My name is Monika and I come from Estonia.
Is this the first time you’re meeting an Estonian, or the first time you’re even hearing about Estonia? Do not worry. I hear that every day here in India 🙂
Estonia is a small country in northeast Europe. It’s about the size of the Indian state of Punjab, but there are only 1.3 million people living in the country. So we Estonians are used to having a lot of empty space around us. But being alone does not necessarily mean being lonely.
I first visited India in February 2013 after I finished my bachelor studies in Psychology. A lot of people I met here were surprised that I traveled alone. But I didn’t fear traveling alone. Instead, I was afraid that I will not always be able to manage having so many people around me. There are at least 11 million people living in Delhi alone! I can’t even imagine so many people.
I can’t say that I always felt comfortable back then when I was travelling alone and interacting with people here. India challenged me. But I think that getting out of our comfort zone is the thing that teaches us the most.
I ended up falling in love with India — its colors, its culture, its food, its nature, and its people. Of course there are things in India that I like and things that I cannot stand. But as you know, people in love tend to remember only the nice things 🙂
When I went back home I heard about a global education program – Global Education Network for Young Europeans (GLEN) — that offered an internship possibility in India for 3 months.
GLEN is a training and internship program with a focus on global education. The objective of global education is to inform people on global issues, so they could be more conscious in their choices and actions. It also aims to increase solidarity and promote social activism.The project consists of three parts: preparatory seminars on global education, internship in a foreign country, and global education activities after returning home (eg: running a blog, visiting schools and youth centers, photo exhibitions, seminars on global problems, etc.)
Currently, I am on a 3-month internship along with two other interns – Tjaša and Silviu – at ETASHA Society in New Delhi. Our work assignments are connected to communication and promotion.
I applied for the program because I wanted to return to India and also because I think the work ETASHA does is very important and inspiring not only in the Indian context, but also globally.
I have been studying for most of my life. I spent the last six years studying at a university (I did a bachelors in Cultural Studies as well as in Psychology). I loved my studies and I am grateful that in Estonia we have a chance to get a free university degree, but I still feel that the educational system in Europe doesn’t always prepare people well for their work life.
Many people in Estonia have a university degree because it is prestigious. But at the same time, many university graduates are unemployed or work at jobs that fall below their qualification levels. I think this is an indication that education is not fulfilling its purpose. In other countries specific issues may be different, but the core problem is the same: education does not meet the needs of the labour market. Dr. Mona Mourshed, a global education leader, has an interesting and inspiring talk on this topic.
I think that one of the solutions to the problem could be career guidance, improvement of vocational training, and cooperation between educational programs and employers. Something that ETASHA has been working towards. So I hope that during these 3 months here I will be able to help this cause in my own small way.