Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Peace Corps Service Expectations

I humbly apologize for the delay in posts lately, I've been both busy and unmotivated to write lately, not for lack of topics on which to expound, however. One said topic, to be further explored here, is my expectations for Peace Corps service. As Staging and departure draw ever closer, I have been thinking more and more about what the entire experience of twenty-seven dedicated months in the Land of Smiles, Thailand, will look like. I would like to think that this will serve a couple of purposes, namely, as a reminder of why I am choosing to assume this endeavor, and to look back after service to see how close (or laughably far) I was in predicting the challenges that lie before me.

1. I expect that I will gain a solid base in understanding international development at the grassroots level. A large part of the reason I have signed up for Peace Corps is chiefly due to my desire to be in the green and/or international development fields combined with my incredible lack of education and experience in the green and/or international development fields. I hope that with two years of experience, I will have a decent shot at being accepted into a sustainability graduate program upon returning home.

2. I expect to put my cross-cultural knowledge and language acquisition skills to the test. Being multi-racial and relatively bi-lingual, and having studied race relations, collaboration, and inter-cultural communication at various junctures of school, I believe I have firm cultural skills that will aid my goals of sustainable, inclusive, bottom-up solutions for my community. I hope by being immersed in another culture, I will become fluent in Thai and to incorporate some Thai cultural aspects into my daily life.

3. I expect to engage in true cultural exchange in an effort to represent true American ideals, including community, collaboration, compassion, and equality, demonstrate mutual learning and respect, and earn the trust and confidence of my community by proving (through action) that I am dedicated to them, facilitating sustainable local solutions. I hope my community and I share pieces of ourselves such that they remain with us for a lifetime.

4. I expect to develop more effective project management skills. In researching all things Peace Corps and Thailand, I discovered a required document as volunteers COS (Close of Service) from Peace Corps, the Description of Service, which essentially details your entire service- training hours, school, primary and secondary projects, successes, special recognition, and language acquisition. It is very exciting to read over examples of them because volunteers truly do it all. From planning, to fund raising, to evaluation, there are myriad practical management skills to acquire and hone. I hope to acquire an entirely new skill set, one that supplements my graduate studies, in a practical way.

5. I expect to be a better Buddhist. I feel incredibly lucky that while I was nominated for Africa, I was instead invited to Thailand, where 97% of the population is Theravana Buddhist. I am looking forward to the opportunity to study Buddhism more in depth in the local language and practice it more effectively, for both personal and professional reasons, in Thailand and at home, wherever that may be. I hope for many opportunities to practice being a better person.

1 comment:

  1. What exciting goals and adventures to work towards. Proud of you, love. And so excited for you.