Trijan Manandhar, a London Metropolitan University graduate, hails from the capital of Nepal — Kathmandu.
His home country is famous for being home to Mount Everest — the highest mountain in the world — in addition to its agriculture and natural resources. A whopping 66% of Nepalese are engaged in farming.
The World Bank reports that Nepal is one of Asia’s poorest and slowest-growing economies; little wonder why approximately 3.5 million Nepalese are working abroad. While a growing number of Nepalis are studying abroad each year, not everyone returns after completing their studies.
Equipped with a postgraduate degree from London Metropolitan University, Manandhar is using his newfound skills and knowledge to scale his food business and provide job opportunities for Nepalese.
His journey to the UK was possible, thanks to a scholarship which he applied for without his parents’ knowledge.
We spoke to him about studying at London Metropolitan University, his scholarship that made it possible to study in the UK, and what he loves most about living in London.
Walk us through your journey to study abroad at London Metropolitan University.
I never set my intentions on pursuing my education outside of Nepal but I had seen a lot of people leave to go study abroad. International students from Nepal struggle really hard in order to earn money to sustain their lives (college fees, daily expenses, rent, and so on).
I gave myself a challenge and applied for the International Students House and London Met postgraduate scholarship. My parents had no idea so they were shocked when my name was called out as one of the winners.
They were overjoyed and it felt so good to make them proud. That was the start of my journey to London Metropolitan University. I enrolled for the International Business Management MSc course as I was keen to understand the manufacturing and business process on a global scale.
The scholarship I won to study at London Metropolitan University is for students who want to create change and do something in their own country. My aim is to gain as much knowledge and skills as well as build a big global network.
My dream is to scale up my own company — Triratna Foods — which I started in 2018. The business is centred on providing healthy, authentic Nepalese food. One of the main products is organic and inspired by rural farmers in my home country.
What’s your advice for those who want to study abroad in the UK?
Try to utilise every moment to learn as much as you can. Take advantage to network, develop skills and, at the same time, enjoy life in the UK. Also, I would advise students abroad to return to their home countries to create opportunities for people there.
What are your favourite things about London?
SUVs and supercars are one. The second is the diverse culture and friends from all over the world. The last would be the palace and parks.
What would constitute a “perfect” day out for you in London?
Whenever the sun is out!
Tell us about the local food there. What was your most and least favourite?
Local food would get a rating of seven out of 10 from me. Although I visited restaurants run by Nepalese people, I still missed the taste of home. My favourite food at those restaurants is “lamb momos” (Nepalese dumplings) and my least favourite is the “aloo tama” (potato and bamboo sprouts soup).
Tell us what your hometown is like.
I was very happy to represent Nepal wearing our national costume, a Daura Suruwal, at many different events in London. Nepal is a landlocked country situated between two giant nations — China and India.
I come from the capital, Kathmandu. It’s very rich in cultural heritage and known as the city of temples. I would take you to have a delicious Nepalese “Thakali Khana” (lunch set) and then visit a Buddhist shrine.
After, I would take you to the religious site of Hindus — Pashupatinath — which is one of the World Heritage Sites in Nepal. Then, we would end our day with an evening walk in the prime destination for tourists — Thamel.
Another must-visit place would Pokhara (City of Lakes). I could go on and on but I would recommend at least two weeks to explore the beauty of my home country.
What are you most grateful for in life right now?
For what I have become and also grateful for my parents because of their hard work in making me who I am. I’m always thankful for the people who believed in me and supported me throughout my journey.
Walk us through your career trajectory.
I’m hoping to be able to provide the opportunity to people in their own countries. With this in mind, my aim with Triratna Foods is to establish my own plant factory for production within this year and also look at starting a hardware business soon.
I’ve also informally started a new company, Triratna Driving Services. This helps companies in Nepal find reliable drivers. My mission is to provide job opportunities to skilful drivers and bridge the employment gap.
Share three fun facts about yourself.
I love driving SUVs — it’s my number one obsession and my all-time favourite is the Land Rover Defender. I love to work out and I feel alive at the gym. Lastly, I love to travel and go on long road trips with my loved ones.
Rice or bread
Coffee or tea
Rewind or pause for your time in London
Super strength or super speed
Drive or walk in London
Walk in London
Summer or spring in London
Spring in London
Cafe or Park
Stay in or go out
Clubbing or hiking