A Migrant’s Journey from Nepal to Otterbein’s Commencement Stage

Posted Apr 24, 2023

By Erica Bush ’25 

For Bhawana Khatiwada, graduating from Otterbein this spring with a double major in communication studies and computer science is a dream come true. 

When Khatiwada was a child in Nepal, her family was forced into a refugee camp after experiencing religious persecution. They moved to the United States in 2008, bringing only what they could carry and the clothes they were wearing. 

“I didn’t have schooling in Nepal. Schooling wasn’t a possible thing. I didn’t think I’d ever get to graduate and walk the stage,” Khatiwada said. “Thirteen years ago, I came with one bag full of clothes and now, I’m walking the stage. It really feels like a miracle.” 

As a first-generation college student at Otterbein, Khatiwada says that she started out studying computer science, but was advised to take some communication classes to build a different skill set. She said that she quickly fell in love with the communication studies classes and picked it up as a second major. 

“While talking to professionals, they told me that a lot of students lack communication skills,” Khatiwada said. “Communication skills are vital in the workforce and can get you into a lot of good places.” 

Khatiwada says that she has found it surprising that many employers are interested in her communication studies major more so than her computer science major. She said that multiple employers have asked her what made her pursue the communication studies major along with computer science. 

“I was thinking they were looking at more of my technical skills and they said, ‘We can teach you that. If you can communicate, we can teach you the technical skills,’” Khatiwada said. 

While Khatiwada is still searching for a job, she says that she hopes to find a job that allows her to use skills from both of her majors. She hopes to attend graduate school in the future as well.