Internship Series: Jaunpur Social Network Study, Uttar Pradesh, India

Anamika Sinha

SAR’19 | Health Sciences

Research Assistant

CCD: Tell us about your work experience. What were your responsibilities?

AS: My main job was to be a project manager/technical support for the team. I was intensively working to create surveys for our randomized controlled trial in India with teams from Boston University and Delhi University. The surveys took place electronically on tablets that needed to be modified whenever problems were faced in the field. While I was in India to further discuss the logistics of the surveys, I was given the opportunity to train enumerators who would go to the field on weekdays and implement the study with households. The position also involved working with the community to ensure safety for everyone, which included keeping relations with heads of villages, police, District Magistrate and Sub-divisional Magistrate.

CCD: How did you get the position? What resources at BU or elsewhere did you use?

AS: I looked at opportunities on BU’s UROP website and approached the professor who was working on the project.

CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?

AS: There were many great things about the experience. I was involved with a community that lacked essential resources, lacked sanitation and hygiene, and spoke a language that I could hardly comprehend. However, I was able to allow myself to adapt to the environment quickly by learning parts of the language, which allowed me to understand the issues that effected the local population on a daily basis. I remind myself of how lucky I was to be able to converse with the locals and be accepted into their small yet benevolent communities. Although the locals were not well equipped to welcome us into their small huts, the team never felt the need for anything as their compassion to care for guests was everything we could have asked for. The only downside to being in India during the summer was the scorching heat. The temperature would reach around 40 degree Celsius and it was unbearable but the job had to be done. For the team, we thought of ourselves as too lucky to be part of such an opportunity and so, the heat never mattered anyways.

CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?

AS: The most memorable moment of my experience was when I started to build relationships with families within villages that our project was working with. Sometimes, when our team bus would arrive at the location, children would run up to greet me and force me to play with them in the most adorable way possible. Families welcomed us with their big hearts, providing us with food and water, and always included us in their religious ceremonies and other family events that took place.

CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of an internship or job experience?

AS: Take these opportunities to make your careers goals specific. I believe that students should always try their hardest to blend into their environment and open their eyes to the issues that are effecting underserved communities. To be able to converse with such populations might be the best thing that could happen, because it allows researchers like us to understand the magnitude of problems that are not talked about. Regardless, for any job experience, students should use these opportunities to learn what they like about the job and what they dislike, and adhere to it when looking for other opportunities in the future.

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