Naina Miranda, a biomedical engineering major and Global Access Ambassador, participated in the India Winterim Program in winter 23-24.
Friday, March 29, 2024
Naina Miranda

This trip to India was not my first, nor will it be my last, but it had been 10 years since I last visited. I grew up spending my summers with my grandparents in Mumbai. One of the reasons I stopped visiting was to not take a risk with my treatment and medication after being diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of 12. Visiting my family and friends in India was a big way I stayed in touch with my culture as I did not grow up around other Indian kids where my immediate family lived in Denver, Colorado. Not only was the India Winterim Program the perfect opportunity for me to reconnect with those experiences I had as a child, but it also enabled me to see India in a way that I truly never would have on my own. I was nervous about traveling abroad and managing my diabetes, but I knew that I was well equipped to take care of myself.

Going back to India honestly felt very comforting. The longer I was there, the more my ability to speak Hindi came back. Though I have been to India before, we were afforded the opportunity to travel to cities and regions that I had not yet visited. We covered the “Golden Triangle,” the cities of New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. We learned an incredible amount of history at the more than 20 places we were able to visit. These stories and this culture are not taught in the United States like other histories of the world, but it is best learned when you can see and feel it around you. For me, this led to a lot of self-reflection about my identity and what being Indian means to me having not grown up in India.

In this specific program I was given insight into the fantastic work of the S. M. Sehgal Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that empowers rural India. They embody values that I hope I can carry over into my own future career. I will never forget the hospitality of those in the communities we went to conduct fieldwork in and will remember to think of their kindness when I am welcoming someone new. I spent Christmas driving through the streets of Jaipur in a Mahindra vehicle, visiting City Palace, astronomical park Jantar Mantar, and eating samosa chaat for lunch. As the sun set over the city, we watched from high up at Amber Fort. We learned to celebrate the holidays with our experiences and adventures.


The Global Access Ambassador Scholarship program provides awards to study abroad for a summer, semester, or academic year. The scholarships are intended to support students who study abroad with the intent to serve as Global Access Ambassadors upon return to the UI campus. Upon completion of the study abroad program and return to UI, award recipients are asked to submit a photo and an open letter to prospective students or suggest an alternate means of sharing with prospective students.

Please note that the opinions and views expressed by ambassadors are solely those of the students and do not reflect or represent the views of International Programs or the University of Iowa.


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.