Fellowship Recap with Zsombor Zeöld, our most recent Andrássy National Security Fellow
The Andrássy National Security Fellowship is a Washington DC-based fellowship program aimed at cultivating the next generation of Hungarian strategic thinkers committed to strengthening ties between Hungary and the United States. During their time in Washington, Andrássy Fellows have worked with experts at CEPA, the Center for European Policy Analysis to conduct independent research closely coordinated with analytical programs. Fellows also have the opportunity to showcase their research findings via podcasts, expert roundtable discussions, and written policy briefs. In addition, they participate in outreach to the U.S. policy and expert communities.
During his stay in the US, he focused on the impact of transatlantic trade tensions and the possibility of US economic investment directed towards the CEE region in the fields of energy and telecommunications.
Zsombor, tell us a little about your US experience in Washington DC. How did you like the Andrássy Fellowship Program, and what did you learn about America, and the people here in the US?
The Fellowship Program has been one of my best professional experiences, providing me a great opportunity to conduct comprehensive research, and also to publish on various topics. Besides the professional aspect, the Andrássy Fellowship also gave the opportunity to dwell into American culture and politics. I have met and started to discover a culture that is very much result-oriented.
What impact did the pandemic have on your experience, and how did you adapt?
I have concluded most of my networking and research when the pandemic started in the U.S., and that left me with long weeks of staying home. The situation deprived me of continuing personal meetings but affected my non-professional life more. I had to stop meeting the people I have come to know in the previous months. Online conversations and other computer-related activities helped in mitigating this situation.
How did your perspective change professionally and personally after spending the time here?
The common American result- and goal-oriented approach definitely has its benefits when you want to articulate even more complex problems. However, details that lie below the threshold of interest in the States also matter a lot. Conducting research needs to reflect on both of these aspects, and the researcher needs to be constantly aware of the reader and their perspective.
How did this program help you further your career and move closer to your personal goals in life?
Starting writing and publishing for a wider audience definitely helped me in shifting towards another line of work. I would like to continue this and aim at looking for writing/publishing opportunities.
What piece of advice would you give to future candidates?
“Arrive in the States with a detailed research plan in mind—stick to it, but be ready to refine it in the meantime.”
Zsombor also shared a few pictures that give us a glance into his fellowship experience in and around Washington D.C.