During his time at Knox, Dan Spaulding '99 was a record-breaking member of the swimming and diving team. He i...
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2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
Peace Corps Volunteer
Major in International Relations, Minor in French
What is the most challenging and rewarding part of your position?
Every day living in a new country with a language and culture that are not your own is challenging. Adjusting to a new set of customs and norms can be really exhausting sometimes, especially when you first arrive to your host country. Multiple languages are spoken in Morocco and I've had to learn how to communicate in those languages by throwing myself into situations and making many, many mistakes. However, while we may have all of these challenges, the relationships we are able to build within our communities far outweigh the daily struggles of Peace Corps. Throughout my time in Morocco, I have been welcomed into people's homes and lives with kindness, compassion, and LOTS of food.
What are some of the duties you have as a Peace Corps volunteer?
As a youth development volunteer, I'm assigned to work at a local women's association in my village, where I teach weekly beginner's English classes. I also work with several women's corporations and small businesses in my community on grant writing and business development projects. We recently implemented a series of entrepreneurship and small business classes aimed at young women and single mothers. Another long-term project that I'm currently working on with some of my counterparts is a series of healthy living classes and a latrine-building project. This project, "laying the foundations of health," will involve teaching health classes to primary school children, covering topics from teeth brushing to self-esteem building. The latrine will be built on site at the primary school by myself, other Peace Corps volunteers, and community members.
What advice would you give current Knox students who are considering the Peace Corps?
Knox has so many connections and resources available, so take advantage of them. Talk to currently serving and returned volunteers from different sectors and different countries so you can get a wide variety of opinions and perspectives (no service is the same!) and if possible, join the Peace Corps Preparatory Program. I would say that there's no harm in applying if you're on the fence, but once you reach the interview stage, be certain that you are aware of the commitment you are making. Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer means you are willing to leave behind your comforts and loved ones for the sake of learning and growing and, hopefully, doing something valuable for someone else. Twenty-seven months is a long time and we make a promise to ourselves, America, and our host countries that we will do everything in our power to fulfill that promise. Making sure that you've done your due diligence to understand as best as you can what Peace Corps is and what volunteers do will help make the decision whether to serve that much easier.
Kati participated in numerous organizations while at Knox such as Alumni Ambassadors, Student Senate, Union Board, Knox College Democrats, Anything Is Possible Education Foundation, and Senior Challenge. She was the recipient of a Richter Grant, the Hirsch Zucker Non-Profit Endowment, and Stellyes Center Funds recipient, which she used to pursue internship opportunities abroad.