Prachi Pal

International alumni ambassador Prachi Pal (MA Development Studies 2019) runs a social impact consultancy in India that helps local NGOs create sustainable change within their communities.

A student standing in front of a building on campus

Prachi's story

Before studying at Sussex, Prachi completed her undergraduate degree in Economics and then worked for over two years at a consulting firm. Currently she runs a social impact consultancy supporting grassroots and remote NGOs in India. Prachi also leads thought leadership and narrative building on family philanthropy at Dasra, a strategic philanthropy organisation in India.

What made you interested in your current field? Was there an event, or realisation, where you were inspired to study the subject?

My interest was sparked by witnessing the inequalities and challenges faced by marginalised communities during an internship with Manthan, an NGO in a small village called Kotri in Rajasthan. Standing in the salt pans and seeing workers toil for meagre wages and interacting with women living in dire conditions in the village, deeply impacted me. This event was a turning point in my life and inspired me to study development studies.

What made you choose Sussex?

Studying at a UK university as an international student was a transformative experience. It offered a multicultural environment that enriched my learning and provided exposure to different perspectives.

Student sitting on a bench in front of cherry trees and a building on campus


By embracing the challenges, I discovered resilience, adaptability, and an unwavering determination to continue pursuing my goals despite the circumstances."

What advice would you give anyone thinking of studying as an international student at a UK university?

Actively engage with the diverse community, make use of the available support services, and embrace the opportunity to broaden your horizons both academically and culturally.

What was your favourite place on campus?

The cherry blossom trees on the lawn outside Bramber House stood out as a source of daily delight in spring, especially amidst the challenges of the pandemic. Their vibrant pink hues and delicate petals brought beauty and tranquillity to the campus, serving as a reminder to appreciate the present moment and find joy in nature's wonders. 

What was your biggest takeaway from studying at Sussex?

The transformative power of participatory action research and bringing my whole self to research. Engaging with communities and involving them in the research process deepened my understanding of development issues and how they are interconnected.

By actively involving communities in decision-making and problem-solving, we ensure that the solutions are contextually relevant, inclusive, and effective. This approach has not only enriched my professional journey but has also reaffirmed my belief in the power of collaborative and inclusive practices in driving positive social change.

A group of people standing in a semi-circle in front of trees and a building

You generously volunteer as an International Alumni Ambassador (IAA) for Sussex. What do you enjoy most about your role?

Being able to connect with students and share my experiences. It gives me a sense of fulfilment to help prospective and current students navigate their academic journeys, address their queries, and provide guidance. Being able to contribute to the development of a supportive and vibrant community at Sussex is highly rewarding.

Day to day, what does the IAA role involve?

The role involves responding to inquiries from students, providing information about Sussex and sharing personal experiences and insights. I also participate in events or webinars and collaborate with the University's alumni network to foster connections and support for international students.

What’s the best advice you’ve had?

Embrace the power of discomfort. As an Indian student studying at Sussex, I was already navigating a new environment, adapting to different cultural norms, and expanding my academic horizons. However, just as I was settling into my studies and enjoying the vibrant community, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, bringing about a whirlwind of challenges and uncertainties.

It was during this time of adversity that I truly understood the value of embracing discomfort. The pandemic forced me to adapt and find new ways to continue my studies, connect with classmates and professors virtually, and navigate the shifting landscape of education.

By embracing the challenges, I discovered resilience, adaptability, and an unwavering determination to continue pursuing my goals despite the circumstances. 

Prachi is among thousands of inspiring alumni on Sussex Connect. Join now to seek mentoring and industry advice and get a head start on your career.

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