Kolkata, India and the social enterprises I worked with there, Anudip and iMerit are alive, engaged, genuine, and passionate and that is how I want to live my life. I want to be engaged with my society, genuine in my interactions with others, and confident and consistent in my beliefs.
I did not hold these lofty goals when I applied to the Global Social Benefit Fellowship. I was simply excited for the opportunity to go abroad and continue to work on my skills as a filmmaker. These goals were developed in the research and reading in the preparatory fellowship classes and then reinforced in my experiences in Kolkata.
The classes taught me about the different theories of development, social entrepreneurship, and the great need for innovation and technology in service to humanity. Anudip and iMerit showed me why all that information matters.
I saw what earning triple an average family income looks like, and how economic empowerment of women in conservative communities can change perspectives. It was a synthesis of idea and action. I think many educational institutions strive for, but Santa Clara achieved. The Global Social Benefit Fellowship showed me a way of life radically different from the one I was living, and then gave me the opportunity to enact it.
Everything I did within GSBF was highly structured. I had brilliant and exceptional mentors throughout the entire experience helping me both define, realize and execute my research plan. It will not always be so. So, as I enter what college seniors scarily term "Real Life," I intend to do my best to take the education that Anudip, iMerit, and GSBF gave me and continue to act upon it outside of the supportive academic system.