Top grade after six years in Norway

Devi Chamlagai. Photo: Kristian Bye / NRK

He spent his childhood in a refugee camp Nepal. But six years ago, Devi Charan Chamlagain came to Norway. This week, he completed studies at the University of Alta – with top grades.

Devi Chamlagai. Photo: Kristian Bye / NRK
Devi Chamlagai. Photo: Kristian Bye / NRK

Devi Charan Chamlagai spent most of the childhood in a refugee camp in Nepal. He and his family had to move from the small kingdom of Bhutan, at the foot of the Himalayas because of religious affiliation.

“When I went to school in Nepal, I did pretty well, and I thought I had to try to get good grades here too. But getting A is not easy. So when I did it, I thought that my dream finally came true”, says Devi Charan Chamlagai.

It is A he stands with, both in written and oral exams, taking a bachelor’s degree in Social Work at the university’s department of Alta.

And this after only six years in Norway! He came to a country without knowing a single word of the language, and certainly didn’t feel comfortable with the climate.

But help from friends, teachers and family helped him take higher education.

Had to start it again

Chamlagai was resettled in Alta in 2008 under third country resettlement scheme.
Chamlagai was resettled in Alta in 2008 under third country resettlement scheme.

Although Devi worked as a teacher while he stayed in Nepal, he had to start all over again when he and his family came to Norway in 2008.

“I thought: Do I have to start all over again? Am I a child? I wanted to get into the job market, buy a house and a car and live a normal life”, he says.

But the Bhutanese started studying again although it was difficult. The Norwegian language with their distinctive sounds was difficult. But thanks to his mother’s efforts, so that he could move further.

And he threw himself into what he was determined to.

“I like to be outside with friends. When you’re out and in activities, you learn the language better”, he says enthusiastically.

Learned the content three times

Devi’s teacher, Nina Hermansen, says she is impressed by what he has achieved.

“Remember that he has acquired the content by translating it into his own language, then to English and then back to the Norwegian again. So, we can well say that he has learned curriculum three times”, she said.

“Besides this, he was very good at asking questions”, she said.

And even Devi believes that one must not be afraid to ask questions.

“I kept thinking that if I try, I manage it. And so I ask”, he says.

Now Devi likes to help others who come as strangers to Norway.

“And then I think that strangers should be integrated, not only assimilated,” he said.

And the refugee is clear about one thing:

“We need to help the new country of ours. Here we have security, that we must participate in the community”, he said.

(The feature which was first carried by NRK (an abbreviation of the Norwegian: Norsk rikskringkasting AS which is expressed as the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation in English)  has been translated into English from Norwegian with the permission of NRK by Ramesh Gautam.)