Name: Michael Gall
Country of Service: Micronesia, 2007-09
Assignment: Teaching English as a Second Language & Community Development Resource
Recruitment Territory: East Michigan
When I was 22, I realized I was going through life on cruise control. It was a good time, but I knew that I would soon be graduating and that if I did not take action I may never realize my own potential.
From the first moment I heard about the Peace Corps, I knew it was for me. It was my chance to make a difference in the lives of others and have an adventure. So, when the Peace Corps invited me to teach English in Micronesia (a place I had never heard of), I happily packed my bags, put on sunscreen, said goodbye to my family and traveled more than 7,000 miles to embrace my future.
For the next two years I called Ta, an island just 400 yards wide, my home. Ta was not the adventure I had expected but rather the one I needed. On Ta, an island isolated by the Pacific Ocean with no electricity or much in terms of communication, time moved with all the urgency of a well-fed sea turtle. Without many distractions I was given the gift of time to spend with my host family and community.
My host family, which consisted of about 20 people, welcomed me and treated me with hospitality and kindness, which I will never forget. The time we spent together – eating, chatting, laughing, playing games and sitting quietly – helped form relationships which changed our lives. Those relationships were my motivation every morning to bring my “A” game into the classroom as well as the key to navigating complicated social and political dynamics to accomplish long-term projects.
Now I am motivated by my experiences to go around and share the Peace Corps with others. I love my job because I get to meet the most passionate, caring, courageous people who share with me their stories of why they want to join the Peace Corps. On a daily basis, I continue to be inspired by those wanting to join.
Whether someone is 22 or 82, the Peace Corps gives them the chance to challenge themselves and impact the world in a unique way. The fact is that the Peace Corps experience is every bit as challenging as it is rewarding. Every Peace Corps volunteer has a story. What will your story be?
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