Chennai: The South Indian Experience

by tuftsigl
Jul 03

Juan Clar is currently a graduate student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, working towards a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy.

India is not new to me. I had previously lived in New Delhi, the country’s capital in the North, but this time, I headed down South to Chennai. When I arrived in Chennai to start my internship and personal projects, I felt like I was in a different country.  Tamil language and culture were poles apart from the Hindi language and North Indian culture I was used to. Food was spicier and even more vegetarian, something I had previously thought as impossible. In the midst of all these differences, I felt good because I knew that a summer in Chennai would be as unique as a year in Delhi.

I realized I made the right summer plans on the day I began my internship at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai. From day one, I was trained about all of the Consulate’s functions and briefed about my area of expertise, which is the Indian economy. As an intern in the commercial section of the Consulate, I help American companies do business in India, and we try to get Indian companies to invest in the U.S. A significant portion of the business people I have met are social entrepreneurs or players in the green technology sector. All of them have been valuable resources for understanding the market for social and green entrepreneurship in South India.

However, most of my professional interactions are confidential, which means that any research I intend to publish has to come from outside sources. Therefore, in the upcoming months, I am arranging some field work, individual research and other off the record meetings to increase my understanding of social entrepreneurship in South India.

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