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Mayura Ludhani Jaisinghani

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I chose to attend Northeastern University because I was attracted by the many opportunities it offers to students. This includes the co-op program, and study abroad of all kinds. Thanks to them, I’ve been able to travel to new countries and explore new areas of interest apart from my main field of study. In the summer of 2016, I went to South Africa through Northeastern for a Global Social Entrepreneurship program after which I decided to minor on it. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to attend another Dialogue of Civilizations in Cuba for a Photography course this Summer. Although I knew I liked taking photos, I didn’t realize I had the talent; and while in the country, I developed new photographic ideas and broadened my subjects. I strongly believe that these experiences will open many doors for me in the future.

I decided to do the Dialogue of Civilizations “Cuba y la Fotografía” because of my interest in photography. Since freshman year, I’ve been wanting to minor on it, and since I had the chance to take some courses abroad to fulfill the requirements, I finally decided that I would. Specifically, I was driven by the fact that the program took place in Cuba because it is a country with a rich history and culture.

In the four weeks of the program, we were working towards creating a final project including ten images of a specific subject of interest that we were attracted by in Cuba. Meanwhile, we were also receiving history, music and culture classes taught by Cuban professors. This was very helpful because based on what we learned, we were more immersed in the culture and influenced by it. This made it easier to determine which area of photography we wanted to focus on.

Since the moment I stepped foot in Cuba, I was obsessed with the people. Instead of regular portraits, I focused on candid photography, where I could show a connection, as well as capture people in their natural environment because those things speak even more about a person. I’ve seen a lot of poverty in my life, but I have never seen people be immensely happy about the little things in life–that is the biggest difference and what strikes me the most. Cubans appreciate all and take nothing for granted, in order to live happily; they know how to live with poverty. Although these photos show people who I didn’t connect with the most, I sense their emotions through expressions and interactions, which is very fulfilling. I strongly believe that people are the main (if not the only) essence of a country. Hope I can transmit this through these photography project during my time in Cuba.

Finally, the entire experience in Cuba was unbelievably amazing—from not being able to use the internet, to riding the famous Cuban 50’s classic cars! It is a whole new world in Cuba, the streets, the dance, the landscapes, and of course, the people! I learned so much during this trip—to perceive things positively, to appreciate the minimum, to cherish the good moments and to treasure the memories. But more importantly, I’ve grown immensely as a person. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope there is more to come!

After graduation, I want to attend law school. I am not yet sure what area I want to specialize in, but I know I want to fight for people’s rights and well-being. Additionally, in the future I hope to create my own non-profit organization that will provide services for those in most need. However, I do not want to limit myself; that’s why I would like to take advantage of as many possibilities as I can by developing necessary and creative skills.

Published On: June 27, 2017