Many of my most meaningful undergraduate moments have occurred oceans away from Harvard. My international experiences in India, China, Turkey, and France have each impacted me profoundly, both personally and intellectually. I am now excited to use my perspectives to help other students looking to enrich their college experience beyond American borders!
My college globe-trotting began immediately after freshman year, when I received a grant from the South Asia Initiative for a four-week volunteer-travel program in Northern India. Embarking alone, I met up with the Global Crossroad group in Delhi and spent the next month learning basic Hindi, volunteering at a rural orphanage, sightseeing, and drinking lots and lots of chai. After returning home for barely two weeks, I headed back to Asia, this time as a seminar leader for the Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China (HSYLC). After ten days teaching Chinese high schoolers in Shanghai about sustainable development, I set off with new friends for a whirlwind week in Beijing before heading back to Harvard.
The following summer, my passport got stamped again, this time in Istanbul, Turkey, where I attended a summer school program on EU-Turkey Relations, co-sponsored by the Centre International de Formation Européenne and Bilgi University. As the only American in a diverse group of European and Turkish students, I gained exposure to a vast range of personal and scholarly perspectives on contemporary international issues. My individual explorations of Istanbul, from its intensely dynamic bazaars to its breathtakingly beautiful mosques, bridged the gap between study and reality in this remarkable city.
During my junior year, I decided I couldn't wait until summer to go abroad again. In mid-January I moved into my own tiny, seventh-floor walk-up apartment in the middle of Paris. The next six months were an immersion unlike anything I had ever experienced. While taking classes through direct enrollment at Sciences Po, I explored every arrondissement on foot, became a regular at my local boulangerie, perfected my French conversational skills at picnics along the Seine, and traveled to six other European countries. After concluding my semester in May, a grant from the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs allowed me to remain in Paris for two months to conduct thesis research on Indian classical dance as a transnational cultural conduit. My summer concluded with a return to India for three more weeks of incredibly rewarding research.
Now that I am back at Harvard, I am so thankful for my amazing travel opportunities and I am incredibly excited to be able to share my experiences with other students. Wherever you are interested in going, I look forward to speaking with you about all aspects of the process, from dealing with financial logistics and credit transfer to navigating new academic expectations and cultural norms. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions—I would love to be an advocate for your international experience!