SAFLI Alumni: Where Are They Now?
Name: Kiran Misra
RFLI program you participated in: SAFLI Hindi
Year of program: 2018
Were you a Boren Scholar or Fellow? Fellow
What was your major/field of study? BA Public Policy, MPP
(*survey completed in January 2021*)
Where are you now? Describe your career/study path since completing the RFLI program:
After completing RFLI, I spent an additional summer in India learning Punjabi, then moved to Italy to work for the UN for a year for a project on UN Reform. I now work for the UN World Food Programme in Washington DC as a Government Partnerships Officer, managing the Dakar Regional Bureau’s USAID grant-funded portfolio.
How did your education and experience in the RFLI program enhance or change your career path? I loved my year learning Hindi in India – as the only Indian in my cohort, I learned a lot about my own identity, the intersection of South Asian and American politics, and gained invaluable language skills. The language institute in Jaipur is excellent and the teachers are wonderful. My experience abroad also led me to think more seriously about working in international development and foreign policy, a career path I hadn’t really considered before. Though I don’t use my language skills at my job now, earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, I used my new language skills to help translate vital information for South Asian American communities and my ability to speak South Asian languages has been invaluable as a reporter and researcher outside of my job.
What advice would you give to prospective RFLI participants? At my university, the university fellowships office was really useful in helping me prepare the most competitive application possible. In the end, actually getting the fellowship is at least partially luck of the draw, but whether or not you get the fellowship, keep applying for language learning programs and fellowships abroad if it’s something you’re passionate about! Every attempt gets you closer to your goal, whether it seems like it or not.