NewsPress Release: 9/25/02
MARLBORO, VT There is a 28-hour plane ride and an entire culture between Saurav Rana and his family. Rana was born in Birgung, a small town in Nepal. He arrived in the United States for the first time at the end of August and caught a bus to Marlboro College.
"I was thinking what kind of wonderful people I will meet," Rana said, about his nervous anticipation of his arrival on campus. Rana came to Marlboro College with few preconceived ideas about the school. He knew Marlboro only from Websites and viewbooks. He had never traveled to America, though he looked only at American colleges. Rana had always known he wanted to attend a college in the United States.
"America is a better place for studying, it's better equipped and has more opportunities," Rana said.
A teacher of Rana's in Nepal, who had previously taught in Maine, suggested Rana look at Marlboro.
"I knew Marlboro was somewhere in the woods and I knew it was small," Rana said.
The decision to attend Marlboro was made based on Marlboro's good reputation and small student body. Rana interviewed through the Internet, and made the decision to come to America for "the little college in the woods."
After one week of classes, he is enjoying Marlboro.
"It's not much harder (than his Nepalese school), just more work. Though the writing is hard," Rana explained.
Writing in English is more difficult for the multi-lingual Rana. He is fluent in Nepali, Hindi, English and Newari; he also speaks some French. Before moving to Katmandu, while still living in the town of Birgung, Rana was introduced to the Hindi and Newari languages. His mother was a member of the Newari regional group. Burnez is close to the Indian border, which introduced him to the Hindi language of India. Rana learned English in school.
"There is good schooling in Nepal," Rana said.
Most Nepalese children are schooled according to the School Leaving Certificate, an equivalent to our ninth and tenth grade. Students then join a campus for Intermediate schooling, which is equivalent to the American eleventh and twelfth grades.
Rana was not schooled under the SLC, but the British Ordinary and Advanced Level (O & A levels) system. Students take the 'O' levels for ninth and tenth grades and the 'A' levels for eleventh and twelfth. In Nepal, after the 'A' levels, a Nepalese student must declare the area of study in which they are interested. Rana declared his interest in art and architecture, possibly architectural design. He gained the desire to be an artist after seeing the work of Bal Krishna Sama at an art expedition in Nepal. He has been drawing for about three years, focusing many of his paintings and charcoal drawings on the scenery of Nepal.
Rana brought his art supplies to Marlboro and the walls of his dorm room are decorated with his work. There are few remnants of his home in his life here, but art and the surroundings help.
"I miss my family. They call me weekly, and I email them almost everyday," Rana said.
He may not see his family for four years. The price of a plane ticket will prevent Rana from taking any trips to see his family. When he left Nepal, he knew he was leaving for a long time.
"I have no choice though, I must be happy. I have to sacrifice something for a good future," Rana said.
Rana plans on living in Nepal after his time in America.
"I will settle down in Nepal, though I don't know when the settling down will be," Rana said.
For now, Rana will be settling into life at Marlboro College. It had been a long journey. The van carrying Rana to Marlboro was approaching the white buildings and rolling hills of his new school. His heartbeat slowed.
"(The campus) made me feel better, it was similar to Nepal. I'm happy and satisfied here," Rana said.
Founded in 1946, Marlboro College offers undergraduate education in the liberal arts and, since 1997, graduate study focused on Internet technologies. Its 300 undergraduate students enjoy an 8:1 student-faculty ratio, a voice in governing the community, and individualized courses of study on a 350-acre campus in the hills of southern Vermont.