December 2, 2005: Headlines: COS - Namibia: Tina Schuster served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Namibia: Peace Corps Namibia : The Peace Corps in Namibia: December 2, 2005: Headlines: COS - Namibia: Tina Schuster served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia

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Tina Schuster served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia

Tina Schuster served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia

"When you leave the country, you start to define who you are because you are out of your usual contact," Schuster explained. Schuster also described the sense of fulfillment to be gained. The Peace Corps "was something I knew I'd be proud of doing," Schuster said. "It seemed like an adventure."

Tina Schuster served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia

Tough love

University students volunteer for Peace Corps; overcome challenges to help others

Daniel Reinish, Cavalier Daily Staff Writer

A creatively designed curriculum may be able to bring diversity from the outside world to the students in the classroom, but some members of the University community have chosen to try this the other way around.


For Schuster, the Peace Corps was an opportunity to help define her future.

"I was looking for some more direction about what I wanted to do when I came back," she said.

Schuster did in fact find this direction, she explained, for she later entered the Education School after discovering she wanted to be a teacher.

"When you leave the country, you start to define who you are because you are out of your usual contact," Schuster explained.

Schuster also described the sense of fulfillment to be gained.

The Peace Corps "was something I knew I'd be proud of doing," Schuster said. "It seemed like an adventure."


Schuster's initial challenge was convincing her parents to let her go. She said both her parents were very nervous and tried to talk her out of it.

She laughed as she recalled that her mother was also very worried about her previous decision to study abroad in Ireland.

"Now I look back at Ireland," she said, trailing off.

Schuster served primarily as an English teacher for grades eight to ten. She said she also had the challenge of teaching three periods of physical education for girls without any equipment.

Like Hildt, Schuster had to accustom herself to a new culture and style of living.

"I didn't want to say, 'This is what Americans do because we're right,'" she said.

One example of this tension, according to Schuster, was recognizing that women in the culture did not have a lot of power even though this tended to contribute to a large HIV/AIDS problem.

Schuster said she also had to adjust to constantly being stared at.

"You were a novelty," Schuster said. "I went jogging one day and every car driving by thought something was wrong. It was a strange concept to see someone jogging."

One thing that really stood out for Schuster about the Namibians, she said, was how musical they are.

"They sing to keep themselves busy," she said.

She described one situation where she attempted to give the punishment of singing the school song in front of the class. Schuster said every student then called out, "I wanna do it!"

Schuster also said she discovered that their culture was much more laid back.

"In American culture, we're always so go-go-go," she said. "I live by my watch and pack a million things into a day."

In Namibia, it was OK to sit outside and watch the cows go by or to take a short nap because it was too hot outside, Schuster said.

Schuster also noted significant revelations about her own country upon returning home.

"I walked into a grocery store and saw a whole aisle devoted to dog food," Schuster said. "It was such a weird concept," she thought at the time, for so many actual people didn't have enough to eat.

On a more positive note, she said she was pleasantly surprised at all the flags and patriotism she encountered when she came back to the United States. The events of 9/11 had occurred while she was away.

When this story was posted in November 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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