My Experiences at the ACJ, Chennai
By Neeraj Chandra Roy
Sports Correspondent, Republica daily
Born and brought up amidst the mountains and hills of Nepal, I had never thought I would ever travel to the faraway seashores. Neither had I imagined what life would be beyond the dreamland of my favorite books.
But my eleventh hour decision to leave MA in English literature and join Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) in 2008 took me to a whole new world not only in terms of the physical surroundings but into a new realm of my life.
Although I do miss my literature classes, which I still aspire complete it in future, I have no regrets over my decision as it changed my life a lot. My journey from Kathmandu to the city of Chennai to study at ACJ was a move from the dreamland of literary world to the world of reality. In fact, my journey was an opportunity to study the world in first hand instead of reading it in books. To know the culture, people and landscape of new places was an enriching experience. It was also an opportunity to learn new things. Traveling all the way form the laps of the Himalayas to the seashore of Chennai was an unforgettable experience.
The landscape looked different, there were new faces, even the flowers looked strange in the new land but there was one thing in common, and universal, over there – the bond of friendship that I developed with friends from other South Asian countries. We were all lucky to have got the opportunity to study at the ACJ, through the various chapters of the South Asia Foundation (SAF) which is founded by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh. Being close to friends from other SAARC countries has instilled me with a new insight that instead of perpetually fighting with one another, we need to cooperate for our own common good.
And to enjoy during my free time, there were plenty of books in Chennai. Actually the city was a haven for books as there were lots of book stores in every corner of the city and that too at a relatively affordable price than in my hometown.
Learning at ACJ was enriching with stress given by the College to both the theoretical and the practical approach. The knowledge that I obtained from Canadian professor Michael Cobden and other professors there is still fresh in my memory and extremely useful now while working as a correspondent at Nepal Republic Media.
Besides the knowledge I acquired at one of the most reputed colleges of India, my journey in the Indian Railways while visiting home during the vacations has left me with un-forgetful experience of how similar we are as peoples of the same region. During the 44-hour train journey, I could get a first-hand understanding of the outstretched land from the seashore to the foothills of the Himalayas. Chennai to Kathmandu is indeed one long stretch of South Asia.
It has also given me tremendous confidence that I no longer have to rely on others to travel such a long distance. The trip has also filled me with optimism and satisfaction because I soon got a good job after returning back and have started a new life, different from those days of my college life. Thanks to Ambassador Singh and thanks to the ACJ.