25 countries later, Indiana couple commits to Peace Corps service in Thailand

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Sara and Greg’s life is always in constant motion.

From volunteering with nonprofits in Malawi, to working for Teach For America for two years, the couple’s robust lifestyle allows them to peer into the living conditions that many face across the globe. In the past three years alone, they have traveled to 25 countries and over six different continents.

But with each trip and stamp they collect on their passports, they crave to do something more with their lives. This January, the couple will do just that.

As Peace Corps Volunteers in Thailand, the couple will spend the next 27 months using their experiences and skills to make an impact on their local community. Sara will work as a youth in development Volunteer, where she will improve the lifestyles of local youth, and Greg will work as a teacher collaborator and primary education specialist, where he will engage in community development opportunities, improve schools, and train local teachers. This will be Greg’s second time serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer; he served as a youth development Volunteer in Bulgaria from 2008-10. Continue reading “25 countries later, Indiana couple commits to Peace Corps service in Thailand”

Knox College earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list

Courtney Hall (right) and husband Alex Hall have been serving in Cameroon as education volunteers since XX. The couple graduated from Knox College in XX.
Courtney Hall (right) and husband Alex Hall have been serving in Cameroon as education volunteers since May 2014. The couple graduated from Knox College in June 2011.

CHICAGO – For the third year in a row, Knox College has placed on Peace Corps’ annual list of the top volunteer-producing small colleges and universities across the country. The school ranks No. 14 with nine alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 201 Knox graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers.

“The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.” Continue reading “Knox College earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools list”

Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Jessica Vig

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Name:  Jessica Vig
Country of Service:  South Africa, 2007-2009
Assignment: Community Health
Recruitment Territory:  Downstate and Western Illinois

My husband, Paul, and I served as a married couple in a small, rural community in South Africa.  As we returned to the U.S., hoping to share our stories with family and friends back home, we found that photographs provided a medium to discuss our joys and challenges.

Here is a ‘snippet’ of our service—themes, learnings, and ultimately, human to human connections—through pictures. Continue reading “Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Jessica Vig”

Peace Corps Holidays: Nicaragua

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Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. From now until January, we will highlight stories from Peace Corps volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas

“Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas.” This Christmas carol resonates deeply with Peace Corps volunteer Emily Nilsen, a Thompsonville, Ill., native who is serving as a secondary education English teacher trainer  in Nicaragua. Her husband, Andrew Nilsen, is also serving as a secondary English teacher with her. Together, they embark on their second holiday season away from home, creating their own traditions along the way and sharing Nicaraguan cultures and customs with their family, who will be visiting from the U.S.

Emily Nilsen and her husband Andrew Nilsen spend this holiday season serving together in Nicaragua.
Andrew and Emily Nilsen are spending this holiday season making a difference in Nicaragua.

“Last year for the holidays, we had just arrived to site and were at the beginning of our Peace Corps service. This meant that we could not have visitors, nor visit home.  While a little homesick, we were able to observe lots of local customs and traditions here in Nicaragua.  We even decided to start one of our own – The 12 Days of Nilsen Christmas – where we re-wrote the classic song to include things we could find and explore during the holidays. Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays: Nicaragua”

Michigan couple departs for Peace Corps Uganda

Travelling and service have always been the focal point of Charles Tully and Hannah Sanday's relationship. They will depart to serve in a community in Uganda on Nov. 7.
Travelling and service have always been the focal point of Charles Tully and Hannah Sanday’s relationship. They will depart to serve in a community in Uganda on Nov. 7.

When Charles Tully and Hannah Sonday said “I do” they were committing to more than just each other. They were signing up for a life of adventure, service – and hurdles they could never fully prepare for.

“Service work, volunteering, and traveling internationally have been a focal point of our relationship since the beginning, and we actually met while we were both serving on the service committee of the accounting and finance organization, Beta Alpha Psi at the University of Michigan – Dearborn,” Charles said.

Charles, 27, of Detroit, Mich., and his wife Hannah, 27, of Waterford, Mich., will depart on Nov. 7 to serve in Uganda for two years. Although they will be working in similar roles and in the same village, they will have distinct jobs that match their individual skill sets so they can better serve their community. Continue reading “Michigan couple departs for Peace Corps Uganda”

OSU Peace Corps recruiter brings wisdom to campus

Gail Messick (center) served as a public health dental hygienist in St. Lucia from 1976-78. She served again in Swaziland from 2010-14. Now she is the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at The Ohio State University.
Gail Messick (center) served as a public health dental hygienist in St. Lucia from 1976-78. She served again in Swaziland from 2010-14 as a health volunteer. Now she is the on-campus Peace Corps recruiter at The Ohio State University.

This year, students at The Ohio State University can take advantage of a new on-campus Peace Corps recruiter, Gail Messick, who has served in the Peace Corps not once – but twice. As the new recruiter on campus, she hopes to share her service experiences with interested students considering a similar path.

Messick and her husband, Mike Messick, served in St. Lucia in the East Caribbean from 1976-78. She worked as a public health dental hygienist and promoted dental health in schools and in the surrounding community while Mike worked as a business advisor and helped initiate marketing plans for the handicraft industry. Continue reading “OSU Peace Corps recruiter brings wisdom to campus”

Springfield, Mo., couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

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Eric Hillgren, 30, his wife Katie Hillgren, 29, of Springfield, Mo., have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteers. The Hillgrens will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. They will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“My husband and I have been talking about the Peace Corps since college,” Katie Hillgren said. “We have always wanted the opportunity to live and work overseas and experience life in new ways.” Continue reading “Springfield, Mo., couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji”