Interview| ‘EU shares many values with Nepal, one of them is the importance of education:’ Nona Deprez, EU ambassador to Nepal

‘Studying in Europe is particularly attractive to Nepali students because of the extensive choice of bachelor’s and master’s courses, doctoral study programs and more.’

Mahabir Paudyal

  • Read Time 3 min.

The Delegation of European Union to Nepal organized third ‘Study in Europe’ Fair, a one-day all-encompassing European higher education fair in Kathmandu this week. Representatives from 10 EU Member States such as Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Romania participated in the event that was attended by hundreds of Nepali students. What was the objective of the fair? How does event like Education fair help promote EU-Nepal relations? Nona Deprez, ambassador of the European Union to Nepal, shared her insights with Nepal Live Today. Excerpts (with photos of the event):

First of all, why Study Europe Fair 2023? What was the objective of the fair?

European Union Delegations organize “Study in Europe” fairs across the world, in order to showcase what higher education in Europe has to offer to students worldwide and provide information about study and research periods in Europe. We also provide information about the Erasmus+, the EU’s program supporting students from EU and partner countries across the world to study in Europe. We used to organize “Study in Europe” Fairs in Nepal, before COVID and it was a pleasure to be able to meet potential students in person.

What was the level of participation from Nepali students? What did you observe?

Seven hundred persons had registered online for the 2023 edition of the “Study in Europe” fair. We observed that they all spoke English and sometimes other European languages. Many of them already had a degree and seem keen to study abroad. In other words, they were serious candidates and we believe we will be able to follow-up and support them with their respective academic projects.

In your view, what attracts the Nepali students to go to Europe for studies?

Studying in Europe is particularly attractive to Nepali students because of the extensive choice of bachelor’s and master’s courses, doctoral study programs and more. It is a unique opportunity to gain international experience, skills and knowledge. It is also an opportunity to explore diverse languages and cultures in a welcoming, social environment. Lastly, in Europe, we believe in providing free quality education and we also offer scholarships to cover the costs of education for European and foreign students. This is particularly attractive for students with limited financial resources.

In what way was the education fair this year different from that of the past?

This year’s “Study in Europe” fair was not very different from the previous editions. There were 11 booths from 10 EU Member States (Austria, Czechia, Finland, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Romania) and the Erasmus programme. We hope to attract more Member States and more visitors for our next edition.

In your view, how does an event like education fair help to enhance Nepal-EU relations?

The European Union shares many values with Nepal and one of them is the importance of education. For this year’s fair, we chose to reproduce a quote by the 16th century Dutch philosopher and humanist, who declares that “the main hope of a Nation lies in the Proper Education of its Youth”. Like Nepal, the European Union’s main resource is its people. By supporting Nepal’s education and by providing opportunities to Nepali students to acquire new skills and broaden their horizons, we think that we are providing the best kind of support. It also helps develop enduring ties between Nepal and the European Union.

Any final words?

We are already planning our next edition of the “Study of Europe” Fair, which we also hope to take out of Kathmandu to reach students in other provinces. So stay tuned and if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal.

[Related: Then Nona Deprez said ‘India cannot be safe unless Nepal is safe’]