Changing the World: A Youth Perspective

This was a post I wrote – and it was originally published on Huffington Post! ——————————————————- The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a commitment made by over 190 leaders around the world to change this planet as we know it. With 17 bold goals to tackle massive problems by 2030, including eradicate extreme poverty, fixing…

“To You” (A Spoken Word Poem)

This was a spoken word poem that I had written and performed on February 25, 2016. Although the performance was recent, the poem was written during a time that now seems quite foreign to me. To You You came to me when I least expected it. You, a person I needed, when I didn’t even realize I…

Stop Waiting to Change

If you’d rather listen than read: — My Day Four assignment for the “Blogging 101” course that I have enrolled in is to publish a post for my ideal audience member. Seeing as this was assigned five days ago, I’m definitely playing catch-up, but I am determined to make it! Well, this got me thinking, who is…

Re(Introduction)

Hello! In an effort to launch myself into blogging and work on my writing skills, I’ve enrolled in an online “Blogging 101” Course. Our task #1 is “Introduce Yourself to the World”, so here it goes: (Boring stuff) My name is Suraj – if you’re interested to know anything beyond that, there’s an About page. (Fun stuff) Here…

Lessons Learned from Human Trafficking Activism

Ever since I was a junior in high school, I have been passionate about fighting against human trafficking. It all started with a Community Ambassador Training held by youthSpark, a nonprofit that works to end child sex trafficking in Georgia (not the country, but the state, inside the US). After learning about such a heinous issue and becoming…

The Paradox of Renewable Energy

Two weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to explore Iceland and learn about its unique energy policy through an 8-day Adventure Program on Renewable Energy and Sustainability offered through the GREEN Program. Although it was only eight days long, we were able to attend lectures from professors at the Iceland School of Energy in Reykjavik University, tour geothermal and…

Choose Love. Choose Heartfulness. Choose to Plan.

Originally posted on Mamata Venkat:
Well, it’s that time of the year again—finals week. For those of us who feel trapped in the seemingly perpetual role of ‘student’, we are all linked together in a universal clique as, together, we endure piles of term paper rough drafts, sides of hands tattooed in ink residue, cumulative…

The Luxury of Studying

At Georgia Tech, I am surrounded by students (myself included), who are consistently complaining about the amount of work they have to do or how much they are dreading the amount of studying that awaits them. It has become so commonplace to accept studying as an inevitable evil that dooms us all that many of us don’t…

Four Ways to Be a Better Friend

It wasn’t until I came into college that I began to appreciate my friends and what it meant to have a friendship. When you are suddenly surrounded by people everywhere, and are also given more duties and responsibility, the day-to-day tradeoff between investing in friendships and expending effort on classes, work, and organizations becomes much more tangible. For me, this…

10 Valuable Lessons I Learned from Studying Abroad

This past summer, I had an amazing opportunity to go on a 10-week study abroad program in Europe, learning about the European Union, US-EU relations, European security, and human rights. I spent 6 weeks in Brussels with a host family, and about a week each in Ireland, France, Germany, and Poland. Needless to say, it was an…

A Cultivation of Seeds – My Indian-American Culture

The word “culture” has its roots in the Latin word colere, meaning to tend or to cultivate. For me, my culture is a cultivation of seeds derived from the values, customs, and achievements of my two homes: the United States of America and the Republic of India. As the son of Indian immigrants, my culture…

Insights into Ireland

After staying for almost a month in Brussels, Belgium, spending a week in Dublin, Ireland was quite the change. All the chocolate shops and Belgian waffle stands were replaced with barber shops and Irish pubs. Suddenly my ears had to adjust from hearing French to English, a language that I was more familiar with, but being spoken in an…

Reflection on Human Rights from Brussels and The Hague

After seven weeks of discussing security issues and matters of US-EU relations, it was a pleasant change of pace to begin learning about human rights. There were several topics that we discussed in the first two days of comprehensive lectures that were very interesting to see play out in our site visits, including the tension…

Eternity

When I shift my gaze towards you, everything else goes away. Suddenly all that used to excite me and bring me wonder is brought to my blind side. Because I’m taken away by your beauty, Compelled by your majestic mystery. None of this can matter, because I yearn for you. Only you can fulfill this craving. You are the…

Culture and Policy

One of the most fascinating things that I have been able to see on this study abroad trip across Europe learning about the European Union and various policy areas has been the intricate intersections between culture and policy. Culture. Culture is absolutely fascinating and so incredibly influential. If there is one thing that I have learned…

NATO in the Age of Asymmetry

Yesterday, after we all took a challenging exam testing our extensive knowledge over the different institutions and important actors of the European Union, their functions, and their influence (or lack thereof) in Europe, we had the pleasure of hearing from a Special Advisor to the NATO Secretary General. With over 20 years of experience, he had…

Living in the Present and Learning from History

I’ve always been told that it’s important not to live in the past. But I’ve also been told that it’s important to learn and remember history in order to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes. This apparent contradiction between having to live in the present and yet immerse yourself in the past creates an interesting tension….

The Power of Language

One important thing that I noticed almost immediately from when I arrived in Brussels, was the power of language. I suppose it was something that I never quite thought about and took for granted because I am often able to get by with my little knowledge of Hindi when I travel to India, and other than that, I…

Nameless

As I make my way through a crowded walking trail in Brussels, Belgium, I feel free. No one talks to me or gets in my way, and I don’t get in theirs. For a moment, I am nameless. And in that beautiful moment, I am allowed to forget myself. I can shed my identity and embrace the world. I am everything…

Let the Studying (Abroad) Commence!

For those of you who do not know, I am currently on a study abroad trip in Europe! I was given this wonderful opportunity in part by the President’s Scholarship Program and the Stamps Leadership Scholarship at Georgia Tech, and of course, my parents. The program is called the EU-Brussels study abroad program, which is a 10-week…