he Young India Fellowship (YIF) is a one-year multidisciplinary postgraduate diploma programme in Liberal Studies. The Fellowship brings together a group of bright young men and women who show exceptional intellectual ability and leadership potential from across the country, and trains them to become socially committed agents of change. YIF exposes them to a diverse set of subjects and perspectives, delivered by some of the finest teachers from India and around the world. The aim is to help Fellows become well-rounded individuals who are able to think critically about issues from multiple perspectives, communicate effectively and go on to become self-aware leaders with a commitment to public service. For more details visit their website http://www.youngindiafellowship.com/AboutYIF.aspx. Here we are having a conversation with Shristi Goswami who is a young India fellow.
Can you tell me about the selection process ?
The application has two parts:
first is the online application form. They ask you questions basic about you ? your interests ? etc.
The second round is a telephonic interview. They will ask you questions regarding your application. I wrote in my application I am interested in policy making, so they asked me what policy are you interested. Basically you have to be honest and genuine.
The selected candidates will be called for a final round of interview.
Can you let me know of the scholarship opportunities offered to YIF fellows?
Asoka University provides need based scholarship. There are 22 students who are getting full scholarship. Other get half scholarships. If you have more than 60 percent in your under-graduation you will be eligible for a merit- scholarship which will amount to Rs1 lakh.
Tell about your days at the Fellowship ? What did you do there ?
Well days start off with a class on War studies and end with drama and dance. It is a culmination of so many things. it is super interesting !It is a 12 month program, and is divided into 8 terms. I term is one month. Every term we has one or three core subjects which everyone to take and we have elective subjects were 100 people choose one and other 100 will take the rest. We have many core subjects ranging from heritage walks, art appreciation, political economy, gender studies etc.
The best part about the fellowship is faculties. For example Political economy was taught by Mukesh Jha who was chairing the planning commission under Manmohan Singh government. There are professors who fly all the way from abroad. For each subjects you will be divided into groups and i have nearly been in 30 different groups. The advantage of it is that you will get to interacting with everyone, though the other person may not align with you ideologically you will have to work with him. Along with academics lot of extra- curricular are there. One night you will be asked to do a play or a dance tomorrow. So at 3 am in the morning you will find yourself practising for dance. I feel it is a place where your creativity is pushed to limit and maybe beyond. The combination of academics taught by best faculties and the extra-curricular is the best part of the fellowship
Is there any kind of assessment method?
Some subjects don’t have an exam. Sometimes you will be required do something different. For example for my gender studies assessment I did a street play. someone else made a documentary. Sometimes you will be divided into groups and assessment will be group activity.
Tell me about your peers?
About my peers, I have to say that they are the best in the country. there are people from all over India from all strata of society. You will get to learn a lot about other people’s cultures their language etc. Even the hostel rooms are allotted to you in such way that they make sure you mix with diverse people.
Tell about an incident that happened to you which really strike a chord in you ?
Once there was a big alumni event coming up, so I was appointed as the head of media team. Since I have always wanted to be journalist, I have been appointed as the head of media team. Initially I thought I could handle everything very easily but later I realised that it’s very hard because there so many events to cover. Many people under me weren’t working. It was a two day program and there were events happening from morning 8 am till 3am in night. The first day I cried and told my mother that I cannot handle it, but my mother told I must not give up. I believed in myself and went ahead. I was finally able to successfully complete my work. it was like real life experience and I learned a lot form it. Now I know how to handle things and can easily do that.
What are the skills you acquire during this fellowship?
You as a person will undergo tremendous transformation during the fellowship. You will learn a lot skills like networking, how to manage things, how to push yourself to the limit, how to act prudently in situations, you thinking and perception will also change. I think more than all that, I received the skill of becoming a better human being
What are the opportunities that one can avail after the fellowship?
The opportunities are so wide. Recruiters from social sector, media, and as well corporate sector will come for campus placements. One of my friends even got a placement of Rs.21 lakh. I wanted to be in media I was recruited by Star group, I will be flying to Mumbai soon after the course. There are many who go abroad for higher studies. It is like if you want a particular organisation or firm to come, you can go tell your placement cell. They will try their best to bring them. Asoka University is very well connected. In case that organisation cannot come, they will set up an online interview for you!
What do you think is the most unique feature about the fellowship ?
The interesting curriculum which consists of wide ranging academics and lot of extra-curricular, the world class faculties, the awesome peers, the placement part. In short, everything is unique about the YIF. More than that this is a place where you are accepted for what you are. Nobody judges you, you will always be appreciated by your friends and teachers, also criticized healthily. I was very apprehensive to ask doubts in the class thinking that my questions would be considered foolish because my class if full of intelligent people. I conveyed this to my professor; she encouraged me a lot and from then on I always was confident to ask questions. In short, it makes you a better person; a good human being.