I am so enthusiastic for my first three months as an Atlas Corps fellow. Since I graduated 15 years ago, I started immediately working and for quite a long time, I chose the practical experiences over an academic life and further professional trainings. Last year I thought it was the right time, after many years of accomplishments in my career, to get some more professional challenges, for that is a must in order to move forward and of course, be as innovative as a developing world needs you to be. United States has back in my country a good reputation as a place where work discipline and culture is a reality now. Washington DC, at the other hand, is a well-known place where important organizations headquarters and branches are located, meaning it is a plus when you are the kind of social impact journalist. I wanted to see myself how things are done over here, so I was a priori expecting to see things new to me and very helpful as well. I used to only consume “fuel”, so I wanted to get myself some extra “fuel” (ideas). The second reason, as important as the first one, is that part of the program are excellent leaders from all over the world. And it is because of this that the know-how passes the U.S. borders and there is much more to learn and spread knowledges even fellow to fellow. I wanted to live, work and know personally people from different nationalities. To see how they think, their mindset, mentality, especially in the nonprofits area. Though I am a journalist, I always have had this philosophy in my work, of using media to spread important messages with a social impact.
What I would highlight as an advantage of the program is that you do not only learn from the actual schedule of the program. Meaning, you do not earn experience and ideas only from the host organization, where of course you get to learn a lot. But you learn also from your everyday life as a fellow. You learn to manage your stipend, just like you will manage limited funds in the future. Or you learn how to look out there for the better deals, that fits your situation. There are many new things you see out there, even when you walk to a museum, a park, go for shopping or just take a walk into the woods.
Mine is that kind of work where oftentimes you don’t get any immediate and noticeable milestones. I.e. if you work in a nonprofit for fundraising, you can measure your contribute by simply counting how many dollars you fundraised or helped to fundraise. As a journalist, you have to work every day keeping in mind the fundamental values, especially those with a social impact, contributing for a change in long term. I am learning a lot about technologies in media, which can make my future work in media easier, faster and of course, way more productive. I am also gaining a news skills I can use back home.
I believe that change comes easier from people than politicians. And this learning “skills” to be a better human is the first main step prior to become a better professional and leader. Even events from the personal life as a fellow make you a better leader. I.e., I went to visit to a colleague from Atlas Corps, Mazhun Idris, at his host organization. Their offices were located at WE WORK building. What a beautiful concept, which everyone can take back home. You can learn every day here, in and out of the host organization’s offices.
For years I sacrificed programs like fellowships and PhD and everything related to learning, because where I come from it is mostly needed urgent action, rather than “growing” thoughts doctors. But I am happy to be part of the Atlas Corps program, because I am growing both, personally and professionally. Finally, I took a break from what has been for years my professional life and I am learning how to improve my work in the future. AT LAS(T)!