Abhilasha Khatri


Gabi de Oliveira, Staff Writer

Few people can excel despite having to restart multiple times, but Abhilasha Khatri makes it seem easy. The winner of the World Language Sterling Scholar was born in Kathmandu, Nepal. From there, she moved to Birmingham, England, and from there to Tampa, Florida, before settling in Salt Lake City. Khatri had to learn an entirely new language at the age of 4, and is now trilingual.

“From her early age, she’s gone through international exposure,” said Abhilasha’s father, Krishna Khatri. “She’s always had really strong values, and she cares. She’s very empathetic to different colors, different races, different socioeconomic figures… she’s very open. She’s a very resilient, a strong individual.”

Khatri has always been hardworking. Now at the end of high school, she boasts an incredible career. Khatri is a part of the IB program, a writer on the Rambler, member of cross country for the past four years and winner of Academic All-State, and has a 4.0 GPA.  On top of this, Khatri finds time to play the violin and the guitar, as well as do Bollywood dance.

But her connection to other cultures is part of what truly sparks about her, from her involvement with the Nepali Youth Association to her love for Spanish class. However, she started Spanish like other students who were only interested in it for the credits.

“When I started taking Spanish, it wasn’t really out of a real interest in the language. I saw it more as, for IB I had to take a language for four years, and I thought Spanish would be the most useful since so many people living in the US speak Spanish,” said Khatri. “but my passion for it definitely developed as I was taking the classes in high school, and the further I advanced the more passionate I got and I got more involved in the culture, and more interested in the culture.”

Khatri has worked hard to immerse herself in Spanish culture, and although she hasn’t been to any Latin-American countries yet, she has experience with the people through her volunteer service at Real Life, an after school program for refugee and immigrant students.

“I feel like a lot of people only look to other countries and service trips to get interactions with people with other cultures and sometimes don’t realise there’s people from different cultures in our local communities.”

But Real Life was not the only way Khatri has been able to put her Spanish to use. Her Junior year at Highland, Khatri went to Model U.N. representing Argentina. Her delegation was done entirely in Spanish, and she won two awards: Outstanding Position Paper and Distinguished Delegation. On top of her connections to Spanish and American culture, Khatri remains very involved with her own Nepali culture, observing cultural celebrations such as Thiar and Dashain, and she often learns dances to perform for them. Despite her impressive resume, Khatri remains humble, saying that her experiences in different places as well as her identity as an Asian-American woman has made her more open minded.

Khatri has always enjoyed helping others, and plans on being a doctor or a psychologist after high school. She is currently looking to major in neuroscience.

“I think Spanish and other languages in general are super, super beneficial for that career path because it’s so important to be able to form relationships with your patients, and there are so many groups of people who are underserved when it comes to healthcare and being able to speak other languages really helps that community,” said Khatri. She is a lover of biology, anatomy, and chemistry as well as humanitarianism.

Whenever she has time off, you may find her watching Bollywood movies, or binge-watching telenovelas like La Casa de Papel. That is, if she isn’t already out advocating for everything from the environment to human rights.