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Indian Parliament Internship under Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Vijay Sampla
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Divy Agnihotri

Major: Political Science / Economics
Minor: N/A
Hometown: Lancaster, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I came upon this internship by my own means. It was not listed anywhere, I simply took the time to reach out to an Indian minister from the home state of my parents in India. I explained to him what I wanted to learn and accomplish, and he took a liking to the idea. I encourage any student looking for such an experience to simply do a little research and reach out to the person or company they would like to intern for, you never know what might happen until you try.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I traveled to India in June to begin my internship with the Indian government under the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Vijay Sampla. To get me acquainted with the Indian government, I was given the task of learning about the structure of a coalition government, the different branches of the government, and presenting my findings at the end of the internship. Along the way, I sat in on some meetings and functions relating to social justice and empowerment, for example in one instance, I had the opportunity to discuss the Tibet takeover and Diaspora with Tibetan refugees on the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Also being in India I got the chance to practice my multilingual abilities by conversing in Hindi and Punjabi with many of the locals. Apart from my internship, I got the chance to travel a good bit of Northern India. I explored everywhere from the chowks of Delhi, the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh, to the oldest-inhabited city on the Earth of Varanasi. It is safe to say, this was an experience of a lifetime.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience has helped me grow academically. Students are often lectured at, given readings, assigned homework related to their majors. But I finally had the actual opportunity to go out and experience what I am learning in the classroom. I believe the best way to learn is hands-on. So being able to actually go to a Parliament session, seeing the ministers discuss various topics, and learning about the functions of the governmental system, I got the chance to receive some intellect I would not receive from a book or a professor.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

My career goals lie in the field of public service and politics. I hope to one day work in some facet of the US government. Whatever that area may be is still up for debate. However, I believe my experience in the Indian Parliament has broadened my horizons in terms of what I can do. As the world becomes more and more interdependent, and nations like India and China become economic powerhouses, I believe there may be greater opportunities to cultivate more harmonious relations with such countries. I think my understanding of the Indian Parliament and the cultural aspects of India may make me better suited to help out in such situations. Overall, this experience can only help, not hurt.

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because we should all pursue our passions.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students because we should all pursue our passions. This experience wasn't found on any website, or suggested by any adviser. Rather it was formed and driven by my desire to learn about foreign governments and international politics. So I encourage all students to follow their passions and create their own paths if one is not laid out before them.

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