Yes, it’s true! As you may or may not have heard by now, I’m off to India. I was offered a Global Exchange Fellowship with the Deshpande Foundation, a group in India which works with over 80 NGOs and, in turn, helps train young fellows to develop, market, and run their own nonprofits one day. What a mouthfull. Good luck looking up what I’ll be doing! It’s not even listed within their website, which srives to explain too much and only manages to tell any visitor fairly incorrect info. As a communications writer for them, I hope to fix up their website, among other things.
But back to India. I can’t believe I’m going in 9 days! After applying to this fellowship quite a while ago, the Foundation resurfaced and out of the blue, I started to get quite excited. After online chatter and a Skype interview, I was offered the position, and immediately knew I wanted to do it. You see, I’ve had living, volunteering, and working in India and Sri Lanka as my #1 dream for the past few years, and was just telling some friends how much I wanted it to happen but found it unlikely. This was exactly what I needed. There’s nothing holding me back!
This will be no piece of cake, however. In fact, I’ll be working 6-7 days a week with no time off for the first 2 months. What will I be doing? It remains unclear, but according to the folks who run it, the job application, and miscellaneous other materials, I’ll be doing teaching, writing, marketing, photography, nonprofit work, and social media for the foundation. After my initial 2 months of work, there are a few optional (but guilt-ridden) vacation days over the next 4 months. Then the visa runs out and I have to leave. Travel time! I’ll be visiting friends in Southeast Asia methinks, because quite unfortunately, I’ll have to leave India as the visa is unextendable. I always think it’s a good idea to travel around for at least a few days before starting a job in a new place. Otherwise, one has no cultural understanding or foundation on which to rely. All I know so far is that I’m trying to do things in 2 weeks, and the folks in India aren’t exactly forthcoming with information about how to get there or where to go. Guess it’s another “let’s-see-if-Coop-arrives-dead-or-alive” bet.
Speaking of visas, I don’t even have mine yet. Or my shots. Or many things. No, moving to the other side of the world in less than 3 weeks ain’t easy. But alas, they gave me 3 weeks, and why not take them up on such a meaningful adventure that’s sure to be unforgettable?
The next time you hear from me I’ll (hopefully) have already landed, eaten street food in New Delhi (a lifelong dream which I’ve been strongly advised not to do), gotten predictably sick, flown again, trained it up to my little town o’ 1 million people, and arrived at my new southern India home base. More than 6 months of snarky emails and crazy photos may be headed your way…are you as excited as I am?