A graduating Knox student and a 2018 alumna have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will soon be heading abroad to serve in Botswana and Morocco.
Through the Peace Corps, volunteers assist more than 60 host countries in project areas that include education, health, agriculture, youth development, and community economic development.
Domanique Rahman '19 will serve in Botswana as a life skills educator. He said that while an international service seminar course his first year sparked his interest in the field, he was uncertain of traveling abroad.
“To test the waters, I first traveled to a place where I had a friend: Sri Lanka. When that went well, I knew I could handle it,” he said.
After spending his junior year abroad in Botswana and Cameroon, Rahman said he was certain that the Peace Corps was for him.
“I had many close friends who showed me around the city and taught me their ways of life. I also did an internship in town, which gave me a professional perspective of the country,” he commented. “I applied to Botswana specifically because of these previous ties to the people, language, and culture.”
Since the Peace Corps was founded, more than 200 Knox alumni have served abroad. Knox is also the first college or university in the country to host the contemporary Peace Corps Preparatory Program, which prepares students for international service.
Rahman said that the Peace Corps Prep program gave him crucial insight into the track he wanted to pursue. “It led me to some amazing courses and volunteer opportunities that I believe expanded my mind past the United States and helped me navigate through my experiences abroad.”
Julia Volpe '18 will provide assistance for youth development in Morocco, a posting that is known for being highly selective. She brings extensive international study and travel experience to her program, having studied abroad in China, India, Brazil, and more.
Volpe said that her interest in international service started in high school but was sustained by all her trips abroad through Knox. Last summer, she was supported by Richter and Stellyes funding to volunteer for a community development project in Brazil.
“Knox has given me a lot of opportunities to travel outside the country,” she said. “Having each opportunity to be able to travel gave me experience I needed for the next one and for the challenges that come with the Peace Corps.”
International service can be really effective if done right, Volpe believes. “I think a lot of people go into service trying to change the community into what they think is better, but sometimes the community just needs to be heard. I want to work with the community so that the changes we make are sustainable.”