Besides the achievement and excitement that comes with being an Atlas corps fellow, there is the reality of a drastic life change associated with the experience. No amount of preparation prepares you for the life ahead in a new country for the next 12 months. From an estimated 2 -3 week long jet-lag recovery period, weather change, cultural shock, change in eating habits, the list goes on, you see the Atlas Corps motto ‘Change your Perspective, Change the World’ literally at play in your life everyday.

As a proactive organization, Atlas Corps has a network of volunteers who serve as Local Ambassadors to support the fellows adjust to the new city and life in the U.S. Atlas Corps matches each of the incoming Atlas Corps Fellows with one or two “Local Ambassadors” who are from the city where the Fellow will be serving.

I was very fortunate to be paired with the best hands-on local ambassador, Jennifer Bryson. She loves soccer, bike riding and is involved in her church community. She has been of immerse help and support helping me adapt to my new environment and also have some fun. From comforter set, towels, warm clothings to live stadium matches, fully sponsored bike lessons, regular check-ins and updates and also career development opportunities, she does it all. She is my Gift. Thank you Atlas Corps for the gift of a local ambassador.

 

 

Below is a short vote of thanks I composed to appreciate her, my gratitude cannot be contained in a post.

Vote of thanks

My belovedĀ Jennifer Bryson,

Thank you for being a great local ambassador. With you I have experienced such great kindness and hospitality that is rare to find. You made my transition into the new world as an Atlas Corps fellow easy. I still do not understand how you do it, you always seem to know what I need before I realise it myself and you always makes it a point of duty to come with a bag of necessities for me every single time we meet.

You encouraged me to learn how to ride the bike and with your encouragement, support and presence I found strenght to beat the fear and I learnt how to ride in less than 2 hours. You help me acquire new experiences that evolve into memories I would cherish for life. You are a rare gem, irreplaccable and a blessing to Atlas Corps fellows like myself. Thank you for being my support system here in the U.S. You are the ‘bestest’ and I celebrate you.

Much love,

Ekene Olatunji