Alumni Spotlight: Sven van Mourik

Sven van Mourik, 10th June to the 5th August. He's from Geulle, The Netherlands, and is now attending the American University of Paris, France. He was 18 when he worked for LUM, but just turned 19, and he is double majoring in International and Comparative Politics and History. He likes reading, writing, debating and is quite fond of skiing.

Smiling children in India

Why did you decide to volunteer with Leave UR Mark in India?

Sven: I decided to volunteer abroad with Leave UR Mark because I'd been to India before (up north, in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jaiselmer etc), and the country really appealed to me (in fact, I still think it might be one of the most beautiful countries in the world). Of course, there was also the work experience I'd gain, and the experience of actually living (rather than traveling) abroad.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Sven: My day-to-day activities were very varied, which is part of the reason I liked my internship so much. My job consisted of traveling to many places in Bangalore, and reporting on many different projects (from micro-finance institutions, to IT agencies, to small-scale volunteer work at the YMCA). I'd follow around LUM's volunteers, write on their experience and take photos, after which I'd take a day or two to refine the articles and edit/tweak the photos.

traditional Indian ceremony

What made this experience unique and special?

Sven: I got to visit so many different places, and inspect so many different sections of Bangalor: I believe this internship gave me a very solid, pluralist view of the many different projects, in all social strata, that are going on there right now.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Sven: Personally, the project made me realize that I never want to stop traveling, or meeting new people. There is something profoundly life-changing about throwing your thoughts into another language (for me English) and committing to living with a set of people you've never seen before. Professionally, the job made me realize that I don't actually want to make a career out of writing/photography, but rather focus on politics, and the political way to enhance the projects I've seen.