UCLA Affiliation: Alumni
Country of Service: Micronesia
Primarily, I taught English, Speech Communication and Algebra to local teachers at the College of Micronesia. Informally, I joined local Ex-Pats in developing local art classes for neighborhood children in Kolonia.
The sheer wealth and bounty America has became evident to me in contrast with the resources I witnessed in Micronesia. That recognition humbled me. While there are hurdles here in the U.S. to conquer, they are molehills compared to the challenges faced by people who live in economically depressed nations.
My Peace Corp experience also reinforced my pride in many positive American ethos. For example, the sharing and volunteering ethics, as embodied in Peace Corp. work, is not a universal value that all other cultures share. In Micronesia, ironically, there is a stigma attached to locals who share skills and expertise, as if secreting information improved social status. I learned first hand about these cultural differences and to evaluate their merits for good or bad. This has become a gift when meeting people from varied backgrounds. I try to absorb as much about other cultures as possible to find new insights about my own.
The Peace Corp. is truly personally revealing because you must rely on your inner core to succeed in very trying circumstances. If you really want to know who you are, leave who you think you are behind. The Peace Corp. allows you to get away from it all and get in touch with yourself.