Receiving a Fulbright Scholar Award has given Associate Professor of Marketing Rakesh Niraj the opportunity to immerse himself in teaching and research in a new place outside of the U.S. In August, Niraj began his 10-month fellowship in Mauritius, a country located in East Africa.
The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program
offers awards in more than 135 countries for U.S. citizens to teach, conduct research and carry out professional projects around the world. Scholars are able to choose which country they would like to travel to as part of the program.
“It is an incredible opportunity to be somewhere that you generally would not be,” Niraj said.
Niraj decided on Mauritius because it was a country he had been curious about since childhood.
“Hundreds of thousands of people from my region in India were taken to Mauritius as indentured laborers to work in sugarcane plantations from the 1830s to 1940s,” he said. “Due to a large number of people of Indian origin, cultural, commercial and diplomatic relations between the two countries exist.”
A particular interest of Niraj’s is learning about the country’s education system.
At the Weatherhead School of Management, Niraj has been instrumental in developing and helping to run the Master of Business Analytics and Intelligence program
. While in Mauritius, Niraj is working alongside University of Technology, Mauritius (UTM) faculty members to develop a similar program and conduct research related to the program. He is also teaching quantitative marketing courses to UTM students.
In addition to teaching, research and program development with UTM, Niraj is excited to understand the people and culture of Mauritius.
“It is a multi-ethnic country and people here are among the most polyglot in the world,” he said. “People commonly speak three to four languages here: French, English, Creole and Hindi. I am looking forward to formally learning some Creole to be able to converse with the local population before I leave here.”