Nick’s Adventure: Who, What, Why?

Who? 

Teşekkürler! In many ways, I am Nick Brzezinski. I grew up just outside of Detroit, MI, graduated from Duke University in 2003 (B.A. Eastern Religions, played American football and threw discus, member of Self Knowledge Symposium), and spent the next 14 years moving around the United States, learning how to shake hands with time, and snacking. I’ve worked as an educator, writer, software salesperson and marketer, horse stall mucker, captain of industry (service), and assistant video editor…among other things.

I am currently a Masters Student at the Vermont-based School for International Training (SIT) in the Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management program. Curiosity and creation keep me engaged. I enjoy breathing, daily delights, seeking and asking questions to understand people, ways, places, and Stuff across cultures and crannies. I’m interested in experiential learning, learning design, training, facilitation, the cultivation of connection (self-, other-, community-), catalysts for change, music of all kinds, and comedy…among other things. During the school year I host a community (Brattleboro, VT’s 107.7 WVEW) radio program called “This Machine Breathes Connection,” which explores the lives and perspectives of people from around the world.

What? 

At SIT, I was lucky to befriend Tugba Cansali (my cohort-mate) the founder of Tugba Cansali Learning Designs, innovator, trainer extraordinaire, gamification expert, dreamer, and doer. She is from Turkey (currently based in Istanbul) and created the concept for me to experience Turkey for the first time on a tailor-made learning adventure, connecting with and researching Learning Designs volunteers who would host me in their home cities while I visit local organizations/NGO’s, conduct educational workshops, and get exposure to a unique cultural immersion experience.

I will be blogging/vlogging on the Learning Designs’ Blog page about my adventures  as they happen, and hosting Facebook Live sessions along the way, so connect with me to get updates (or subscribe to updates at the bottom of this page) on the people, places, sights, sounds, and whispers of my journey.

Why? 

Well, for a few reasons:

  1. YOLA – YOur Learning Adventure: to take part in the pilot program in a one-of-a-kind, tailor-made learning experience curated by the stellar Learning Designs staff. They created a nearly month-long itinerary based on my interests in NGO’s, content creation, conducting workshops/trainings, and cultural immersion. This pilot will potentially be used to create future YOLA programs for others interested in experiencing tailor-made, cross-cultural learning adventures based on their personal interests and goals. Stay tuned for more info on the development of YOLA!
  2. Interactive, Expansive Exposure: to stretch my mind, eyes, and perspective by being immersed in a new country that I have always wanted to experience, and to offer a window into my experience across various cities in present-day Turkey, a country which seems to have an uneven reputation in the United States for some, based on my *Very Informal Research Results (*Very Informal Research Results = 99% of the people responding, “Wait, isn’t Turkey really dangerous? Be careful. Are you sure it’s smart to go there?” when I explained what I was doing this summer). I will try to be as honest as possible in sharing what I see, feel, think, learn, and wonder to provide an attempt at authentic expression of my time engaging with people, places, and ways while here. I will also host Facebook Live sessions at some of the cities to connect with people online interested in asking questions, offering suggestions of places to check out or things to try, or interacting with me along the way.
  3. Research: to learn about some of the awesome Learning Designs volunteers throughout Turkey and get a glimpse of how they live by being welcomed graciously into their homes, lives, and the places and ways they enjoy spending time, while also doing some brief video interviews to get to know their stories a little better. I will also be conducting brief research (videos, interviews) into the local NGO’s/youth empowerment/refugee organizations I engage with along the way.

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