How has this experience changed my perspective about globalization, business, etc?
As far as business is concerned, my thoughts haven’t really changed much. I worked for a global company where the practices and culture could be the same anywhere around the world.
My perspective on globalization is still that it is has its benefits and detriments, only now I have more evidence to back that up. On one hand globalization has introduced technology like Uber, that give the taxi driving community more respect and a steadier income when previously they were maltreated and underpaid. Civil rights movements popular in the west such as LGBTQ rights are making their way into India which, I would argue, is gaining more ground than it would have had the West not been the progressive leader on this front. However, globalization also seems to have India turning towards the US’ obsession with consumption, status and vanity which is discouraging because I feel that is one of the worst aspects of US culture. For better or for worse, this also made making friends abroad easier. We had more in common, watched the same movies and listened to similar music. I am finding the same thing in Ghana and I still haven’t decided whether this globalization, at the expense of culture, is a net positive or negative.
What is it like to have left?
In my second week studying in Ghana and as I write this blog post, I find myself not missing India as much as I had expected. Even flipping through photos of my time there, I haven’t felt the nostalgia that I thought I might. And its a little confusing considering how much I enjoyed my time in India why I am feeling so impartial to leaving. Maybe its the new experiences that are preoccupying my thoughts and emotions or maybe I am forcing myself to be fully present which prevents my thinking about anything other than Ghana.
What did you learn about yourself through this experience?
I have learned that I don’t have a real passion for traveling but I do have one for people. Of all the places I traveled to, the most memorable moments were ones shared with people we met or knew. When asked what my dream job would be I would say “National Geographic Photographer” but I would edit that to “Be apart of a National Geographic Photography Crew” now.
I have realized that I wasn’t the naturally wide eyed independent travel guru I thought I would be. I miss my friends, my family, my burritos, my routine. But I have also really come to know the benefit of the negative. Whenever I am feeling sad, lonely, unfulfilled etc. I find comfort in the fact that I know I will grow. Living in Ghana has been much easier than in India and I think its because I already went through most of the difficulties and I know when I live somewhere new after college, it won’t be as hard as it could be.
Comparisons of before and after?
I think my biggest fear of going to India was eventually despising coming back to the US. I thought I would see so much pain and meet so many people wanting to help in India that the materialism and the general indifference people have towards social causes I see in the US would make me hate the environment at SCU.
However, my assumption that people in India and Ghana would care more about social issues because of their proximity to these problems has, to my confusion and dismay, proven to be false. And that has got me thinking why do I? But the experience has also made me appreciate the many things and people I take for granted, and I am hoping that the feeling doesn’t fade.
I was afraid of isolation and I definitely felt it but it has turned out to be one of those things that you are grateful you went through. It has changed my mindset about unhappiness and how to deal with it. Maybe the best answer is to try and not to.
I have still been debating whether working at Franklin Templeton was the right choice. Looking back, the choice seems like it was in the middle of two extremes I wanted and I am not sure I got all that I could out of a global fellows experience or a working experience. On one hand, I didn’t get any experience in investments which I could have done if I chose to stay in the states and I didn’t get to really involve myself in a more intense social cause like the other global and GSBI fellows. I showed a picture of Plato’s cave in hopes that I might feel like I was “enlightened” from this whole journey but I can’t say for certain I have.
Although I can’t say much has changed within me, the experience was incredible. I still want to pursue a career in business and social impact, and I think these experiences have solidified my aspirations. I guess knowing I was on the right track the whole time is blessing in itself.
All in all, even though my expectations didn’t meet reality, I don’t regret a thing. It was naive of me to try and achieve a certain outcome from something like this and I am learning to just let things happen and take them for what they are. Not everything has to have a deeper meaning, not everything needs to have a purpose. With this being said, thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. I cannot express how incredibly grateful I am, something I have not been doing enough of.