My Fellowship Journey: From Chaos to Charisma

Jamsheena’s Fellowship is made possible by the Rural India Supporting Trust.

I never thought of pursuing an international fellowship when I was growing up in my small village. I always loved to travel and explore. Travelling brings you life changing experiences. This blog is about my personal journey of chaos and uncertainties.

When I was in school, it was fiction that paved my way to travel across the nooks and corners of the world. I was then pretty sure about the taste within me. I loved to put myself out of my comfort zones. When I started doing my Master’s degree, I was feeling disturbed by the current education system that asks you to learn and reproduce in theory papers. We lacked practical experience. I started thinking, “what is the use of a Master’s degree if I am not a master in the practical?!” What if I am not using my knowledge to serve the community and go back to the villages I came from? Who is going to make changes there? I realized then that I don’t want to follow the usual system of society. I needed to experience and understand what, where and how I can contribute to the community. This was the reason for me to apply for the AIF’s William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India.

The AIF Clinton Fellowship was the best choice I made in life!

It opened my eyes to the development sector in India. Intercultural experiences and Fellows from America gave a global understanding to our Fellowship cohort journey. When we began our Fellowship, we were just friends, and in the end of June, we realized how bonded personally and professionally with each other and with the Clinton Fellowship Team. We are like family to share and support. We tried to hold each other through challenging projects, and supplement each other. We made sure that no one is left behind for personal or professional reasons when we were placed in different parts of India.

Fellowship Family 2017-18 at Endpoint.

I was placed in Kanchipuram in the education sector. I had the best mentors Dr. Hanne and Mr. Rajagopal from the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam (KKG). They guided me personally and professionally to immerse me completely in to what I wished to work in that village. The space you work, the community you live, the coworkers and our healthy relationship with them, is very important for the smooth functioning of our work.

For that, we should be ready to embrace all the uncertainties and put yourself in the middle of chaos.

I did the same. Slowly you will find yourself somewhere and your potential to contribute for their growth. During my Fellowship, I challenged myself, competed with my own limitations, and won. I went back to myself, listened to my inner voice and it gave me ideas and strength to move on confidently. During the Endpoint conference, I was realizing how much I am going to miss my fellowship “family” cohort, wonderful working space and tons of love from all. The Fellowship graduation ceremony was a fruitful moment of success and road to continue my journey.

In the end I know where, why, and how I can contribute to the community as an academician. I never expected to end up as a confident story teller!

Thanks, children in KKG, for your support and unconditional love.

Jamsheena was born and brought up in India at the outskirts of Kerala. She completed her Masters in English Language and Literature from the University of Kerala. Her academic experience has refined her skills in culture and gender studies and English language teaching. Jamsheena’s areas of interest are education, women empowerment and gender issues.

Jamsheena's Fellowship is made possible by the Rural India Supporting Trust.

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