Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Completes Service in Uganda

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Peace Corps Volunteers know that service isn’t a bucket list item; it’s a life-long dedication. Once you are part of the Peace Corps family, you are always a member. No one knows that better than Lindsay Carrera, a Hartland, Wisconsin, native who recently completed her service in Uganda.

“I have always wanted to do Peace Corps – since I was young,” Carrera said, “I love learning about people and trying to help. It was an educational experience.” Continue reading “Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Completes Service in Uganda”

Returned Peace Corps volunteer brings Nicaraguan values home

Alison Feurerstein (center right) at her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin – Madison, with her parents and husband.

Joining the Peace Corps was a jumping-off point for Alison Feurerstein. Two service-filled years in Nicaragua propelled the Madison, Wis. native into a dynamic public health career, opened her eyes to a new culture and led her to her life partner.

But Feurerstein found more than just love within the Nicaraguan culture – Peace Corps changed her perspective on family, community and relationships. When looking back, it all started with the leap.

“My current job is building on my Peace Corps experience and giving me a more local look at public health and health disparities,” said Feurerstein, who worked in Nicaragua from 2013-15 as a health education volunteer. “Peace Corps was my launching off point towards a career in public health.” Continue reading “Returned Peace Corps volunteer brings Nicaraguan values home”

David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.

Facing challenges in Africa, volunteer embraced opportunity to be more conscious of his identity

David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.
David Goodloe served as an environment volunteer in Benin from 2004-05.

As an African-American Peace Corps volunteer, David Goodloe had a lot of superficial notions about what going to Africa for the first time would mean. He imagined a vivid Hollywood-like scene: walking off the plane and being greeted with “Welcome home,” or “It’s so good to have you back.”

But upon arriving in Benin, Africa for his Peace Corps service, he quickly realized that the romanticized vision was not reality. Perhaps the hardest lesson Goodloe had to learn was that he didn’t fit in just because he shared the same skin tone as others in his village.   Continue reading “Facing challenges in Africa, volunteer embraced opportunity to be more conscious of his identity”

Chicago BRPCVs meet monthly to connect over similar experiences

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CHICAGO – The newly formed Black Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (BRPCV) group met last month for their monthly meeting in the Chicago area. The group meets regularly in an effort to stay connected with Peace Corps and other RPCVs, despite busy schedules and busy lives.

“The BRPCV Chicago group recognizes the need for African American and Black Returned Peace Corps volunteers to have a supported community that’s well-versed in living abroad as an African-American/Black Peace Corps volunteer,” said Natalie Felton, diversity recruiter for the Central Region and returned volunteer of Vanuatu 11-15. “The group aims to supply a support network for returned volunteers re-integrating into Chicago and provide and create platforms to share the African-American/Black Peace Corps experience with potential volunteers, as well as other returned volunteers.”

Felton created the BRPCV group in September 2015 to connect with fellow RPCVs in the Chicago-land area after she completed her Peace Corps service in 2015. The group’s next meeting is on Friday, February 12. Continue reading “Chicago BRPCVs meet monthly to connect over similar experiences”

Wisconsin native completes Peace Corps service in the Philippines

Kelly Schmidt (left) completed her Peace Corps service in September of 2015. She is now back in the U.S. in her hometown in Fremont, Wis.
Kelly Schmidt (left) completed her Peace Corps service in September 2015. She is now back in the U.S. in her hometown in Fremont, Wis.

Kelly Schmidt can’t remember the exact moment that she knew she wanted to join the Peace Corps. It was always an idea, a lingering goal that was filed away in the back of her mind. Three months after the 26 year old completed her service in the Philippines, she reflects on how much her Peace Corps experience has helped her find her path.

“The Peace Corps was the perfect way, I discovered, for me to feed my growing passions for traveling, learning new things and volunteering to contribute to positive change within the world,” Schmidt said. Continue reading “Wisconsin native completes Peace Corps service in the Philippines”

Kentucky native’s lasting ties to Peace Corps Guinea

Guinean family in Lex 2011
Rachel Savane served in Guinea from 1990-92 as a community development and public health volunteer.

Returned Peace Corps volunteer Rachel Savane has ties that cannot be broken to Guinea. After all, it’s where she served in the Peace Corps for two years, where the inspiration for her jewelry designs came from and where she met her husband and father of her children.

“My plan as a young adult was to gain life experience throughout my 20s, and who can really see beyond that?” said Savane on her motivation to join the Peace Corps in the 1990s. Continue reading “Kentucky native’s lasting ties to Peace Corps Guinea”

Peace Corps Holidays: Thailand

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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

No day is similar for Peace Corps volunteers, Julie Walker and Jennifer Wininger, who are both serving in different roles and villages in Thailand. Whether it’s working with local government officials, teaching English to children or traveling for presentations, both volunteers are fully immersed in their Peace Corps service. Wininger works as a teacher collaboration and community service volunteer and Walker works as a youth development volunteer. Below, Wininger and Walker describe how they will spend the holidays this year and some of their favorite Thai traditions.

Jennifer Wininger, native of Indianapolis

Jennifer Wininger (middle) works as a teacher collaboration and community service volunteer in Thailand. This year she will spend the holiday season completing her scuba certification in Thailand’s southern region.

Last year at this time, I was eagerly awaiting the beginning of the holiday season,” said Wininger. “Like many Americans, Thanksgiving for my family is the kickoff of this exciting time of year. It is usually a time filled with family and friends and always surrounded by great food. This year is a little different. Not only am I miles away from family and friends and the comfort foods I love, the tropical climate doesn’t feel like the typical Midwestern holiday season I am accustomed to. Thailand is predominately Buddhist so the holidays I typically associate with this time of year are not celebrated in my rural village.

“But, all these differences allow me to use this time of year in a unique way this holiday season. I think it is important to be thankful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. This vastly different holiday season, I have the opportunity to explore a completely different country,” Wininger said. Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays: Thailand”