It has been four months and a few days since I landed in IAD Airport after almost 3 days of travel. Exhaustion was not enough to curb my excitement though! I knew my life was about to change, and I am heading towards a lot of challenges and adventures..
I’m almost 100% sure you felt the same.
The first couple of weeks are extremely intense.. Too many events both social and professional as part of the orientation. I remember feeling extremely tired and overwhelmed at times, still jet-lagged, and wondering if life in the US is always going to be this “hectic”!
What I didn’t know then, and know very well now, is that those two weeks were the ideal start of my journey here. What you learn in the orientation will come in handy almost every day as you work and live in the US! The time you spend with your class and other fellows is priceless! By the time the two weeks are over, you will have a big (really big) family and more friendships than you would have asked for. They will cheer for your success and achievements as you make your way serving in your host organization.. But they will also keep you strong and motivated even when you are not at your best..
With that in mind.. Make the best of the time you spend with your fellow fellows in the coming weeks.. Share experiences and ideas.. Share dreams you hope to make true.. But don’t keep yourself in closed circles!!
As you move along, connect to the non-Atlas Corps; needless to say, much bigger world around you.. Engage with colleagues in your host organization, your neighbors, people you meet in professional events! Get out of your comfort zone (that these couple of weeks will definitely create), and find yourself a much wider one.. And keep expanding it..
I had a hard time doing so myself (still do most of the time) and it is easier for some people than others.. But keep trying!
The richness of this experience is not only what you learn from working with an American NGO.. Not only living in the US.. Not only going to museums and parks.. It’s mostly the people you meet.. The people you connect with! The richness of this experience is the diversity of everything and everyone and how much you can embrace from that diversity and take with you wherever you go!
Have a great journey.. And welcome to the family 🙂