I started the Atlas Corps Fellowship in May 2016 without a clear understanding of what I would like to do next. At that time, I just completed an internship at the Cato Institute and was happy to start a new journey with the Atlas Corps and my Host organization – National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry. I have a Master degree in International Relations, and, surprisingly, it became my first working experience in the sphere of my specialization.

The organization I served at, does a great job supporting and advocating for the Jewish communities in post-Soviet states and in Eastern Europe in general as well as strengthening their ties to the great State of Israel. I worked closely with my supervisor and my colleagues, helping them with reports from the region, research on the current developments in these countries and translation. I had a very valuable experience of living in six of the countries of the region and speaking and understanding the local languages.

I learned a lot about specifics of the problems the Jewish communities, including anti-Semitism, the Holocaust remembrance, restitution issues and all the complexity of relations with the national governments. I enjoyed attending hearings, discussions, and conferences and got acquainted with many interesting, smart and influential people. Thus, I see my future plans as a combination of my experiences with NCSEJ and the Cato.

In general, I would like to be a high-level expert on Foreign Policy and continue to be involved in promoting independent Russian media. I dream of the day I will be able to be proud of becoming a Russian diplomat. Unfortunately, under the current political situation, I see no moral ground in such a job. That’s why I decided to invest knowledge and research experience in myself. Once becoming a well-known and valuable expert I can count on a diplomatic position in a future free and democratic Russia, a proud member of the great European family of nations.

During the last half a year, I applied for a few fellowships, traineeships and jobs, mostly in Europe and in European organizations. Honestly, I do really miss Europe, especially Central Europe – the Medieval streets and castles of the Czech Republic, great people and spirit of Poland, beautiful mountains of Slovakia, amazing Budapest, and vineyards of Hungary. And, of course, their low prices! My journey continues.

Now, I have outlined my plan. I am going to spend the rest of the year and the beginning of the next one on a traineeship at one of the European institutions and prepare for applying for Ph.D.  There is no doubt that the Atlas Corps Fellowship’s line in my CV will be a huge competitive advantage in addition to education and experience in media. I hope one day I can come back to Washington, DC because that is the best place in the world for pursuing a career in International Relations.

This year was full of new challenges and solutions. I became more organized – paid much more attention to my wellness and finances, became more demanding of myself and others, learned to respect other’s time and interests and avoid getting into controversial situations. These lessons are for the whole life and – I am sure – will enhance my performance in professional, personal and social life. Thanks to the Atlas Corps Fellowship and my Host organization.

The Fellowship has introduced to the world of a high-quality foreign policy analysis in Washington, DC and has given me a chance to know more about the decision-making process in the United States and democratic institutions in work. During this Fellowship, I made a few interviews with political scientists, journalists, and policymakers, trying to understand all the complexity of the American political discourse and trying to enhance their knowledge about my country.

I am happy to come home to Russia to my family and friends. I will definitely recommend the Atlas Corps Fellowship to the new generation of young future world social change leaders. I would be happy to know that more Russian Fellows get such an important opportunity that will change their lives and the lives of many others to better!