August 14, 2003 - Anoka County Union: Shannon Larson heading to Uzbekistan in Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Uzbekistan: Peace Corps Uzbekistan : The Peace Corps in Uzbekistan: August 14, 2003 - Anoka County Union: Shannon Larson heading to Uzbekistan in Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, August 14, 2003 - 11:13 pm: Edit Post

Shannon Larson heading to Uzbekistan in Peace Corps

Shannon Larson heading to Uzbekistan in Peace Corps

Peace Corps has been in her blood, but now she’s making it her reality

by L.A. Jones
Union editor

Andover’s Shannon Larson has thought off and on about joining the Peace Corps ever since graduating from Anoka High School back in 1994.

Now she’ll get her chance when she leaves Saturday, first for Philadelphia, Penn. for a brief orientation and additional immunizations, and then on to Tashkent, Uzbekistan where she’ll arrive Aug. 20 to teach English As a Second Language to Uzbek, Russian and other speaking high school students.

“I had heard about it many, many years ago,” she said. “My friends were telling me I should join the Peace Corps; they thought it would be something I would be interested in.”

Between earning a bachelor of science degree in history from Northwestern College in Arden Hills, doing a lot of traveling, volunteering as a tutor for 1 1/2 years to Chicago fifth-graders, living in Chicago for three years and working office, waitress and jobs at the Minnesota State Fair, however, Shannon woke up one fateful day this past April, making up her mind right then and there to join the Peace Corps.

“I felt like what I was doing wasn’t very meaningful, so I just woke up one day and decided to join the Peace Corps.

Shannon scanned, actually took apart the newspaper, in an effort to find any information about the program, and spotted a notice about a meeting to learn more about the Peace Corps and hear stories from volunteers who had returned from successful and rewarding assignments.

“I had already convinced myself I was going to join the Peace Corps at that point,” she said.

She filled out an application, which she says was quite an extensive project that spanned several weeks before she felt happy enough about submitting it and actually send it in.

Shannon was legally, medically and dentally cleared before meeting with a recruiter, who she said asked her a lot of personal questions and attempted to ascertain her comfort level about living in a foreign country.

The recruiter, almost solely based on her qualifications but also on what might prove to be the most beneficial to her both personally and career-wise, tabbed her for teaching even though all she had ever done was tutoring and never had taught in a classroom setting.

“That was fine with me,” she said. “I wanted to try my hand at teaching and have thought it might be something I’d like to do in the future anyway.”

Shannon did not choose Uzbekistan as her assignment; it was selected for her based on her past traveling experiences and how she might get on with the residents of the country of the former Soviet republic located generally north of Afghanistan and east of Iran.

She looks forward to her assignment in Uzbekistan, which runs for 27 months. Even though she will free to leave at any time, Shannon is convinced she’s in it for the full 27 months and would never think of giving it up in the middle of it all.

“Few do, and I have no intention of quitting,” she said.

Besides the experience of getting her feet wet teaching, Shannon looks on her Peace Corps assignment as an opportunity to grow within herself and outwardly toward others in her life.

“I really hope to strengthen and refine my character and immerse myself in a foreign culture,” she explained.

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Story Source: Anoka County Union

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Uzbekistan



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