My first blog will start by echoing Maya Angelou’s quote “it is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” It is the most essential skill for young people in this globally oriented world where diverse opinions and solutions will help in resolving complex challenges. And this is precisely what Atlas Corps offers you. A platform to interact with sixty young social development leaders from across the world all at once.
All of a sudden I know my co-fellow from Bolivia shares the same social issue as mine – empowering rural communities and my South Korean housemate’s fun fact is that her name cannot be pronounced correctly at first go.
All of a sudden you want to visit the world and you know it won’t cost you much because there is a friend in every country to welcome you. This feeling comes from the country presentations done by each fellow. You feel overwhelmed and are left craving to travel the world.
All of a sudden you are entangled between Blue, Green, Yellow, Silver, Orange metro lines, and stations with names which can blow your pronunciation away. For example Léfant Plaza metro station is pronounced as ‘LAAFAAN’ metro station (American) and LAWFAWN (French). Not EL-EYNFAANT!
All of a sudden you find yourself calculating A=Street 1, B=Street 2 ……m=? Calculate it on your own. Good practice because this is how streets are coded here.
All of a sudden you will be left wondering where Street J is and you shall be wandering because there is no street J in DC. So it’s Street A B C D E F G H I No J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z.
All of a sudden you are an Atlas Corps fellow and everyone inspires you to be yourself, to be proud of yourself, your country, and fall in love with other countries.
In the end, it’s not always fun. There cannot be ups in a roller coaster ride if there are no downs. For me and I am sure for all my co-fellows it’s a journey towards transformation. Not into better human beings, because we already are that. But into strengthened individuals who are ready to work together to serve the diverse issues and challenges.