All About Fellowships!
Fellowships are an opportunity to do something extraordinary. Fellowships often provide you the resources and support to pursue your life goals! Fellowship programs can be designed to support a range of activities including graduate study in a specific field, research to advance work on a particular issue, developing a new community-based organization or opportunities to give back. Some of the better known fellowships in India include the Young India Fellowship, Teach For India Fellowship, LAMP Fellowship, Prime Minister’s Rural Fellowship, Gandhi Fellowship, Swasth Bharat Preraks, SBI Youth Fellowship amongst others.
Let us understand the need for such fellowships in our country:
- Develop your skills: Fellowships can help you develop yourself by pushing you outside your comfort zone. You will hone your communication and leadership skills. Many programs where you are immersed in a community or school will also improve your public speaking, presentation, analytical, and decision-making abilities. They will also provide you the opportunity to meet diverse people from across the country and learn from their backgrounds and experiences.
- Create an impact : A fellowship is often a way for you to make a difference in a structured manner. For example, Teach For India fellows work in low income schools, impacting their students on a daily basis. They also complete a project in the surrounding communities, leaving lasting impact for the families there. Similarly, Swasth Bharat Preraks, an initiative taken by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Tata Trusts are given projects in districts of various states to improve the state of nutrition and health. If you believe in bringing a change and learning at the same time, fellowships can be a rewarding experience!
- Earn while you learn: Most Fellowships are paid. Professional fellowships are funded by a wide range of organizations including foundations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, universities, media, and corporations. It will add value to the community and and yet you will be ensured a stipend in most cases.
That being said, fellowships are short-term opportunities focusing on professional development of the fellows. Therefore, one needs to have a clear plan of action post the fellowship. The screening and selection process might depend on the fellowship. For example, Teach For India (an offshoot of the global Program, Teach for America) has three stages. It requires filling an application form and online test post which is a telephonic interview and finally an in-person assessment. Similarly, Young India Fellowship includes an application along with the resume followed by a reference check as provided by the candidate. So give it a try and as long as you’re driven, it’s a great way to give back to the nation!