International Student Awards - Hemlata Karki

Hemlata Karki landscape

Hemlata Karki was Highly Commended in the Academic Excellence: Postgraduate (Coursework) category of StudyAdelaide's International Student Awards.

From Bhutan, Hemlata is currently studying a Master of Education and a secondary school teacher. With outstanding academic results and a specialisation in research, she hopes her studies will help build a research culture and capacity for teachers in Bhutan. Hemlata plans to develop professional development programs for teachers and to promote modern approaches to teaching, learning and assessment.

Through her studies at Adelaide, Hemlata has learnt how to embed wellbeing and happiness into an academic curriculum. She looks forward to implementing this in Bhutan, where they promote the idea of Gross National Happiness (GNH) over Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Hemlata also believes in gender equality, and notes there are few women in her country with a master’s degree in education. Hemlata has volunteered in various capacities to encourage this to change including participation in the Australia Awards South and West Asia Scholars Forum which focused on gender quality. 


Tell us about your International Student Award.

I was awarded a High Commendation for Academic Excellence: Postgraduate (Coursework). I was not aware of the award until I was nominated for it. I firmly believe that strong determination, self-regulation, resilience, aiming for perfection and setting high goals are key to academic success. I do not leave any stone unturned on my academic journey and seek clarifications from my peers and lecturers. At the same time, I share my knowledge and provide academic help to others. I also refer to different academic sources to build my knowledge and skills while completing an academic task.   

However, my stay in Adelaide has not been all about academic affairs. I volunteered to work with people from diverse backgrounds within the university and in the community.

In September 2019, a multicultural night for Australia Award Scholars was organised by International Student Support. I volunteered to be the Master of Ceremony for the event. Through a display of arts and crafts from different countries, participants and guests were able to exchange information on their culture. I also volunteered to bring my own traditional cuisine. This was a great opportunity for me to contribute to promoting multiculturalism and diversity at the University. 

Similarly, during the COVID-19 pandemic when the university was operating virtually, I volunteered to be the Master of Ceremony for the graduation ceremony of the Australia Award Scholars during Semester 1 2020. The virtual graduation ceremony was unique and gave a sense of solidarity to graduating students.

I have engaged with the Rotaract Club of the University of Adelaide and joined volunteering activities such as rubbish clean-up around the River Torrens near Adelaide Zoo.

I have also volunteered for The School of Bhutanese Nepali Language and Culture at Salisbury Primary School, where I assist facilitators who teach Bhutanese Nepali language and culture to the children of Bhutanese migrants for two hours every Saturday. 

Besides these formal volunteer activities, I also informally help elder citizens of the Bhutanese community in translating official documents, filling out official application forms and making medical appointments.


What is your goal once you have completed your degree?

My first goal is to lead educational action research at school, cluster and district level. As the Ministry of Education in Bhutan envisages every teacher to be a researcher and improve their professional practices, I aspire to initiate this vision beginning from the school where I work and gradually extend to clusters and districts. Therefore, I chose to specialise in research by enrolling in several research subjects and opting to write a dissertation.    

After several decades of reforms in education, traditional methods of teaching/learning and assessment are still pervasive in my country. Having educated myself about pedagogical engagement in learning, I am hopeful to promote modern methods of teaching/learning and assessment. My dissertation, which will contain data from other Bhutanese teachers, will help to promote modern approaches including the use of technology in teaching/learning and assessment.     

My lifelong goal is to promote gender equality. I have already received opportunities to attend two different forums, the Newday Leadership Summit in Adelaide and Australia Awards, and the West Asia Scholars Forum in Canberra, both emphasising gender equality and leadership. I will continue to push forward this goal by using the insights I obtained from these forums. 


Hemlata Karki 2

Quickfire questions!

Zoom or in-person?

Zoom meetings or classes.


Adelaide Hills or Adelaide's beaches?

Adelaide's beaches.


Home delivery or home-cooked?



Reading books or streaming TV/movies?

I do more reading than watching television. 


3 things you won't miss about COVID-19 restrictions?
  • Classes in person
  • Delivered food
  • Going out with family 


3 things you won't forget about COVID-19?
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Wearing a mask
  • Physical distancing
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