Students with international dreams prepare for India internships

<p>Megan Bradford</p>

Megan Bradford

Preparing for an overseas trip

After learning of their acceptance into the Cultural Vistas Fellowship scholarship program, Megan Bradford and Haley Carroll have started to prepare for their internships in Bangalore, India. Here, they list some of their preparatory measures:

Megan Bradford

1. Advice from friends and professors, Pinterest research

Bradford has talked to friends from India and friends who have visited the country. After professors sent her congratulatory emails, Bradford responded with thank-you letters to faculty and questions on how to prepare. She's also done some web research through Pinterest. 

2. Eating. Yep, eating. 

To soothe her worries about handling Indian cuisine, Bradford said she will go on a diet to "beat up" her intestines before departing from the United States. 

Haley Carroll

1. Parental and professorial guidance

Carroll has asked her parents to help with the pre-internship process. Her dad gave her various books on travel, women’s safety and books specifically about Bangalore. Carroll’s mom and Annette Rose, associate professor of technology, are setting Carroll up with people from India with whom she can talk. 

2. Internet research

Carroll has also turned to the web to research everything she can before she leaves for her trip.

Both Bradford and Carroll have looked to each other for guidance. They met for lunch after finding out they both had won the fellowship. Since the two had never met, they quickly told each other their life stories and began planning their trip. They will meet up again to further discuss their plans and try to learn some basic phrases in Hindi.

“I’m really excited to have another person to congratulate and freak out with and prepare for—and if nothing else just to fly over to India with,” Carroll said.

With only 12 hours to get it all done, Megan Bradford, a junior architecture major, scrambled to finish and submit her application to the Cultural Vistas Fellowship.

Bradford heard about the fellowship only half a day before the deadline. She had 12 hours to complete the entire application process, recommendation letters and all.

The Cultural Vistas Fellowship is a scholarship program designed to send American students to internships in different countries. Their mission is “to enrich minds, advance global skills, build careers and connect lives through international exchange." 

Each year, the program selects up to 12 recipients for the fellowship. Of the 12, four travel to Argentina, four travel to Germany and four travel to India. This year, the program accepted two Ball State students to travel to Bangalore, India.

Haley Carroll, a sophomore public relations major, had a much smoother experience than Bradford when she applied. She heard about the Cultural Vistas Fellowship from Barb Stedman, a professor in the Honors College in charge of international scholarships. After researching the program for only about five minutes, Carroll knew she wanted to apply.

Both girls have always dreamed of working on an international scale. They are each involved with various campus organizations to prepare for life abroad. Bradford has been involved with Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, International Conversation Hour and Global Brigades. 

Carroll is a resident assistant involved with International Conversation Hour, an organizer of Eco Summit and a member of a global reporting initiative immersive learning program.

“[It’s] crazy, crazy crazy, that there are two students from Ball State,” Carroll said.

This will be the third year for the Cultural Vistas Fellowship program. Denise Blankenberger, a junior architecture major, participated in the program last year.

“Pretty soon we’ll just take over and it will be all Ball State kids,” Bradford said.

While in India, Bradford and Carroll will be placed into internships based on their field of study, but they'll both involve renewable energy. They are not sure exactly what they will be doing and will most likely not find out the specifics of their jobs until a couple weeks prior to their departure to India.

Carroll hopes to work in the public relations department of a renewable energy company, although it does not matter to her what form of energy the company produces.

“I’m more concerned about the company and what they stand for and how well they integrate their employees,” Carroll said. “The atmosphere within the company is really important to me.”

The trip will include a pit stop in New York City for a few days of training before Bradford and Carroll head to India. The girls will then spend all of June and July in Bangalore,  which will include another week of training. After completing the internship, the fellowship winners will return to New York for a debriefing session.

One goal Bradford has for her trip is to attend an Indian wedding, because she thinks "they're really beautiful."

After questioning a friend and doing some research, she found that some people in Indian villages actually advertise their weddings on billboards because so many Americans want to see a wedding while visiting India.

Bradford wants to steer clear of the “white savior” complex while interning in India. She explains she is training herself to keep in mind that she is going to India to learn from its natives and culture, not to push her ideas on them.

“If you switch it over to trying to be a listener instead of a teller, then it’ll help a lot,” Bradford said.

Eventually, Bradford would like a future career abroad, figuring out a way to use renewable energy in housing. She wants to recreate the “slum” or “informal settlement” style of living many other countries have developed.

“I think they have such a unique way of building communities,” Bradford said.

Bradford wants to stick with the close community style of housing, but also improve the parts of the style that don’t work well, such as hygiene and health.

“I like when people ask me what my dream job is,” Bradford said. “Because it’s completely different from what I think my path is going to be.”

Bradford’s dream job is to run a not-for-profit architecture firm. She said she will have to take a high-paying architecture job first to save up the money to run a not-for-profit.

Carroll wants to spend her career managing public relations for a renewable energy company on an international scale.

While some may think acting globally and being from the Midwest is impossible, Carroll likes to think differently.

“I always like thinking the other way,” Carroll said. “Like with the scholarship, someone has to win it, someone has to get the job. There are movers and shakers in this world, and it really only takes one person.”


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