So what is the WATSON FELLOWSHIP? How did I land a gig that is allowing me to travel the world for twelve months exploring my passion and basically on my own agenda?
Here is the deal: The Watson is a $30,000 grant for a year of "purposeful, independent study outside of the United States, awarded to graduating senior nominated by one of 40 partner colleges". The fellow (me) decides where to go, who to meet, and when my journey changes. We do not affiliate with academic institutions nor hold any formal employment. Fellows are not isolated to any particular field. While I am doing a more public health/ medical anthropology project, others are looking into climate change, robots, geek culture, childbirth experiences, and SO MUCH more. Some people proposed going to seven countries while other proposed four. The application asked us to think about our passions and how and where we would explore them. It is pretty powerful exercise honestly: If you had 12 months, $30,000, what would you do? Where would you go?
So I basically, applied to my school (S.O. Pitzer College) and they selected me to be one of their three nominees, then an interview later and months of torturous waiting, I got an email on Spring Break saying I was a Watson Fellow (I'll reflect on this equally exciting and terrifying moment later).
So what is the catch? Honestly, still figuring this one out. Because a year abroad studying my passion *reproductive and sexual health* sounds pretty amazing (yes scary, but hey Beyonce says that fear feels a lot like success...so I must be doing something right. Right?!?) However, there are some rules.
- Attend the pre-departure webinar (done)
- Depart by August 1 of the awarded year (check ~Heading out July 26~)
- Remain outside of the United States for 1 year (you got it dude!)
- Remain outside countries that are on the State Department Warning, Treasury Embargo, or designated CDC Level 3 (can do)
- Submit quarterly reports and end of year expense report (will do)
- Attend the returning fellows conference next August (Um and meet all these rad people?!?....DOWN)
Ok, so this all sounds pretty legit right? The part that invokes the most fear is probably staying out of the country a full year and not seeing my nieces and nephews during that time. But LOOK AT ALL THE COOL PLACES I CAN GO ~WILL GO~.