Hello hello students!
My name is Uttara and I am one of three instructors who will be travelling with you very soon!
I’m currently in Delhi, about to begin a short course for Dragons that will take me to Jaipur and Agra. I had a wonderful break in December where I sat in my parent’s garden in Pune, drank tea and ploughed through YA novels. I know I’m probably supposed to say this is a guilty pleasure, but it really isn’t. 🙂
As I’m getting ready to meet you all shortly, I’m thinking of all the different things that came together and made this possible. After doing a very rigorous undergraduate liberal arts degree in New York, there were too many things I wanted to do. While in some ways that’s a wonderful situation to be in, it was also frustrating and this frustration took me to Ladakh on a cold February day in 2013. My initial plan was to volunteer at SECMOL, an amazing alternative school with a sustainable campus for a month, but I ended up staying for a year. At SECMOL, I was simultaneously a teacher, student, friend and mentor. It was incredible. Education and everything it had to offer me both personally and professionally was the space I wanted to be in. Through a very happy circumstance I ended up co-leading a trip to Ladakh the next summer and knew instantly this was something I wanted to do more of. It was so amazing to see this place I had become so accustomed to through my brilliant students’ eyes. As we continued to travel, I saw the country I had grown up in through this new lens and I loved what I saw. They laughed with me, taught me, learned with me and challenged me and I hope you will too.
Soon after this experience, I found myself on a farm in Dehradun, India, learning about sustainable agriculture in India, seed saving, and women farmer’s rights, while facilitating the everyday lives of volunteers from around the world.
Then it was time for graduate school. My recently completely Master’s in International Education Policy has taught me so much, but has left me with a million questions that I am so eager to try and find answers to- with all of you! One of the things I have questions about is ‘development’- its many definitions and how they’ve changed over time, what it looks like in a textbook and what it looks like in real life, the forces that propel it and to what end it is being propelled towards.
I’m happy to have finally found my way back to this exciting space and am beyond thrilled to meet you all in Delhi. It will be wonderful to settle into Banaras for a while, work on Independent Study Projects, meet new people and learn about a new world. And then, of course, escape to my most favourite place in the entire universe- Ladakh. I can’t wait to share this special place with you!
You are so lucky to have this wonderful opportunity to visit this country, that even though I’ve lived here almost my entire life, I still have so many questions about. You are also so brave for leaping out of your comfort zones into this new and exciting experience. I can’t wait to meet all you wonderful humans and go on an 83 day adventure with you!
If you have any questions at all, about anything at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out. My email is [email protected]