A year spent as an Atlas Corps Fellow was full of both professional and academic challenges and opportunities for me. I thought I would dedicate a separate blog post for the purpose of describing them.
First of all, among one of my key challenges was the need to adapt to very fast, vibrant and energetic lifestyle that American working environment contains in itself. A lucky person who got a chance to become an Atlas Corps Fellow has to realize that he/she has to be fully ready both emotionally and physically for this amazing opportunity of serving as an Atlas Corps Fellow abroad. I remember that when I was serving in DC I was always thinking of one line, “With opportunity comes responsibility.”
Sometimes it was extremely hard and exhausting to serve due to a broad range of activities I was involved in. But every time I was facing any issues, Atlas Corps and NCSEJ staff where I served, were always supportive and helped me to address all the minor challenges I had at the initial stages of my service.
Second of all, I had to improve my time management skills which are of critical importance for any person working in DC in any capacity. Hence, it was crucially significant for me to hone effective time management skills. Thanks to Atlas Corps prior training techniques introduced during its several comprehensive training sessions, I was able to improve them and serve with better efficiency and usefulness as an Atlas Corps Fellow at NCSEJ.
And finally, one of the challenges was a cultural adaptation in the US. American people differ from people in every corner of the globe in a variety of ways. Especially, when it comes to working and leizure standards. In this regard, I want to note that Atlas Corps helped me to effectively mitigate my US arrival cultural shock I witnessed during first several weeks of life in the US. Lecture on cultural shock and related topics covered by Professor Weaver during our arrival training week was quite useful for this purpose.
Among opportunities I would like to emphasize my unique chance to serve in the international environment with lots of events taking place all the time. It was incredibly awesome to be able to attend various important events at think tanks, state institutions and NGOs. Networking skills I acquired during Atlas Corps training, especially 5-fact technique, helped me to easily establish useful contacts that helped me in the course of my service as an Atlas Corps Fellow at NCSEJ.
Second related opportunity was my ability to improve my both writing and verbal English skills. In the US, there are slightly different standards compared to Europe. In spite of that, the US plays a dominant role in the world. Hence, by learning American version of English I became more prepared to engage with my American counterparts in further projects in the near future.
Overall, my Atlas Corps fellowship experience brought significant positive shifts in my academic and professional development, understanding of my role in the world, and how the world operates itself. Upon conclusion of this prestigious Fellowship, I feel that I have become more international, more ambitious, flexible and cheerful individual. I feel these transformations of my skills and knowledge are affecting my daily activities back home.