I have two weeks left until I leave. I practiced packing. Each of my two suitcases are 4lbs over the TSA weight limit. This weekend I'll go back through and see what isn't going to make the cut. Honestly, I'm not too stressed out about packing or leaving.
The best part about waiting to leave is that I've made a point to spend more time with friends, family and HBO go. Every week, I have a standing dinner date with my best friend, Erin. We realized we should have instated this weekly tradition before I accepted the position with the Peace Corps.
There are some downsides to leaving such as trying to navigate student loan deferment, saving for spending and travel money, selling my car, and finding a new home for my dog. Despite these hardships, I am eager and excited to see what is in store for me in Georgia.
I accepted the position to serve as an English Language Teacher Volunteer in Georgia (the country, not the state) with the Peace Corps! This is a 27 month commitment that begins in April.
About the Peace Corps:
"Changing lives the world over."
The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation. One of the signature achievements of President John F. Kennedy was creating the Peace Corps, a new agency and a new opportunity for Americans to serve their country and their world. For more than five decades, Peace Corps Volunteers in 140 countries have demonstrated ingenuity, creativity, and grit to solve critical challenges alongside community leaders.
The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:
1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
About the position:
Volunteers co-teach with local English teachers in a formal classroom setting and conduct extracurricular activities for students aged 6-18, the United States equivalent of grades 1-12. The goals of the project are to improve the English language
proficiency and critical skills (teamwork, gender sensitivity, critical thinking, and confidence) of students; enhance teaching practices and other professional skills of English teachers; and work with your counterparts, school, and communities to increase access to English teaching, learning resources, and opportunities, including new technologies.
About the U.S. Government Let Girls Learn Initiative:
Educating girls is essential to healthy and thriving communities but, globally, 62 million girls are not in school, and barriers to adolescent girls completing school are particularly significant. In some countries, fewer than 10 percent of teenage girls complete secondary school. Since the launch of Let Girls Learn, Peace Corps Volunteers around the world have responded to the call to make a difference in their communities of service.
Donations can be made to the Let Girls Learn innitiative for Peace Corps Georgia: https://donate.peacecorps.gov/donate/project/glowbuild-gender-conference/
I grew up volunteering in many different organizations, such as 4-H and Girl Scouts. Philanthropy became a common theme in my extracurricular life. In high school, I was a member of the student council, class treasurer and president of both the art and drama clubs, and captain of the soccer and color guard teams. I volunteered as a teen for the local library, helping to create community outreach programs. In college, I joined Best Buddies, an organization that creates opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I also volunteered as an English tutor for Spanish speaking community members. After college, I moved to The Netherlands and became an Au Pair for a year. In this year I cared for two young girls, teaching them English as a second language, while learning enough Dutch to communicate efficiently with the girls. Two years ago, I became the volunteer Community and Outreach Coordinator for an art initiative in my hometown. The purpose of Maketank Projects is to bring art and entertainment to our small community. After volunteering in that position for two years, I organized and taught art classes for the community members. Because philanthropy has always been a major part of my free time, I have decided to pursue opportunities that allow volunteering to become the full focus of my attention.
A term in the Peace Corps will not be easy. I understand and have experience with the difficulties of culture shock. A difficult aspect of the Peace Corps will be earning and retaining the respect of the local people I will be working with. To overcome this challenge, I will be respectful of their culture, professional, friendly, and patient. I realize that within my time in the Peach Corps, I will face many challenges that I have yet to imagine. Being a well-adapted individual, I have overcome physical and emotional hardships in the past. I am ready and eager to apply what I learned through these experiences to my volunteer time with your organization.
An assignment in the Peace Corps will be an immensely rewarding life-changing experience. This volunteer opportunity will allow me to help strengthen a community and bring my volunteer and leadership experience into the focus of my time.