May 15, 2003 - The Goshen College Record: A recent graduate heads for Cape Verde

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cape Verde: Peace Corps Cape Verde : The Peace Corps in Cape Verde: May 15, 2003 - The Goshen College Record: A recent graduate heads for Cape Verde

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, May 17, 2003 - 6:06 pm: Edit Post

A recent graduate heads for Cape Verde

A recent graduate heads for Cape Verde

For the Record...
Contributed by hl on Thursday May 15, @ 11:21PM

In a week and a half, I'm graduating from GC after the fastest four years of my life. Less than two months from today, I will be living, learning, and serving in Cape Verde as a Peace Corps English teacher.

My time here at GC has helped to prepare me for the path I am about to take. In fact, before going on SST, I never would have considered living in a foreign country thousands of miles from my family and friends for two years. SST, however, completely turned this thinking around for me.

I left for SST in Mali two years ago this May. The morning that my group left, it was very chilly, but sunny, much like the morning on which I am writing this editorial. I was ready to go because I figured that the faster I left, the sooner I could come home. I had said goodbye to my parents, and my fiance had already departed for the Dominican Republic.

When I stepped off the plane in Bamako, I thought I'd walked into hell. I can clearly remember the wave of sweltering, muggy air slamming against my face as I exited the cool A.C. of the airplane cabin. "Hot as an oven" took on new meaning for me.

I can?t say that my three months in Mali were easy for me. I constantly struggled with expressing myself in French. It was disheartening when my host family would introduce me by saying, "She doesn't speak any French." I was disgusted by the raw sewage flowing down my street, irritated by the marriage proposals that flooded me every day, and bewildered by the random organization of the public transportation system.

Despite these struggles, I soon found myself falling in love with Mali and its people. I was amazed at the ability of the Malians to laugh in almost every situation. I learned to patiently lounge under a mango tree while my Malian friends made tea, which usually took several hours. I drank in the cool night air while sleeping on my roof in Bamako inside my mosquito netting. Now, back in Indiana, when I close my eyes at night, I can still sometimes hear the theme song for Catalina y Sebastian as if it is drifting to my ears from a neighbor's courtyard.

Shortly after returning from SST, I began my journey to the Peace Corps. Almost a year ago, my fianc? and I mailed in our applications. Now, after much waiting, we are excitedly preparing for two years of living on an island as wide as the distance between Elkhart and Goshen.

One way I am preparing for my new work as an English teacher in Cape Verde is to take TESOL Methods for May Term. In this class, we have been discussing the ethics of teaching English around the world. To what extent does the advancement of English destroy or disempower other languages? How does learning English benefit people in other countries?

Through its many programs, including SST, Goshen College seeks to open the minds of its students to a world that we can hardly imagine. Many GC students possess a hunger for adventure and a compassion for the world that is unheard of on many other campuses. But the true test of GC's work is in the decisions its students make post-graduation. We must ask ourselves the difficult ethical questions about the career paths we are soon to take. Facing these questions can be painful, but, speaking for myself, I could not go on without knowing that I'm serving a purpose greater than myself. Have you asked yourself yet?

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Story Source: The Goshen College Record

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mali; COS - Cape Verde; TESOL; Speaking Out



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