I thought I'd copy some pieces of our Aspiration Statements into our blog, both to share with friends and family some of the things we are hoping to accomplish, and to have something to look back at once our service is over and reflect how closely our pre-service aspirations matched the actual goals we met while serving. So, here they are!
· Gain an understanding of the people and culture of Uganda through training, volunteer projects, and personal relationships with members of the community
· Develop my skills as a teacher and as an advocate of holistic youth development
· Participate in efforts of prevention, education, and care of HIV and AIDS and grow in my understanding of the effects of such diseases on communities and community members
· Work with my Ugandan counterparts to increase the mathematical proficiency of the secondary students with whom we work
· Develop community partnerships that increase sustainability and long-lasting impacts on the communities in which I serve
· Share my knowledge of and experiences in Uganda with members of my community in the United States
· Reach a level of fluency in my assigned language
· Continue developing skills to work with students and staff cross-culturally, while broadening my worldview and understanding of the global community
• Develop a high level of proficiency in a second language
• Gain further skills in teaching, and specifically teaching cross-culturally
• Build new friendships throughout my community and my fellow Peace Corps members
• Gain a better understanding of the realities of the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Uganda. I hope to understand the struggles in fighting the virus, and the current successful methods in doing so• Develop my skills in communicating in cross-cultural situations
Emily, on life after Peace Corps:
Serving in the Peace Corps will play an influential role in my personal and professional aspirations after my service ends. I have no doubt that my experience in the Peace Corps will be a transformative, as I believe that this kind of commitment and experience changes people by its very nature. My service in the Peace Corps will build on the national and community service experiences I had before joining the Peace Corps, and will serve as a steppingstone to continue life in that spirit of service after I return home. I desire to live with a global worldview, and Peace Corps will help me strengthen my understanding of cross-cultural relationships and broaden my understanding of other global communities. The skills I develop while serving in the Peace Corps will transfer directly to my work once I return home. Whether working as a secondary teacher, promoting youth development in urban communities, or working on HIV/AIDS education and prevention in the U.S., the experiences of learning and growing I will experience while serving in the Peace Corps will certainly shape my personal and professional life even after my service is completed.
Ryan, on life after Peace Corps:
Upon my completion of my Peace Corps service I plan to move into a long term career. There are many ideas I have at this point of what I may want to do when that time comes, but I also realize that it may all change during my time in Peace Corps. Peace Corps will be an eye opening experience for me in many ways. I believe that learning a new language will test my abilities to faithfully study content that I will lean on for the rest of my service, influencing my study skills long after Peace Corps. The stories I hear from members of the communities will bring new perspectives that challenge my own. Serving with my wife will strengthen our relationship for the rest of our lives through the happy and hard experiences we face together.
The work I do in Peace Corps will help me gain further insight on community based organizations, and how they can work together with government agencies. An interest of mine going into Peace Corps has been the way in which money is invested by the government and philanthropic organizations to impact low-income and high need communities. My service in Uganda will continue to offer me many insights on how this looks in different cultures and places.
Finally, committing to serving others for two years of my life will build off of a commitment that has already run throughout much of my life. Serving in Uganda will continue to make this commitment to service stronger. Since I was a young child I have felt a strong draw to serving those around me. This yearning has lead me to work in non-profit organizations, earn a college degree in Reconciliation studies, and to complete two years of AmeriCorps service. My time in Peace Corps will continue to strengthen my commitment to service, and continue to teach me the complexities of what it means to serve those of differing backgrounds.