Pratik Poudel

What is the one thing you would tell a new or prospective international student about attending a college in the United States?

The more effort you put into your classes and extracurricular activities, the more you get back from them. Therefore, it is very important that you focus on classes and get involved around campus, taking in as many new experiences as possible. You will pat yourself on the back later for taking that extra step and getting out your comfort zone.

How has your academic experience been?

I look forward to all my classes. Smaller class sizes mean a higher degree of interactivity and greater opportunity for the professor to get know all of their students. I have found that if you talk to your professors, they are willing to go out of their way to make sure you are enjoying their classes and get the most out of it. Courses are designed so that you are able to immediately apply your theoretical knowledge in a practical situation, and being a practical learner, I find the academics here very rewarding in the long term.

How did you determine your major i.e. did you take a class, consult with UNI programs, inspired by someone or something?

I grew up hearing about climate change, air pollution and water pollution as these are big issues in my country. Nepal is at risk from glacial melting, and my hometown has heavy air and water pollution. As a child, I always wondered why people weren’t urgent about the situation. I am studying Environmental Science now in the hopes that I can make changes back home, be it policy-level or in a small neighborhood. I had already decided my major but after learning about my advisor Mohammad Iqbal’s work in Nepal and UNI graduate Sushil Tuladhar’s work in the environment in the Cedar Falls area, it gave me a better idea of what kind of work I could be expecting in the future, and helped me finalize my decision.

Tell us about any great classes or professors that have helped, inspired or challenged you with determining your career path.

My current departmental advisor, Mohammed Iqbal, has an ongoing research project in my home country of Nepal regarding the state of the capital’s iconic, yet heavily polluted river Bagmati. Over the course of summer 2018, I was in Nepal working for Dr. Iqbal and helping him collect additional data. Since I want to eventually return to Nepal and work there, this was an excellent opportunity for me to be able to work in the field and make connections with people that I will perhaps work with in the future. Additionally, it gave me valuable experience in my area of study as well.


Environmental Science


Biratnagar, Nepal