Amanda Higbee always knew that she wanted to join the Peace Corps after college. As a communications major at Trine University, Higbee was inspired by the first-hand testimonials of returned Peace Corps Volunteers. So when an internship opportunity with the Peace Corps became available on campus, she leaped at the chance to inspire the next generation of Volunteers.
“When I saw information about the campus ambassador program on Twitter it was a relatively new program,” Higbee said. “I knew that the Peace Corps was something I was very interested in, and I thought the program would be a good way to learn more about Peace Corps service as well as get to know some recruiters and returned Volunteers.”
Higbee graduated from Trine University, of Angola, Indiana, in December 2016, and has been invited to serve as an education Volunteer in Armenia. The Reading, Michigan, native will depart for service on March 23. Higbee will participate in Armenia’s teaching English as a foreign language program (TEFL), and will earn her certificate after completing her 27 months of service.
“The campus ambassador program allowed me to connect to people on my college campus who had similar interests to my own. When I would host talks or sit at a career fair, I would get to see a different side of my classmates as they told me why they were interested in service work.”
Campus ambassadors are university students who introduce the Peace Corps to new and diverse student groups. As a campus ambassador, Higbee engaged with the student body through class talks, social media campaigns, photo competitions, campus festivals, and more.
“I helped the Peace Corps develop a relationship with the career services staff, and I opened the eyes of some staff on campus. I was able to show people that service/volunteer work after graduation is an excellent option and a great alternative to immediately joining the workforce,” she said. “I went to a very career-focused college; I hope that by being a campus ambassador, I showed students, and staff and faculty that there are many options after graduation.”
And Higbee is leading by example. Her assignment in Armenia will help her develop leadership, technical, and cross-cultural skills that will give her a competitive edge when she returns home. Peace Corps Volunteers return from service as global citizens who are well-positioned for professional opportunities in today’s global job market.
“The Peace Corps is a life-changing experience that focuses on building interpersonal relationships and understanding between different people,” Higbee said. “In a world with so much conflict, the Peace Corps is a chance to do positive and meaningful work.”
During the first three months of her service, Higbee will live with a host family in Armenia to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture. After acquiring the necessary skills to assist her community, Higbee will be sworn into service and be assigned to a community in Armenia, where she will live and work for two years with the local people.
Higbee joins the 239 Michigan residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 7,376 Michigan residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.
About Peace Corps/Armenia: There are more than 100 Volunteers in Armenia working with their communities on projects in community youth development and English education. During their service in Armenia, Volunteers learn to speak Armenian. More than 990 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Armenia since the program was established in 1992.