Great news! Knox College is once again included as one of the top colleges in the United States in The Prince...
Major in International Studies, minor in Anthropology and Sociology
Julia Volpe spent her fall semester in China after studying there in the summer of her first year. She studied in India in the fall semester of her junior year, and then received a Richter grant and a Stellyes grant for her most recent volunteer project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Describe your summer service project.
I applied for the program in Brazil with International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) after talking to a friend who had worked with them. I ended up doing a community development project with them for eight weeks. I helped paint a classroom but I worked mostly in the community garden. We planted different seeds and experimented with planting. The owner of the garden had a lot of medicinal plants but we grew vegetables as well. And it was all free to the community.
How did you become interested in being an International Volunteer?
I’ve been wanting to apply for Peace Corps since my senior year in high school. Before that, I had been travelling and knew that I wanted to keep travelling. We were studying human rights violations in school and it really made me realize that there are a lot of people out there who live in really bad situations. I want to be the person that lives in that community, talks to its member and leaders, and listens to them for what they need. The fact that we have a Peace Corps Preparatory Program was eventually the reason why I came to Knox.
How do you think your Knox experience prepared you for this?
Knox has given me a lot of opportunities to travel outside of the country. This trip was my fourth trip and so having each of these opportunities of being able to travel gave me experience I needed for the next one. I am also grateful to both the Vovis Center for Research & Advanced Study and the Stellyes Center for Global Studies for providing me with the scholarships that allowed me to have such amazing opportunities.
How has this experience affected your plans for the future?
All of my study abroad experiences have shaped my future. I just finished applying for a Fulbright scholarship to go to Mexico. I am also currently applying for the Peace Corps in Morocco.
Do you have any advice for current or prospective students looking for a similar experience?
I say really do your research. A lot us think we don’t have the money to do it but the funding is there. I strongly suggest students contact the Stellyes Center, the Vovis Center, and the Bastian Family Career Center. Because of my grants, all I paid for were my experiences outside the program in Brazil. I would also suggest dabbling in different departments at Knox. I’ve dabbled in the theatre department and the dance department and now I’m in TKS and I’m exploring the journalism department. It’s fun, so play around. You have the time now to do it.
Volpe works at Safe Harbor, a family crisis center, through Knox Corps. She is a videographer for The Knox Student (Knox’s student-run newspaper) and is also a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity on campus.