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For Pratik Shrestha ’26, a chance to study and learn all over the world

Pratik Shrestha ’26

Last updated February 21, 2024

By Kelley Bruss

Pratik Shrestha ’26 isn’t one for staying put.

When COVID-19 restricted travel in his native Nepal, Shrestha pulled strings to tag along on ambulance rides and get a taste of what was happening outside his immediate neighborhood.

When it was time for college, he came to the United States. Before his first year was over, he’d made plans for a summer program in Bali. He started his sophomore year in Scotland for a semester-long internship.

He’s back on campus now, but when classes end, he’ll head back to Nepal for a 10-day trip to the Mount Everest base camp.

After that, who knows?

“I love connections in the world,” said Shrestha, who’s studying information technology and data analytics at Furman, and is a Bell Tower Scholarship recipient.

Working with data helps him predict how those connections will develop and shift over time. And travel helps him understand the connections better and reflect on them more thoughtfully.

Shrestha is the first in his family to leave Nepal for college. He said his parents were emotional but supportive of his decision.

Man stands with bike with castle on the horizon

Pratik Shrestha ’26 visits Dunnottar Castle, located in Stonehaven, Scotland.

Shrestha’s dad is a retired accountant for the Nepalese government; his mom is a homemaker who invests in the stock market. Their income is low, he said, but from the earliest days of their marriage they committed to setting aside a set percentage for investment.

Stock market analysis is “our normal dining conversation,” Shrestha said.

He graduated high school in 2020 – not the right time to try to travel across the world for the next stage of his education. So, he rode ambulances. And he did an accounting internship, which he hated.

He was more than ready for the world when the world was ready for him.

Opportunities and support

He’ll never forget his first look at Furman in Fall 2022: “Just seeing the lake, I was already sold.”

To his knowledge, the last time a Nepalese student came to Furman was in 2015-16. Shrestha said his interactions with faculty have helped him think about himself and his vocation more clearly.

Man stands between two temple structures with his image reflected in water

Pratik Shrestha ’26 at the Lempuyang Temple in Bali, Indonesia

“They have great opportunities, and not only the opportunities, but the support,” he said.

And that support includes help to study and learn all over the world, a central element of The Furman Advantage, the university’s four-year educational pathway shaped by engaged learning – including study away, research and internships – faculty mentoring and reflection.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) found that 45% of Furman seniors had completed a study away experience or had one in progress. That number was only 8% for the NSSE group, students at nearly 1,700 bachelor’s-granting colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. For Carnegie institutions, those with a similar emphasis on teaching undergraduates, it was 24%, and for Southeast private colleges, it was 12%.

Shrestha had wanted to visit Bali since he was young – he was interested especially in its Hindu temples. While Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, the province of Bali is Hindu-majority. Shrestha’s parents are Hindu, but “I don’t know about me,” he said.

During his two months on the island, he worked for a marketing company in a position that leveraged his data skills and taught him the foundations of marketing as well.

“One thing I really learned was understanding how Indonesia works as a country,” he said.

His cousins’ experiences in the United Kingdom prompted him to pursue another internship there. Shrestha spent the 2023 fall semester as an intern with Young Co. Finance. He managed, cleaned and analyzed real-time data on deals that were happening throughout Scotland.

He loved his months in Edinburgh, but he missed his professors and his classmates. He missed the Dining Hall.

“I’m like a big ambassador for Fuman,” he said. “I can’t stop talking about it.”

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