening for them.”

During their visit, Nepali students will attend leadership and learning events at Outdoor Odyssey, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Carnegie Mellon University and elsewhere.

The program is in its fifth year with Magee Healthcare International, Clott said.

Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5815 or mharris@tribweb.com.

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