Fri, 26 Apr, 2019

Interview: Hilary Towle | English Lecturer, DWIT

By admin

Photo: Hilary Towle Q) Can you introduce yourself? My name is Hilary Towle and I'm the new English Lecturer here at DWIT. I was born on January 25th and I am from Cary, North Carolina. I lived in Boston, Massachusetts prior to arriving in Kathmandu. Q) How are you finding Nepal? Nepal is a very welcoming place. I have only been here for about a week, so I haven't yet had much of a chance to explore the city. I am slowly adjusting to the atmosphere here, but the college and its students and staff have been wonderful. DWIT has a beautiful campus and the people have been extremely helpful and supportive in getting me setup. Q) Have you visited any places in Nepal? This is my first time visiting Nepal, so I have not been anywhere in the country before. I went to Pashupatinath Temple one evening last week and that was a very peaceful experience. I was not allowed into the actual temple since I am not Hindu, but I did walk around the surrounding grounds. I got to witness one of the religious ceremonies being conducted at the time. I have also been out to eat a couple of times with Deerwalk employees and their families, and one evening I was able to walk through Thamel. My Deerwalk College colleagues were generous enough to show me around. Q) Are there any places you would like to visit while your stay here? Yes, I hope to explore many parts of Nepal as well as nearby countries. Right now on my list are Pokhara, Chitwan, Boudhanath, and the Borderlands Resort. I am still thinking about other trips to take, and am open to recommendations! I would also like to do some hiking. Ashmita: Our College has a Hiking Club so you can contact them if you would like to go. Q) How do you feel about DWIT? How has your experience been in DWIT and Deerwalk so far? I have been very impressed so far by the students’ work ethic and how dedicated they are to their studies and extracurricular activities. I also think the interaction between the company and the college provides a unique and wonderful experience for both the students and the company. [caption id="attachment_7559" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Photo: Hilary with DWIT News team members Kundan Rana and Ashmita Thapa Photo: Hilary with DWIT News team members Kundan Shumsher Rana and Ashmita Thapa[/caption] Q) What was your first impression when you entered the college? I came to the college straight from the airport in the evening so I was pretty distracted, overwhelmed, and tired from my travels. I was able to notice that the campus was beautiful and looked well maintained—the colors used, blue and green, are especially appealing. Q) Have you always dreamed of being a teacher? What was your childhood dream? From about the age of five through high school I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. After high school, however, I put that on hold and decided I wanted to do something else. For a little while I wanted to work on criminal justice issues. But education has always been a passion of mine, so I did end up looking for a career in this field. When the opportunity arose here at DWIT, I thought it would be a wonderful thing for me to pursue both personally and professionally. Q) What did you do before you joined DWIT? Immediately before coming here I was in graduate school earning a Master's degree. Before that, I was working for an international organization. Q) How long will you stay and what are your plans after that? I am here from July to the middle of December. I am not sure yet what I will do after leaving DWIT. While working here I will begin applying for jobs, maybe in another country or in the USA. Q) Are you just involved with the college or also with Deerwalk Services as well? If so, what will you be doing there? I will spend a few hours a week with Deerwalk Services. I will be editing and proof reading documents and emails as well as providing training on English language and best practices in cross-cultural communication and behavior. Q) What would you like to teach the students of DWIT? What do you expect from them? For the Class of 2018 I will be working with the students on strengthening their English reading, writing, and speaking. For the Class of 2017 I will be teaching Technical Writing. I also think there might be some interest in lessons on writing cover letters and resumes as well as how to present oneself to a potential employer. I think everyone can always benefit from lessons and practice with interacting with colleagues from a different background, how to deal with cultural differences, and other things one might encounter in an office setting. Q) As you can see, we have a company and college running in the same place. So, what do you think the students can learn from this? I think it is wonderful that there exists such a close relationship between the college and the company. It gives DWIT students a first-hand look at the field they will be entering upon graduation, which is something I imagine students from other institutions do not have easy access to. It is also a great opportunity for the company to reap the benefit of the student’s work as well as play a critical role in helping teach the incoming talent of their industry. Q) Have you been to other countries besides Nepal? Yes, I have been to Italy, Switzerland, France, the Bahamas, Uganda and Rwanda. I was in Rwanda (a tiny country in east Africa) for an internship through school this past January and enjoyed it very much. I can now also say that I have been to the United Arab Emirates since I spent some time in Dubai before landing in Nepal. Q) What was your life at Harvard like? I studied there for 9 months. I was extremely busy with mostly group homework and projects. Since the program I was enrolled in is so short, they have to cram a lot of things into just two semesters. But it was an extremely exciting and thrilling experience. The best part was being surrounded by a lot of intelligent, passionate people from a variety of backgrounds each contributing a unique aspect to the experience we shared. Q) Did you always dream of going to Harvard? No. Going to Harvard was not something I had ever seriously given much thought to. When I was applying to graduate school programs I liked what I read and heard about Harvard’s program, and so decided to apply on a whim. I was surprised to find out I got in, and couldn’t turn down such a wonderful opportunity. Q) We have heard that you are involved with women’s empowerment and women’s reproductive health and rights. So what do you think the main problems are currently in Nepal? I think that in Nepal like in many other countries the main issues facing women, and specifically their reproductive health, are issues of knowledge and access. Because Nepal is a significantly under-resourced nation, there are many women and families in the rural parts of the country (as well as in Kathmandu) that just simply do not have the information they need in order to best care for their bodies and their families. Nepal’s mountainous landscape makes it especially difficult for women and families living in the hill regions to access sexual and reproductive health services. I think, too, that achieving gender equality and improving the state of reproductive health around the world will not improve until first girls and women are seen and treated as equal human beings, and that second reproductive health issues like menstruation and abortion are destigmatized. Q) Can you tell us about your hobbies? How has your accommodation been here? I love to cook and bake. I have a kitchen here so I am glad that I will be able to do some cooking. I also love to read. Unfortunately, I only brought one book with me and I have already finished it! So, I need to get more books. I also love to spend time with family and friends. My apartment here is spacious and comfortable. They did a wonderful job providing me with many amenities and making sure I have what I need. This area seems like a nice place to live. Kundan: The College also has a book club. So, if you contact them, they can give you books and you can interact with them. They pick a book and all of them read together. Q) Do you have a favorite book? What genres of books do you usually read? I do not have a favorite book, but a book I recently read and very much enjoyed is The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I like fiction novels and books with a good coming of age story or a moral lesson. I think books that provoke new thoughts, introduce you to new ideas, or make you think about something differently are also wonderful. Q) Who is your idol / role model? I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of strong role models at different stages in my life. I consider my parents to be consistent role models, and I have been lucky to receive guidance and advice from different mentors along the way. I do not have an idol. Read her first impression about DWIT News here. Interview Taken By Ashmita Thapa, Kundan Shumsher Rana, Navaraj Kharel Photographer: Navaraj Kharel