Despite my strong fear that my chronic over packing will result in huge charges for going over the baggage weight limit of United Airlines, I am filled will excitement about the new adventure that awaits me through the Clinton Fellowship. I am returning to India after over two years away. During this South Asia hiatus, I have graduated from college, completed a thesis on Bangladeshi NGOs and worked for over a year in social services in the United States. Needless to say, I come at this stay in India from a more experienced and hopefully more educated place.
During my last two trips in India I indulged in all the fantastic joys that India can offer. I traveled everywhere, ate my weight in kebabs and got to mingle with Bollywood stars (mingle might be a strong work choice). While I enjoyed these experiences greatly, I have quite different expectations for this next year in India.
During this trip I hope to actually contribute to the individuals and the organization that I will work with. Over the last few years, I believe that I have obtained some skills and knowledge that can allow me contributes in a meaningful way to my host organization. I want to exercise my recently acquired skills to the max and challenge myself professionally and intellectually in new and interesting ways. Unlike my South Asian trips in the past, I really would like this to be one of service instead of self-indulgence.
The benefit I will receive from this fellowship will surely out way the benefit I can bring to Anudip, Through exposure trips and fieldwork with Anudip, I hope to meet people and see parts of India that are offer the tourist beaten path and will offer me a greater understanding of a diverse number of Indian communities. I am also going to learn how to navigate the Indian workplace and living on my own in an Indian city. I am sure that innumerable challenges lie ahead of me, but with each struggle is an invaluable learning experience.
At some point (possibly begrudgingly) I will return to the United States. Whether my future includes further work with the Indian subcontinent, work in social services domestically or one of the thousands of other possible paths my professional life may take, my expectation is that the innovative ideas of my host organization and the other organizations I am privy of through my fellow peers will positively inform my future endeavors.
I also expect to eat a lot of kebabs (but that is just a given).