profilepicHello, namaste, hola, bonjour, marhaba, and selam. My name is Shraddha Joshi and I am an incoming freshman at Harvard College. In this blog, I would like to share my journey as an aspiring polyglot, thinker, and dreamer. I hope to document my discoveries as I study language, discuss my sociopolitical viewpoints, and record my various endeavors as I attempt to make sense of the world.

I am a lover of politics and all things language. I am a dancer, singer, and patron of the arts, as well a serious enthusiast of international music. I have grown up practicing Sahaja Yoga Meditation, a practice that incorporates teachings of different religions. Sahaja Yoga is my source of balance in life, and it is because of this practice that I have become so interested in different cultures and faiths. In addition, I am an active volunteer with the Austin refugee community, something that I feel is extremely important in our country today.

Of all of my interests, studying foreign languages is my favorite. As an Indian America, I have grown up bilingual, speaking both Hindi/Urdu and English. For the past six years, I have been learning Spanish and French at school, and I love making connections between the two. Since my freshman year of high school, I became extremely interested in studying Arabic. In the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to live in Amman, Jordan for six weeks on a full merit scholarship with the NSLI-Y program, to study Arabic in an intensive immersion environment. I now take Arabic classes with a tutor from Jordan via Skype, during my study hall period at school. In addition to my Spanish, French, and Arabic classes, I have been taking Turkish conversational lessons at a local cultural center. My familiarity with a range of different languages from varying families has gotten me interested in linguistics. I spend great lengths of time reading articles and using online translators to discover the linguistic connections between words, as well as how these similarities may have come about.

Ever since I can remember, I have been a strong enthusiast of politics. I love reading and analyzing news articles, and I update myself with three different news sites a day, in an attempt to shape my own opinions! I would like to use my blog as a way to express my viewpoints on domestic and international politics as well as social justice related issues through opinion essays and articles. When I was in seventh grade, my school started a Model United Nations club. I have thus developed an unceasing love for foreign affairs and public speaking. In fact, I aspire to study International Relations as a major in college, with hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy.

For the past ten years, I have been learning the Indian classical dance style of Bharatanatyam, as well as Hindustani Indian classical vocal music. These arts are an extremely important part of my life. I believe that dance is a language and a means of communication, and I like to use it as a medium to express my ideas and viewpoints. In addition to classical music, I have always loved listening to international pop and rap music. I feel that listening to music is a great way to hone my language skills, and I tend to spend time reading translations of the songs that I listen to, just to learn some new vocabulary. Currently, at the top of my list are Nicky Jam and Maluma (Spanish), Mohammed Assaf and Nancy Ajram (Arabic), Yas (Farsi), l’Algerino (French), and of course, anything Bollywood.

Throughout my high school years, I have been extensively involved with Austin’s local refugee population. After staging a full-scale dance production as a fundraiser for GirlForward, an organization that empowers teenage refugee girls in Austin, I was selected to serve as their first and only high-school aged intern. I have also served as a foundational ESL tutor with the Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT). Working with refugee girls has allowed me to empower and form deep bonds with young feminists, leaders, and learners from Afghanistan, Syria, Tanzania, and other nations. Currently, I am GirlForward’s Education and Mentoring Support Intern.

I truly hope you enjoy reading my blog, and becoming a part of my experiences!