Cultural Day and New Happenings!

Hi Friends!

While I haven’t done a great job with the up-keeping of my Blog, it is on my list of resolutions for this year, so I will try my best to keep updating!

I’m currently in the wonderful city of Raleigh, NC and am LOVING every second of it! It is a beautiful area with nice weather year round! Coming from Syracuse with temperatures in the mid-20’s and 2 feet of snow to 60 degrees and sunny was quite a treat! Definitely helped cure my mid-winter blues. I’ve been here advancing my medical school goals and staying focused on upcoming interviews and internships for the summer. Special thanks and shout out to my cousin for graciously letting me stay with her for the past few months! 🙂

As some of you may know, I have decided to compete again for the title of Miss New York 2013. It was a culmination of many factors, but mostly through the advancement of my platform, “Cultural Competency: Building Bridges of Understanding.” In the Fall, I was able to establish a program at a local elementary school to bring awareness to younger children about various cultures around the world. We had parents, high school students, teachers, and other members of the community come together to showcase an “Around the World Day” where students were able to rotate between classrooms and experience a different culture. Throughout the day children were taught foreign dances, languages, arts and crafts, and songs among many other things. Although I was busy heading the event and ensuring that everything went as planned, I did have a chance to visit the India classroom and share my talent (Bollywood Dance) and teach a few moves to the ladies (and gents)! I also have a background in French, so I stopped by the country of France and taught a few french phrases as well. And of course, I had to make my famous enchiladas as a dish to pass! Furthermore, everyone was encouraged to dress in traditional clothing from their country. I must say that the event was a great success! I received such positive feedback from the teachers and community that I was asked to visit other local elementary schools in the area. This will be my major undertaking for the next few months and I am excited to return to Syracuse to continue this project.

In other news, today marked the official inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama! I’m looking forward to watching his Inaugural Address tomorrow that will lay out his vision for his second term. Also, tomorrow is MLK Day of Service! I’ll be volunteering in the Raleigh area at the East Durham Children’s Initiative. Their mission is as follows: “Our vision–to help alleviate the impact of poverty in this community and ensure that its children graduate from high school ready for college or a career–guides our work to secure the necessary resources and supports the Zone’s children and youth need to prepare them for academic success and productive futures.” I’m looking forward to meeting with the children and families to help promote their cause.

I encourage everyone to get involved in some way! You can look at a list of opportunities in your area at this website.

Wishing everyone a happy MLK Day of Service!

–Nina

For the first time, in a long time…

Greetings World! I suppose I should start with a quick introduction of the purpose of this blog. The idea behind it is to provide insight as to how my life has been in regards to assimilating the Indian culture with the American one (hence the title). Needless to say, it was difficult for me growing up as a child trying to embrace the best of both worlds. Therefore, with each post I’m aiming to provide a small understanding of my life happenings and how I arrived at where I am today. More importantly, my goal is to establish a connection with my readers in hopes of showing how relevant and important the idea of Cultural Competence is in today’s society.

Now, moving on to a new order of business–this past week was very exciting! I was offered a position as a research assistant and could not be more thrilled to begin my work with an amazing primary investigator and former professor! My journey to becoming a physician has been an emotional roller coaster and finally, for the first time in a long time, everything seems to be falling into place.

To be honest, I have always said I wanted to be a physician, but I wasn’t actually certain until my senior year of college (a story I will save for another time). However, aside from my personal revelation, it would be remiss if I did not mention my older sister (who is also my best friend :). It has been our dream to open our own practice together as future physicians and now that she is in her second year of medical school, our dream is half-way complete! Now, it’s my job to ensure the other half (aka me) makes it!

Which brings me to my next point–addressing the stereotype that all Indians are doctors. When I’m having the conversation of why I chose to go into the medical field, I’m always posed the question, “Why are all Indian people doctors?” This is in fact, false. However, I will admit that there does seem to be a large correlation between Indians and healthcare. To be honest, I’m not sure why. I can only speculate based on my family (it should go without say that in no way are my views representative of the entire Indian population). That being said, my family has always had a profound emphasis on the values of respect and integrity. In our minds, the profession of medicine is one of the most highly respected careers that cannot be achieved without hard work, honesty, and service to others; a career in which you have the ability to save a life.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t other careers in which you can have the same sense of fulfillment, but for me, this truly was my calling. Regardless of my family’s cultural views, I can honestly say that my parents have always encouraged me to follow my dreams. And so, as I embark on a new journey and with the beginning of a new school year, it seems only appropriate to leave you with one of my favorite quotes (you’ll learn that I love quotes):

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” —Henry David Thoreau