Aditya Sharma ‘21GS, a senior majoring in Political Science, shares his experiences in the Dual BA Program, his work with the Columbia Political Review, the transition from Sciences Po's Le Havre campus to Morningside Heights, and more!
December 18, 2020
Originally from New Delhi, India, Aditya Sharma ‘21GS is a senior in the Dual BA Program with Sciences Po, majoring in Political Science with a concentration in English. Here, he shares some of his experiences in the Dual BA Program, his work with the Columbia Political Review, the transition from Sciences Po's Le Havre campus to Morningside Heights, what’s getting him through distance learning, and more!
What's been the most surprising part of your journey in the Dual BA Program so far?:
The weather in New York is way better than I expected...apart from that, I found that Columbia doesn't feel like a huge place. After my small campus in Le Havre, I expected Columbia to be a bit overwhelming—but the wide variety of clubs and social opportunities means that I've never felt alienated by the size of this university.
What's been your favorite class and/or project you've worked on recently?:
James Shapiro's Shakespeare class is fantastic and so thought-provoking—I would definitely recommend it to everyone.
Tell us about your internship with Dr. Shashi Tharoor:
Dr. Tharoor is a former UN under-secretary-general who now serves as an MP (Member of Parliament) in India and is sort of an icon of Indian liberalism (he was, for example, instrumental in the successful movement to repeal a colonial-era law against gay sex). I spent the summer doing a virtual internship with his office, helping to evacuate the huge number of his constituents who were stranded overseas by the pandemic. I am now working for him part-time as a speechwriter and policy researcher—virtually, of course, although fortunately the majority of the work is done online anyway, so it hasn’t been too immense of an obstacle.
You also work for the Columbia Political Review and recently interviewed UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Tell us more about this opportunity:
Speaking with Secretary-General Guterres was a rare honour, and it was very generous of him to take the time to speak to a small college magazine like ours. He had given a speech (virtually) at the Columbia World Leaders Forum earlier that day, focusing on the threat posed by climate change, and it was great to be able to probe his positions on that topic a little further, along with other pressing issues such as tech policy and the international response to Covid-19. Obviously, it would have been exciting to have conducted it in-person, but naturally, that wasn’t possible and I’m glad that we were able to have the interview pretty seamlessly over the phone. The Secretary General’s office and the UN spokesperson helped a great deal in setting it up. The Columbia Political Review publishes some fantastic work, and I was grateful for the opportunity to include Mr. Guterres’ thoughts in its pages.
What's been your virtual learning must-have?:
I feel less than alive without a coffee in the morning, so that's my daily necessity to be able to get any work done.
Best tips for studying in a virtual environment as finals are on the horizon?:
I try to take a daily break by speaking to a friend I haven't seen in a while—it definitely helps keep my mood up.
Tell us a fun fact about you!
I once had my glasses stolen off my face by a monkey—but got them back.