A Photographer’s Reflection on the BRIC Program
By Marzan Khan: Hello! My name is Marzan Khan, a junior at Babson. Last semester I studied abroad in Babson flagship study abroad program, BRIC. I had the opportunity to travel to Russia, China, and India with fellow Babson students and faculty in order to learn about the opportunities for entrepreneurship within these emerging markets. While I have learned so much about the political, social, and economic vibrancies of each nation, I have also developed a personal understanding of Islam within these three.
I was initially able to pursue this side project with a federal grant by the Benjamin Gilman Scholarship (check it out!), which allows study abroad students to pursue a project while abroad that can affect their community back in USA. For my proposal, I wanted to capture the presence of Islam in Russia, China, and India through photography.
Taking pictures has become a way for me to illustrate an emotion that I feel. During BRIC, photography meant going out of my comfort zone to take pictures in all weird angles and be prepared to talk to curious locals. The stories behind each photo are just as important as the photos themselves. Most of my pictures show a perspective on religion and culture. I never knew too much about Islam outside of my own Bengali community, thus BRIC gave me the opportunity to explore how differently Islam can be practiced outside of my normal community. For most of my pictures I went to Muslim communities that are known within the city I was in. I usually held my camera at all times and took pictures of whatever I thought would come out nice. When I saw an opportunity for an impactful photo, I would ask the person to stop as I could introduce myself and explain my motives. This in fact created genuine conversations and most importantly, a story behind every photo.
Marzan Khan, Class of 2014 at Babson College