Last year I did a year abroad in Maastricht in the Netherlands, which was fantastic. I was there with a couple of people from my course as well which was really nice, as we had a few classes together. But getting to know new people at a new university was a really great experience.
I think I would have struggled doing three years in one place. I’m used to moving around a lot; getting to know new people. It kind of made being in Essex for three years in total a lot easier by having that break in between because you enjoy uni a lot more here and when you’re abroad as well you get to know the differences between the places, the different people you meet; it was fantastic, I would recommend it to anyone.
It was the course that drew me to Maastricht. It was very focused on human rights and women in politics, and their history in politics. I have a big interest in women’s rights and where women stand in society, especially coming from an Asian background as well. That’s what drew me there. It was literally the courses and when I started looking into the place, I found they study very differently to the UK which interested me as well, plus not being too far from home but being far enough that it was a completely different experience.
As much as I love being in education and being at university, I cannot wait to see where life takes me, in the sense that I have so much that I want to do. I want to see what is achieved from that and where things go in five years’ time. I want to see where I am.
My goal is to own a business because my family have always been in business. I would like to open my own bar, which funds a school in India specifically for women so some of the profits are constantly being donated to that school, and it’ll have a setup that will be there for a long time, rather than me just donating money and that’s it, and having nothing to do with it. Before that I would like to do a bit of work in development especially on women’s right in India; it’s one thing that I am passionate about. But owning a business is what I want. I couldn’t work for someone else for too long!
Through my community at home, I set up a youth group at my local temple. I wanted to encourage people, especially women, to understand that they are capable of achieving something. We set up a charity in India through my family there which has been an ongoing project. It’s something that has been rewarding for me, seeing that happen, but it’s been part of what I’ve wanted to do so it’s kind of pushing me in the right direction.
My grandparents inspire me, not only because of what they’ve done for me and my family, but because of how they are now. We live in a household that has three generations and I am the youngest in my household. They’ve been very set in their ways and their traditions culturally, but they’ve also been very open to how I’ve been brought up by my parents – obviously a lot more modern – and seeing them like that is really inspiring to me. I want to be like that, I want to keep my traditions and keep my culture but open up to the western world at the same time. They were born and raised in India, and are very traditional, but seeing how they have really opened up with my brother and I has been amazing and was something I never expected ten years ago.
I think it is very comforting to them knowing that I want to make such a difference in the country where my family are from. It’s not somewhere I’ve been born and raised; I’ve spent part of my childhood there at times, but it’s somewhere I could easily forget about if I wanted to, but the fact that I am carrying that on and I want to make a difference there, I think that’s really heart-warming to them, and I think it’s a credit to how they have brought me up as well. So, I think they would be quite proud of me, I hope!