As a way to promote the incredible work our Host Organizations are doing and to spread the word of the substantial impact Atlas Corps Fellows have on their teams, we are sharing a short feature on The Buffet Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University and their experience with Atlas Corps, and their Fellow, Ha Nguyen from Vietnam!

Host Organization: The Buffet Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University

The Buffett Institute at Northwestern University addresses critical global issues through collaborative research, public dialogue, and engaged scholarship. Buffett’s study abroad program, GESI, strives to balance student learning outcomes with positive outcomes for community members at the international sites that host our undergraduates.


Fellow: Ha Nguyen (Vietnam, Class 30)

At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our “Five Facts” when introducing ourselves to new people. What are your five facts?

Name: Ha Nguyen
Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam (the fact is I wasn’t born in Hanoi but have spent a large part of my life there and feel as much connected to it as my birth city which is Phu Tho)
Role at Organization: Atlas Corps Fellow
Social Issue/Interest Area: Education, especially higher education equity and internationalization, Global Diversity, Poverty and Environmental Sustainability
Fun fact: Just like many other people in Vietnam, I can eat chicken feet and balut (a  developing bird embryo, usually a duck). Let me know if you are interested in trying these, I know where to find them in Chicago

 

How has your experience with your Host-Organization impacted your perspective? What has the organization taught you?

Being with Buffett and working under its global engagement team has taught me that everyone is part of a community bigger than themselves. To build a stronger community, it requires an equal contribution from both sides – the community and its own participants. On the community’s end, it needs to make sure that everyone’s voice is appropriately heard and every voice matters. On the participants’ end, the first things to do are listen and learn what the real needs of their community are, and then together work for solutions. Through these first four months of my fellowship, Buffett has truly been one of the greatest communities that I feel so grateful and proud to be part of.

How has your experience with your supervisor impacted your perspective? What has your supervisor taught you?
Having the opportunity to work under Meghan’s supervision has been one of the best highlights of my fellowship by far. She is a role model of a great leader, a good listener, communicator, and a true critical thinker to me. Thanks to her encouragement and guidance, I have learned to believe in myself and found so many creative ways to make my work better every day.

How will you build upon the skills and knowledge gained during your Fellowship once you return to your home country? How will your experience in the United States help you pursue your goals in the future?

Thanks to all the work I have done at Buffett and all the people I have met here, I have learned so much more about internationalization in higher education in general and global service learning in particular. The knowledge I have learned and the network I have built here; I have no doubt, will help me advance my career in international education after coming back to Vietnam. My long-term goal is to build a stronger community of international educators in Vietnam and together we will be able to change the brand name of the country on the international education map.


Fellow Supervisor: Meghan Ozaroski 

At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our “Five Facts” when introducing ourselves to new people. What are your five facts?

 

Name: Meghan Ozaroski
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois by way of Roseville, Minnesota
Role at Organization: Assistant Director of the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI)
Social Issue/Interest Area: Partnership-driven and community-engaged international education
Fun fact: I love winter. This makes me a great Atlas Corps Host because I can show the Fellows that there is a lot to look forward to during Chicago’s snowy months. Don’t worry, Hà—we’ll help you get through the cold!

 

How has your Fellow contributed to your team? How has her presence had an impact on your team’s dynamic?
Questions for Supervisor: Meghan Ozaroski

I can’t emphasize enough how much having an Atlas Corps Fellow on our team has changed the way we do our work. Both Hà and her predecessor (the wonderful Cate Miano, from Nairobi, Kenya) have been incredible partners and co-designers of a new approach to global engagement and service-learning. They have helped us to better understand how Fair Trade Learning can be lived out in community-driven education opportunities abroad.

How will your Fellow’s contributions and insights impact your organization in the long run?

At the office, Hà is poised to make dynamic contributions to the ways that we help prepare US-based students for their study abroad experiences, the ways those students engage in participatory and community-driven work while abroad, and how they critically reflect on their time abroad and build that into their plan for a lifetime of global engagement. She has also provided invaluable input into the ways that we can better collaborate with our international partners in order to foster equity and mutual learning across borders in our shared work.

 What has your Fellow taught you? Have you learned anything special about their culture?

Meghan: Outside of the office, it has been amazing to see the enduring connections Hà has made with students who are alums of the programs offered by Student Exchange Vietnam. One of the goals of study abroad is to build lasting relationships between people from different parts of the world—it seems like every week Hà is meeting up with a past student who is eager to reconnect with her and continue the learning they started in Vietnam. Hà is living proof that international exchange can lead to long-term outcomes for student participants, from the US or anywhere around the world.

More about Atlas Corps:
Atlas Corps partners with mission-driven organizations (nonprofit, private, and government) to facilitate a professional exchange program for the world’s best emerging social change leaders to live and serve in the United States for a 12-month Fellowship. The Atlas Corps network currently includes more than 600 professionals from 89 countries who have served at 220 organizations.

Interested in becoming a Host Organization for an Atlas Corps Fellow? Contact Brittany Gropp at brittany@atlascorps.org.