During Common Hour on Thursday, September 7, I attended a Peace Corps information session. Going in, I had only a basic understand of what the Peace Corps was: an opportunity to work in a foreign country for about two years after college. Travel has always been an interest of mine; I spent 5 weeks in Spain this past summer with Davidson’s Cádiz program, and definitely want to study abroad for a semester as well. So naturally I was curious about Peace Corps and excited to attend the info session and learn more.
Deborah Buckley, a warm recruiter who previously served in Romania, started off the session with two YouTube videos from their website. These 2-minute programs revealed past Peace Corps participants trying (and struggling) to identify common objects from around the world. It was fascinating to witness their guesses, and notice how their opinions might be influenced by the area in which they served. These entertaining videos helped break-the-ice and exemplified how working with Peace Corps can shape your perspective.
But Deborah was not the only Peace Corps representative who came to Davidson last Thursday. After the videos, we met Alli, a recent graduate from Queens University in Charlotte. She acted as another resource and described her experience serving in South Africa over the past 2 years. Alli worked in education there, performing first as an assistant and eventually as a head teacher to children of many ages. Although she definitely detailed some of the more difficult experiences she encountered, it was clear by her tone of voice and the clear pride displayed on her face that she thoroughly enjoyed herself and returned to the United States a more confident and capable person. I found it crazy that Alli, someone probably only 5 years older than me, had already made such an impact in the small community she served. And it seemed as if the community gave her back just as much; the love she had for her host family, especially her little brother there, was clearly apparent.
Next, Deborah provided us with a lot of logistics: acceptance rates, application timelines, and resume tips – extremely helpful for juniors and seniors about to apply. And she not only provided basic information about these topics but also enthusiastically offered to personally assist any potential candidates. Admittedly, I was not quite as focused on these details since I’m a sophomore and not looking to apply imminently, but it was definitely comforting to know that there is (very friendly) support available if I decide to pursue Peace Corps in the future. Yes, 27 months away from home in a new country is a very daunting concept. But from what Deborah and Alli had to say, it seems like a risk worth taking (or at least considering)!
By: Emma Blake ’20