Five fun facts: Hi I am Huma Imdad. I am an Atlas Corps Fellow, Class 30 from Pakistan. I am serving at Halcyon as a Program Coordinator and I am passionate about quality education and equal opportunities for all. And my fun fact is that I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I carry all the books in my phone and all the movies in my laptop at all times and keep going back to them everytime I feel a little low.

I arrived in Washington, DC USA on May 15th, 2018. I came with a single bag, thinking I will buy what I need, according to the workplace dynamics and it was actually a wise choice that I made. I arrived thinking the US is a comparatively colder country and the humid hot summer-time caught me off guard. My cousin had already reserved a place for me in Georgetown, very close to Halcyon (my HO). But after the orientation, I regretted having booked it because I felt I would have spent a better life amongst my fellow fellows. Anyway, I spent two months and then decided to move back with other fellows. I assumed it would help me with my homesickness and I was pretty much right about that.

I found a room in 1402, which was a Pakistan majority house so it was as if I left Pakistan to come to live in a mini Pakistan. We cooked Pakistani food, had our very happy and crazy movie nights (with and without other fellows) and we went out to places together. I couldn’t have asked for more. Suddenly, each fellow house became either a Pakistan majority, Arab majority or neutral house without anyone realizing it. I just hope this cultural diversity does not become political in the future because we tend to form groups when we see like-minded people and then develop some form of animosity towards one another. And I would like to take this opportunity here to mention that I am a Pakistani by birth but I am your sister, your friend, your well-wisher by default and your country of origin or your native language will never become a reason for me to love you any less. And I expect the same from all other fellows.

Recently, we had the Atlas Corps Gala 2018! and it was an event that I will remember for the rest of my life. I thought it would be all stress and work and we would not be able to enjoy but not only did I actually enjoy being a part of the Gala but the appreciation and representation and the support that I received from our board members and sponsors were overwhelming. The one thing that I truly appreciate about the United States of America is the way the senior most (by rank) members of an organization become so friendly and supportive towards a fellow/volunteer.

I will try to attach some pictures here, they do not do justice to the event but just some memories!

So far, my experience of being an Atlas Corps Fellow has been a life-changing event! I am discovering my strengths, working on my weaknesses and I am truly developing self through this amazing experience.