Peace Corps and Applied Social Science Event
This past Wednesday (2/28) the Global Studies Program hosted an event on the importance of the Peace Corps and social science work. Three speakers, two returned Peace Corps Volunteers and another who works for the Peace Corps Headquarters as a Budget Analyst, spoke about their experiences with international service and its relevance for current college students.
Each of the speakers discussed experiences living and working abroad. Max Greatshell and Paul Nuti were Peace Corps volunteers in Kyrgyzstan and Fiji respectively. Elizabeth Nuti spent three years living in Costa Rica and teaching at a language school. They explained their personal reasons for deciding to move abroad, which included curiosity of the world and eagerness to make a difference.
While this story may appear daunting, Paul, Elizabeth, and Max each emphasized the overwhelming positive experiences that came with their work. This included becoming connected to new communities and friends; gaining a strong sense of purpose in life; and doing meaningful work. Each stated that these positive experience far outweighed any challenges they encountered.
The guests also shared their paths after returning to the United States. The session ended with a question and answer where students were able to ask more specific questions.
Then all three speakers described challenges they encountered during their service. Paul, for instance, recalled first arriving in his village in Fiji and being invited to someone’s home for dinner. When he returned to his home, he lit a candle (there was no electricity) and saw three giant spiders in his room. He opened his window and climbed into his bed under a mosquito net. The wind blew the curtain, which came in contact with the lit candle, and caught on fire. Paul ran into the kitchen to fill a bucket with water only to find a sink full of cockroaches. This all happened on his first night.
Peace Corps is a government funded program that sends volunteers across the world and serves over 60 countries. Volunteers serve in various sectors like education, youth in development, agriculture, community economic development, environment and health. Volunteers serve for a total of 27 months, including three months of training.
Peace Corps volunteers aim to make a difference in local communities through providing education, skills training, and resource development. After completing service, returned volunteers gain access to a wide network of other volunteers and often find positions in government, anthropology, or international development, among others.Last year we had a Bryant student move to East Timor for her Peace Corps work, and next year we have a Bryant student heading to Peru. To learn more about the Peace Corps, check out their website.