December 8, 2011
From: Laura J. Woodard, Director of Media Relations
Nepali father travels 8,000 miles to visit son at ULM
Some parents literally go the extra mile to support their children when they become college students.
In the case of University of Louisiana at Monroe's Sailesh Wagle, a computer science major from Kathmandu, Nepal, his father and mother had to travel over 8,000 miles to see how their youngest son was settling in.
from left: ULM student Sailesh Wagle, his father Mukunda Pathik Wagle, and ULM President Nick J. Bruno.
Wagle's father, Mukunda Pathik Wagle, said he was very impressed with the welcome and standards he saw in place at ULM.
"I've had a very good impression – how it is organized," he said. "The library is very, very beautiful. I highly appreciate the atmosphere and the friendliness. You see a lot of people smiling, as you do in Nepal."
Both of Mukunda Wagle's other sons reside in the U.S. – one in Chicago, Ill., and the other in Lake Charles.
One of the reasons for the visit was to share Tihar and Dashain with his united family. He said these are the largest Nepali festivals, celebrations he likened to Christmas in importance.
Mukunda Wagle is a respected professor at Tribhuvan University, Campus of International Languages, in Nepal. He is also a published author, lecturer of Nepali language and culture, and a poet.
He speaks many languages, including Esperanto. Mukunda Wagle is an accomplished traveler and has visited Australia and many countries throughout Asia and Europe.
In the course of his work as lecturer of Nepali as a second language, Mukunda Wagle has taught many foreign students, including Americans.
He said they have been excellent representatives abroad for the U.S. – studious, well-mannered and appreciative of the many wonderful qualities to be found in his home country.
Mukunda Wagle compared the climate between Nepal and Monroe and said they are actually very similar. This was one of the deciding factors for Sailesh Wagle choosing ULM for his studies.
"If you want to acquire high-quality knowledge and education, then your first choice is America," Mukunda Wagle said.
Sailesh Wagle discovered ULM after an Internet search. Aided by scholarships and his family's support, he became a student in the spring of 2011.
During his visit to the campus, Mukunda Wagle also met with ULM President Nick J. Bruno, Ph.D., to convey his respect and appreciation of the educational opportunities his son was receiving at ULM.
Concerning future plans, Mukunda Wagle said he would like to lecture on the Nepali language and culture on a return visit, or perhaps establish some kind of student exchange or class visit to Nepal. He thinks the two countries have much to offer each other.
"People like to travel in Nepal," Mukunda Wagle said. "It's very beautiful. We have the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest. It is the birthplace of Buddha, and there is a diverse climate. There are many festivals, the food is delicious, and the people are very friendly."
He said that travel in Nepal is not expensive; people can work in countries like the U.S. for a few months and then live in Nepal for a year on their earnings.
"We never fight – there is religious tolerance. I view language as a bridge."
Mukunda Wagle is currently writing a poem titled "Journey in America" about his experiences during this U.S. visit. One line he shared from it can be translated as, "When we travel, we walk around, and we fulfill the desire of our mind."
Another wish, to see his son well-established at ULM, has also been fulfilled. Mukunda Wagle said he is "very happy" that his son has found a second home at the university.