Bibhuti Ranjan Jha of Kathmandu University in Nepal spent six months in Blacksburg as a Fulbright Scholar studying fish sampling and data management. “Finding out I had been chosen as a Fulbright Scholar was one of the best moments of my life,” Jha remarked.

Jha applied for the highly esteemed Fulbright program at the encouragement of U.S. professors visiting Kathmandu University. “The American instructors wanted the university to have better exchanges with the United States and participate in mutually beneficial programs,” said Jha. “Nepal was lacking the basic fundamentals of research. Our scientific records and documentation were inadequate. We didn’t have basic primary information about our resources.”

Hosted by Professor Paul Angermeier, Jha studied Virginia Tech’s different fish sampling techniques and tools as well as how data is managed and documented. He was exposed to new instruments both in the field and the laboratory. “I’ve met and interacted with academics not only at Virginia Tech, but at other universities as well,” he said. “One of the best opportunities was getting to observe the American Fisheries Society meeting in Arkansas in September.”

Jha and his family enjoyed their stay in America. His son studied computer engineering at New River Community College and hopes to obtain a student visa to continue his schooling here, and his daughter loved being an eighth-grader at Blacksburg Middle School. The family traveled to New York City, which reminded them of home. “The streets of Nepal are filled with people,” Jha explained. “Here in Blacksburg, that’s not the case. In New York City, it’s like being in Nepal again with the crowds of people.”

“I’ve enjoyed everything about this new experience,” Jha continued. “Going out in the field, interacting with students and colleagues, and traveling — everything has been so good.”