As English Language Fellows from the Europe/Eurasia region met in Budapest, Hungary for their midyear event, Fellow Joey Fordyce (Odesa, Ukraine) led a session that encouraged Fellows to reflect on the first half of their fellowship experiences. The Fellows were asked to reflect on one success, one challenge, and one failure they had experienced since starting their fellowships, while keeping the solutions they came up with and the lessons they learned a secret. Fellows then shared their stories and got feedback on potential solutions and lessons to be learned. The structure led Fellows to share different perspectives on challenging and problematic situations and connect over shared experiences. Each Fellow walked away from the event with a variety of perspectives regarding her or his own critical moments, insights that can now guide the second half of each Fellow’s tenure.
Sometimes it’s easy to focus too much on the challenges and the failures and not see the successes achieved. Focusing on the lessons learned helps Fellows move on and be increasingly ready to take risks and try new things. Removing the fear of failure can allow for some pretty amazing things to happen in the future. It was with that spirit of optimism and sense of opportunity that the Europe/Eurasia Fellows were free to enjoy a great conference, make some wonderful new friends, and enjoy an amazing visit to beautiful Budapest.