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Dipika’s podcast for young immigrant population in the US
Dipika Shrestha is the co-host and co-producer, of podcast ‘At the End of the Day’ – a weekly career guide for new young immigrants in the US. She has always been passionate about using multimedia to bring about change in people’s lives. Before moving to the US in 2014, she was working as a communications professional for BBC Media Action in Kathmandu in projects on maternal and child health, humanitarian emergencies, and climate change. In the immediate aftermath of the devastating earthquake of April 2015, she came back to Nepal to join her former team at BBC Media Action to help produce ‘Milijuli Nepali’, a daily fifteen-minute radio show focusing on the basic life-saving information on health, hygiene, shelter, and security.
She is the recipient of the 2019 President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership for the significant role her podcast has played in the immigrant community in New York City. A non-profit organization, the LCU Fund for Women’s Education awarded her recently.
When did you start the podcast ‘At The End Of The Day’?
Since May 2018, me and my husband, Anuz Thapa, have been doing a weekly audio-video podcast, ‘At the End of the Day’, to serve the young immigrant population in the US, with a special focus on the minority and under-served communities. In the podcast, we profile inspiring immigrant individuals about ‘their career transition process in the US’. We talk about the struggle in their initial days in America and discuss what exactly they did to overcome the challenges to live their dream career.
Why does the podcast project matter?
Like me, many young immigrants come to the United States with professionally sound background back home. They come with the dream to take their career to a much greater height. But when you are new with no one to guide you and when you are surrounded by people – most likely from your own community - who tell you, ‘your academic degree from back home is useless, your professional experience from back home is useless’, you start believing that it is the case. They then tell you what your new goals should be -‘if you are a female, you should learn doing eye lashes, or nails, or become a babysitter. If you are a male, you should drive cab or work at a gas station.’(And I have my huge respect for these professions.)
This is where I wanted to fill the gap. I wanted to encourage the young Nepali immigrants in New York City to think beyond their survival jobs. I wanted to motivate my community to follow the path to their career goals and not give-up. Over the period of time as I became friends with other immigrants like me from different immigrant communities in New York City, I realized, the myth around one’s academic and professional background from outside the US being useless, and the myth that it is not possible to pursue your career in the US’, prevailed across all immigrant communities.
With this realization, I started exploring the possible ways I could reach out to young population across the marginalized immigrant communities. This is when I came with the idea of using my professional multimedia skill to start a podcast.
Who are the guests for the podcast?
They say, ‘seeing is believing’. With the support of Anuz who is currently working as a Video Producer at TheStreet, a financial news media based in New York City, we started our weekly audio-video podcast as a platform to feature inspirational individuals from diverse immigrant communities so that the newly arriving immigrants could see for themselves, ‘someone just like them working to get their foot in their career, someone just like them working past the challenges and now thriving in their career’.
Not only are my guests from wide-ranging profession and diverse communities, they come from varied levels of professional success – someone just on the verge of beginning his academic journey in the US, an immigrant from Burkina Faso explaining how he got his academic credential evaluated in order to pursue his Master’s Degree in New York City, to a person of international fame, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kul Chandra Gautam from Nepal, describing the key traits for a career in international development.
What are the key issues that your podcast address?
Some of the key issues, we address in the podcast are -job application process, nuances around networking skills and professional communication, merging into the diverse community, getting over the language barrier, making the most out of one’s time and investment in university education, and reaching out to people for career-help. Because all these issues are of common concern to all the new immigrants, we do the podcast in English. And the fact that both me and Anuz are non-native English speakers, with yet another unique accent of our own, I feel that it adds value to the purpose of the podcast.
What are the achievements so far?
An old friend and a young immigrant in Nottingham, UK wrote to me recently that she can strongly relate to every topic we discuss and that she finds the interviews in the podcast highly inspiring.
In recognition of the significant role this podcast has played in the immigrant community in New York City, a non-profit organization, the LCU Fund for Women’s Education awarded me with the 2019 President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership. If it was not for all the individuals we had in the podcast who agreed to share their stories of professional struggles and how they went about dealing those challenges, the podcast would not have been possible.
Photo Courtesy:LCU Fund for Women's Education
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