It has been an incredible year. For me, the most remarkable and significant event in 2014 was my participation in the Atlas Corps Fellowship. Till very last moment, when I was on my way to the Boryspol airport to fly to the US, I couldn’t comprehend the fact that I was chosen for this amazing and prestigious Atlas Corps Fellowship to serve at NCSEJ in Washington DC. And it has almost been a year since that day! I remember clearly the day when I arrived in the Dulles Airport. My Atlas Corps journey began when I was met by a cheerful and polite Atlas Corps Fellow who agreed to meet me at the airport. At that moment, I started to feel special Atlas Corps approach and the sense of our incredible Atlas Corps community. After that, I quickly ran to the hostel to drop my bags so that I could go and not miss the Atlas Corps presentation meeting in the city which turned out to be very interesting. Prior to my arrival, I haven’t slept for a day, was super tired but I made it there and met my fellow fellows from my class and their host organizations supervisors. It all went well and I also was happy to talk in person to such amazing Atlas Corps team members as Meredith, Scott, Nicole, Abby, Kelly and others. I really started to feel like home in DC after that presentation and felt that a lot of awesome things were waiting for me in 2014.
Our orientation week went smooth (especially, I loved that presentation on American culture by Professor Weaver from GWU, if I am not mistaken) and then I moved in my room at 5110 13ST NW. The room was great, location was good, my flatmates were very interesting people. In spite of cultural differences and different background, I quickly became good friends with Paul and Maiween. We had a tradition of cooking together, discussing things and celebrating things. Also, it was great to have Mercedes, non-Atlas Corps Fellow but still very interesting and positive person from Barcelona, Spain. I still keep in touch with all of them.
I would really like to emphasize that Atlas Corps did amazing job by matching me with this fantastic organization called NCSEJ where I served in the course of my Atlas Corps Fellowship. I enjoyed interacting on a daily basis with its staff and became good friends with everyone. They treated me super nice and I can’t even complain about a thing because it was fantastic experience for me. My supervisor Lesley Weiss is the best supervisor one would ever want to have. She was always helpful, professional, positive and nice to me. I never ever had even minor issues during my service at NCSEJ thanks to her supervision and understanding of cultural differences etc.
My boss Mark Levin is the best boss I have ever had. He always was there to help me when I had issues too. My two colleagues, two Annas, Anna Chukhno and Anna Bondareva made my every work day feel great. It was always very interesting, professional and cheerful cooperation on a variety of issues with a positive atmosphere in the office. By the way, work breaks were always filled with humor and positivity. I would also like to note that David Shulman was also an interesting person to work with.
During my fellowship, I had a chance to attend many Congressional hearings, round tables, conferences and work on a broad range of issues related to NCSEJ activities. My dream of visiting many leading think tanks and official institutions came true thanks to my service as an Atlas Corps Fellow at NCSEJ.
My Atlas Corps Fellowship has enriched me both professionally and academically. Spending time by serving as an Atlas Corps Fellow at NCSEJ in DC was like living a dream. I enjoyed every day I spent there and I am grateful to everyone for making my US experience unforgettable.
I miss you all and hope to see you one day again. When I feel sad or want to get an inspiration and raise my mood, I look at my wall in my room back home in Kiev where I put pictures from DC. These are the pictures with Atlas Corps staff, fellow fellows, NCSEJ staff etc.
P.S. Happy New Year 2015 everyone! I wish you all the best in 2015. Let’s make it even better than 2014!