Students Without Borders is a WUSC and CECI program that enables Canadian university and college students to participate in exciting, volunteer learning opportunities in South America, Africa, and Asia.

Pre-departure: Halla Goes to Nepal

April 28, 2016

I am Halla Elnour. I am a fourth year student in the Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences with a Major in Economics and a Minor in Law at the University of Ottawa.

Digital PictureI am motivated by helping people, and it is always one of my main goals in my pursuits to further my career. I volunteered with PLASP Childcare Services, Congress 2015, the University of Ottawa during 101week as a volunteer guide, and the Liberal Party of Canada. As such, I am very excited to add this volunteer/interning experience to my other volunteering experiences. My interests include digital and traditional art, playing instruments, meeting people, and learning about new things or experiences.

As an economics major I have studied in depth about both successful (such as Japan, and South Korea), as well as, unsuccessful (such as Mexico) cases of economic growth. Learning about different economic growth patterns of developing countries from the comfort of a classroom in our privileged society is as simple and as theoretical as it gets. To experience and be a part of the growth itself, is another story. Applying the theory and knowledge that I have acquired over the past four years, to create even the tiniest of dents, to me would be a wonderful experience to conclude my Bachelor studies.

I will be going as a Non-timber Forest Products Market Research Officer, with Nepal Herbs and Herbal Products Association (NEHHPA). The objective of this project is to improve markets within the herbal industry to make them more inclusive of women and youth, in order to catalyst economic growth in Nepal.

I wish to someday work for an international organization. The experiences I gain from this experience will be crucial and a wonderful start to furthering my career. I hope to have a deeper understanding of the sorts of discrimination female and youth workers experience in Nepal, in this specific industry. I’d love to compare my findings with other Market Research Officers, whom have been to Nepal, and studied different industries. I hope that my contribution will be beneficial, whether small or large, to the bigger picture and end goal. Of course, I do not expect to save the world, but I hope that my contributions and involvement will make a dent, and the efforts that all the volunteers contribute are, in the end, of use. As for personal goals, I hope to learn how to integrate into a society different from the one familiar to me. I hope to learn from their values, and they learn from mine.

As of now, the trainings and workshops are helping me shape my goals, and have a better grasp on what to expect. I am excited to be in Nepal, and wish to truly connect, within the three months that I am there, with the people, my colleagues, the environment, the culture, the history, and the country as a whole. A concern of mine is I am afraid that the members of the target group will not trust or connect with me, as I am a foreigner. I am afraid that this may hinder the research, raise some bias in the research, as well as, in general hinder my contribution to the greater project.

My first task will be to conduct some secondary research, in fact, I am currently in the process of doing so. I will then fill out the Gender and Youth Research Findings Table from the toolkit.

Here’s to a good trip, and an exciting learning opportunity!