Bonderman Travel Fellowship

Nicolle Thompson

Nicolle Thompson 2011

International Studies; South Asian Language with College Honors


2011 Fellows

Hometown: Snohomish, WA

Travel Locations: South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Turkey, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Fiji, Vanuatu, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam

Thompson will spend time exploring different ways people understand their identity in relation to physical location. The people she hopes to meet face environmental and political situations that have – or will – require them to leave their homelands. She is excited to engage people in conversation about art, culture and tradition to better understand the historical context and possible futures of these regions as well as her own personal identity as a traveler.

Alumni Reflections

What is a favorite memory from your Bonderman?

“I learned to drive stick in Namibia and I still think about those weeks all the time! I got to practice stopping for zebras without killing the engine, I changed my own flat tire, and I laughed very hard with the friends, teachers, and strangers I met while learning. I’m a huge fan of public transportation and I relied on busses, trains, and shared taxis almost everywhere I went but something about having full control over my movement and learning a new (slightly scary) skill was empowering and, for me, it fueled a wonderful sense of openness and excitement to explore.”

What are you doing now?

“I’m a journalist now! I cover foreign affairs for a podcast called Things That Go Boom, I work on public health stories, and I edit podcasts for a travel magazine called AFAR. I’m inspired by the Bonderman connections that have lasted over the years. I’ve been able to play a small part in helping a few people I met come to the US for different reasons and I’m inspired by how willing people are to help each other.”