I am writing probably one of the toughest messages of my short nine year professional career. By the time you are reading this, I have probably re-written it a few dozen times over the span of a month. As many of you have come to learn, I will be leaving the EducationUSA network. It is with great sadness that I received this news, and it is hard to imagine matching such an amazing group of people that encourage, inspire, and empower everyone around them on a daily basis. The past four and a half years, hands down, have been filled with the greatest experiences of my life. I am not a man of many words, but this message warrants many words.
I have always known how lucky I am to establish such an accomplished career at a young age. When I joined the network, the interns in the office were older than me with more degrees. Things like that made me understand the benefits of hard work, and pushed me to continue with my tireless work ethic. As I began to work more and more with the program officers, REACs and advisers, and I saw the dedication you put into your job, I felt it was my obligation to support you to the best of my ability. In doing so, it would allow you to continue and advance your amazing work.
As some of you might know, even though I live in the states, I was originally born in South Korea, and was adopted by an amazing family in Baltimore, MD. I mention this for a few reasons. The first is that this job, to me, turned into a way for me to support a cause that gives other young people the chance to come to a country where I am proud to be a citizen. Even though all I know in my life has been based in the states, I fully know how much my adoption was a life altering experience. For many of the students you help, your help will also lend to a life altering experience for them.
The second reason I mention my birthplace has to do with this next thank you. Like many students in the U.S., I was not much of an international traveler. This job gave me the opportunity to visit places I never imagined ever visiting. The most vivid being Seoul, Korea. I never imagined I would ever see (and remember) the country in which I was born. Leading up to the trip, I was focused on how COOL it would be. Looking back on it now, I think of it as a gift. I saw visiting Korea as something that I would have loved to do, but would never have the opportunity. The other countries I was able to visit, like Doha, Qatar and Costa Rica, also gave me the gift of friendship.
I not only feel like I have acquired many friends, but I feel as though the network has become a sort of family. It is a caring family that stretches around the world so that no matter where my travels take me, I will know someone nearby. Although I may not have had the benefit of working with some of you in person, I feel like we always seemed to connect online in this digital age.
For those lucky enough to visit the United States for conferences or Forum, or regional trainings I was able to attend, your kind words served as encouragement that I was accomplishing what I set out to do on a daily basis. Whenever I was able to meet members of the network, I looked at it as a welcome opportunity to get to know the people I communicated with over emails and messages. I must admit, as much work as was involved, I looked forward to NAFSA and the Forum. Every year I appreciated the small amount of time I was able to spend with everyone in person.
I encourage anyone interested to follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Brandor) or Linkedin(http:// www.linkedin.com/in/newrevmedia/) and my sporadic postings on my website(http://newrevmedia.tv). Also, my personal email address is Brandon@newrevmedia.tv.
In closing, I just want to reiterate how much this job has meant to me, and the lasting impression it has had on my work and on me as a person. You all do amazing work, and I look forward to what this network is capable of in the future. As a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, I am accustomed to closing a letter with, “In Leadership, Friendship, and Service.” I think it is an appropriate sendoff, and wish you all the best.
In Leadership, Friendship, and Service,