5 Key Questions for a Featured Fellow: Mandy Schönfeld
This month, we asked five key questions of our featured Melton Fellow, Mandy Schönfeld, to learn more about her first impressions, key influencers and ideas for our future as Global Citizens. Mandy is currently working on her masters degree in clinical psychology in Dresden.
Tell us about a vivid moment in your Melton Foundation life – a moment when something changed for you, or you felt connected to the “global network”.
One striking experience was my orientation meeting. When I went I had no idea what it would be like and did not really have any expectations. After one week of spending time with the other fellows, having workshops and lots of conversations, I felt like I had made friends, like I had had the chance to share something of my life and culture and learn more about the others and their cultures. It was surprising and great to see how in such a short time we could connect, share and find things in common, though we seemed so different, coming from parts of the world so far away with very different cultures.
How has your career path been influenced by the Melton Foundation?
An important decision for me was to go to Temuco, Chile, to study there for two semesters as an exchange student. Without the experiences in the MF I probably wouldn’t have done this. This was very important for me as I had the chance to learn a new language, get some new perspectives on my subject and of course gain many experiences. Also, I had the chance, with the help of an MF grant, to hold workshops to Chilean students on civic courage.
What do you think is the greatest contribution the Melton Foundation has made to Fellows – specifically you?
I think the great thing about the MF is that it helps you grow and use your potential. The experiences I made in the MF influenced substantially my decision to study abroad. Moreover, thanks to a Campus-to-Campus grant I had the chance to conduct various workshops on civic courage with Marleen Haupt in Chile. Going abroad and working in social projects has always interested me, but the MF empowered me to try and really do it. I feel like seeing the good work and motivation of other fellows inspires me to try new things myself and put ideas into practice.
What contributions can/do Fellows make to the Melton Foundation and the world?
I think Fellows can have an influence on various levels. We get the chance to get to know people from very different countries and cultures. We learn from them and also share something about ourselves. Through this, not only do the fellows learn new things and broaden their horizons, but the people around them are indirectly influenced by that and benefit from this experience. I think these changes in our own personal circles matter and they can spread and make a difference.
What would you like to say to new/prospective Fellows about joining the Melton Foundation and global citizenship?
Joining the MF is a great chance to get new perspectives and to enrich your life. If you want to leave your comfort zone and see a little bit more about what’s out there and how you could contribute in your region and around the world, the MF might be right for you.