- Where did you go and what was your experience like?
I was living and working in Bagru, India. Bagru is a village in northern India less than an hour away from Jaipur, famous for hand-block printing. I was living with a local chhipa family (textile printers), mainly assisting them in running their export textile business. The first three months were the simplest, most challenging, but undoubtedly rewarding months of my life. There were many times I felt lost, without purpose, and frustrated; with that said, I feel that this adjustment period made the rest of the experience much more fulfilling.
- What was your fondest memory of your time as a Minerva Fellow?
It’s hard to choose, so I’ll list a couple. Overall, my favorite things come from more intangible moments than physical memories: Attending world’s largest camel festival, going to a Hindu temple with my host-father every morning, giving tours of Bagru and teaching people about the printing process, running the world’s highest marathon in the Himalayas, watching the sunset from the roof of my home while reading the book “Amanda the Pig” to my younger host-sister, Chehika, and teaching my younger host-brother, Yash, what it means to be a global citizen.
- What did you do during your time? What does the fellowship entail?
Along with two other Union alums, I ended up starting my own business venture based out of Jaipur called Studio Bagru. We are exporting hand-block printed textiles around the world, mainly by collaborating with international designers who want to create in India. I will be returning in the fall to continue working on the business.
- How has the trip changed you?
Has the trip changed me? People change every day. I learned a lot, probably matured a lot, and certainly became exposed to some incredible people along the way. But, in the end, whether I was “changed” or not is irrelevant. I do believe that my presence and time in India has changed others. Truthfully, this likely won’t manifest for months to come. It might be years before my impact can be measured; nonetheless, I am confident that within some of the magical conversations, laughs, or cups of chai – I spread my knowledge and passion from Union and there are definitely positives to be taken from that.