March 1, 2000 - Personal Web Site: As she prepares to leave for Morocco and service with the Peace Corps, Hilde Hein finds the post-classroom life anything but retiring.

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Morocco: Peace Corps Morocco : The Peace Corps in Morocco: March 1, 2000 - Personal Web Site: As she prepares to leave for Morocco and service with the Peace Corps, Hilde Hein finds the post-classroom life anything but retiring.

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 11:16 am: Edit Post

As she prepares to leave for Morocco and service with the Peace Corps, Hilde Hein finds the post-classroom life anything but retiring.

As she prepares to leave for Morocco and service with the Peace Corps, Hilde Hein finds the post-classroom life anything but retiring.

As she prepares to leave for Morocco and service with the Peace Corps, Hilde Hein finds the post-classroom life anything but retiring.

By Pamela Reponen

Last December, Hilde Hein, associate professor of philosophy at Holy Cross, completed her end-of-the-semester duties for the final time. After teaching 29 years at the College, she decided to retire and gear up for her next challenge: serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Since retirement, Hein has been busy tidying up the countless details that emerge when planning a two-year sojourn out of the country-making the necessary financial arrangements, finding a tenant to lease her apartment, selling her car, providing care for her 13-year-old dog, Gorby. "And," she adds, "making time for the many medical appointments and follow-up tests required for acceptance into the program."

Reflecting on her decision to join the Peace Corps, Hein explains that she would have volunteered when the agency was first founded, but family responsibilities deterred her. "I like traveling," she says, "but not as a tourist. And I like the idea of working with people as a way to get to know them better."

Heinís destination is Morocco, a kingdom situated in northwest Africa. "I was really pleased," she says, "because Africa was my first choice. The location is wonderful-itís close to Europe and the Middle East." During her stay, she hopes to have the opportunity to travel and explore this area of the world.

Scheduled to leave at the end of June, Hein will complete three months of training before beginning her two years of service teaching English to adults. She describes the assignment as "teaching for special purposes"-finding out what the studentsí needs are and tailoring the program accordingly. "I will not be doing a Ďone size fits allí course," she says. "The approach involves problem solving, which I like."

According to Hein, the Peace Corps will provide more detailed information about her placement as the time of her departure nears. "At this point, I do not know specifically where I will be stationed or what my living quarters will be," she says. Hein notes that the Peace Corps does provide a stipend that enables the volunteer to maintain the same standard of living as the local residents.

Reflecting on the steps that led to her acceptance into the program, Hein describes the process as "lengthy." Approximately two years ago, she attended an orientation meeting in Boston under the direction of return volunteers. Impressed by their enthusiasm, she was also encouraged by the range of ages of the participants. "While the majority of volunteers are young," she says, "I had the idea that older people are also welcome to serve."

As part of her preparation for the trip, Hein has been regaining her fluency in French by watching foreign films and speaking with a friend who is a native speaker. While Arabic is the official language of Morocco, French, Spanish and Berber are also spoken. She says that the three-month training program offered by the Peace Corps will include instruction in Berber, which is spoken primarily by the inhabitants of the mountainous regions.

Since retiring, Hein has also been intent on bringing two writing projects to completion. Given a March 11 deadline by her publisher, the Smithsonian Institution Press, she has been busy making the final edits on her book, The Museum in Transition: A Philosophical Perspective. Scheduled to be released this fall, the book examines the function of museums from a philosophical point of view. "There is a long tradition that museums are collectors of objects," Hein says, "but more and more their focus is on the production of experience." Her approach is to consider how the museumsí use of objects to generate a response in the visitor affects their essential definition in terms of ethics, aesthetics and educational function. "This raises questions about how museums differ from other cultural experiences such as Disney World," Hein says. "Disney is becoming more educational while museums are becoming more spectacle-oriented-it turns out to be a fascinating subject."

The second project involves editing a collection of essays titled Public Art and Its Purposes; she hopes to have her work on this completed by the time she leaves in June. "Public art is generally defined as Ďstatues in public parksí and Ďwar memorials,í while it actually encompasses more than that," she says. "ĎThe Star-Spangled Bannerí is public art-a parade is public art." Hein explains that one of the objectives of the book is to point out the complexity of defining the term-given the constantly changing nature of public art and the impact of outside influences such as public policy and environmental constraints on its expression. Her responsibilities have included soliciting essays for inclusion in the book, contributing an essay of her own and writing the introduction.

Tucked away among the trip preparations and publishing deadlines are snippets of time for professional and personal activities-attending conferences, speaking in the public forum, interacting with colleagues. Hein is also pleased to have found a new source of intellectual stimulation: "One of the first things I did after leaving Holy Cross was to join a book group, and I love it," she says. "We meet once a month, and we read books, and we talk, and itís great." The mother of two daughters and a son, Hein finds time to spend with family; this spring she plans to go to California to attend her oldest grandchildís high school graduation.

Comfortably seated in her living room one afternoon in mid-February, she takes a moment to assess this new phase of her life. "It has been almost two months since Iíve retired, and, so far, Iíve really been enjoying it," she says. "I find the finiteness of it very appealing because Iíve never not worked. If it were completely open-ended-a kind of indefinite future-I donít think I would like it as much."

When asked about her plans after the Peace Corps, Hein says with a smile, "I really donít know. Thatís the great thing about it." After completing her two-year service commitment, she intends to return to her home in Auburndale, Mass. "After that Iíll decide what to do," she says. With the onset of spring, the months begin to put distance on Heinís teaching career at Holy Cross. Already looking forward to the new challenges before her, she describes the future as a "window," opening out to endless possibilities.

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Story Source: Holy Cross

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Morocco; Older Volunteers



By Kerkech Rachida ( on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 5:34 am: Edit Post

I would like to get in touch (email) with Hilde Hein, please. I met her in Rabat when she was servicing with the peace corp (2000-2001).Thanks
name: Rachida kERKECH,ENS teacher, Rabat, Morocco.

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