My process to become an Atlas Corps Fellow was long, not as long as it was for other fellows, but it took more than a year. I remember when in January 2015 received the notification that the host organization for which I had waited more than 6 months, finally had the funds to cover my position as a fellow, and I would be based in Chicago. I remember being excited by the organization, by their violence prevention model, and because it was the perfect niche not only to learn their health approach to violence, but to offer my experience and knowledge on citizen security and violence prevention in Latin America.
Everything was ready. I had my visa, my plane ticket and some appointments after my arrival to explore housing options. However, 10 days before my trip things changed. The host organization couldn’t longer secure the funds for my fellowship, and getting them would probably take a long time and I possibly should wait another 4 months. Given this scenario, Atlas Corps gave me the chance to explore other options, I applied my resilience and flexibility skills, and decided to embrace the challenge rather than give up.
I had 3 interviews with host organizations in Atlanta and Washington DC, all of them were very interesting, my role sounded inspiring, but one was pending, my interview with Internews. I remember having problems with my schedule and with technology, but at the end the interview was possible. My conversation with my potential supervisor lasted over an hour, she made an introduction about Internews work and presence in the world, its programs in Latin America, its approach to technology and digital security, and the good energy flowed, we instantly clicked. Although I didn’t have any experience in digital security, I do know the complexity of the region very well, and I am always ready to learn, so I embarked on the challenge to come to Internews as their first fellow in Washington DC.
From the first day, my experience with Internews has been incredible. It’s an organization that has allowed me to expand my professional horizons and learn every single day. During the past few months, there hasn’t been a single day in which I haven’t learned something new, even if it is small. At the beginning, I was very confused between terms and programs, about my role, and was afraid not to contribute to my team, but over time things were improving. I learned how to write concept notes and understood the proposal writing process, thanks to an excellent mentor. I could offer my knowledge of the region, provide connections with other organizations and provide greater support to programs.
Internews has been extremely supportive with me, has gave me the opportunity to demonstrate my knowledge and experience, and has allowed me to prove myself professionally. I’ve found collegues, mentors, trainers and friends, and everyday I come to work feeling grateful for this challenge, so now that my fellowship is close to the end I can’t avoid to feel some nostalgia.
They say everything happens for a reason, and although the change of host organization was hard to assimilate at first, today I can not be happier to have had the pleasure to serve with Internews, focused on Latin America, my home region. Today, I’m grateful because things didn’t go as planned, and that unexpected change has been quite an adventure. Thank you Atlas Corps and huge thanks to Internews!