To begin with, this celebration started with the very first step forward to experiencing my first trip to the U.S., moulding my chain of thoughts, combining and collecting my knowledge of experiences to be prepared for the plethora of firsts ahead of me. Only to realise that it will be a fascinating mission to serve in a foreign country. I define it as instilled by the core training principles of Atlas Corps that you are here to ‘serve’ for positive development, to do the best of your ability to give your best and take back the better with you.

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The year 2014 started with so many firsts. Ever since the selection from India for the Atlas Corps Class 14 Fellowship or my arrival in the United States of America – it has been an unstoppable journey of many firsts. My first ice-skating experience and the first fall in the ice-skating rink were thrilling. From experiencing my first falling snow, making a snow family in the extreme winter to springing forward with daylight saving of time and preparing to fall forward in anew.

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The first month had been full of initial explorations and learning about American culture, communication, as what Dr. Gary Weaver told us fellows during the first orientation week of Class 14’s arrival in DC.  As I see it, cultures cannot be understood when locked inside the vicinity of different rooms they are better understood when experienced outside of those rooms”.  The first week gave me different levels of experiencing many firsts. So, that was my first composed cultural shock!

As clichéd as it may sound there is a saying from my country that – you can take an out Indian out of India but you can never take India out of an Indian, as colourful, diverse and awesome it appears to be, serving at one of the best international non-profits is the most amazing experience I can look for coming from the field of social development. This experience, reinforces confidence, sense of freedom and identity, anticipation of getting to know leaders from across the world and the heightened pleasure of contributing to such a big year ahead of me. It is one of those many firsts that gives my conscience a boost to grow more as a global development leader.

Coming from a background of social movements, In an activist terminology, it has been an empowering journey till now!

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