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Group 130 Yearbook: I Knew I Wanted…

Peace Corps Thailand Group 130

We all joined Peace Corps for different reasons and the reasons why we continue will change throughout this 27 month long journey. As we enter the new year, hopefully this yearbook prompt can serve as a reminder to all of us why we initially decided to take on the role of a Peace Corps Volunteer. While these responses aren’t representative of all of Group 130’s volunteers, here is a snippet of what motivated some of us to be here —using the prompt “I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after…” I hope this prompt also encourages all of you to look back on where you were last year and what you were doing leading up to applying to and completing requirements for Peace Corps. I hope you’re able to see how you’ve changed and realize that you’re here and you made it this far. — Ruhamaiah Bradley, Assistant Editor-in-Chief


I knew I wanted to join peace corps after the epiphany that success in adulthood was often attained through many channels of self-interest. I needed to change the definition of success that I was surrounded by. — Poonam Benakatti

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after spending time in Morocco teaching English to adults. After my students had asked me, “why do Americans think we [muslims] are terrorists?” I knew I wanted to be involved in work that showed others that there is more than one face of America. That we’re not all blonde hair and blue eyed and that we empathize and are open minded. — Ruhamaiah Bradley

I knew I wanted to join PC when I re-assessed my life priorities after almost seriously injuring myself shooting a reality show about a crazy cat lady. — Alice

I knew I wanted to join Peace Corps after theatre wasn’t fulfilling me the way I’d hoped, and I wanted to do something more impactful. Now I do theatre all the time at site and I couldn’t be happier. — Skyler Matthias

I honestly can’t remember where I heard about Peace Corps, but I know I’ve wanted to join forever. Shortly before I left for Thailand I was reading through all of my old journals with one of my best friends. We came across an entry from when I was 16 that said, “When I graduate college I am going to join the Peace Corps for 2 years.” And here I am, 8 years later, almost on my second year of Peace Corps Thailand. Although it’s been extremely overwhelming and challenging at times, it’s also been the most rewarding and humbling experience I’ve ever had. I’m so so grateful that I followed through with my young, adventurous 16-year old dreams. — Bethany McHugh

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after I realized that I was losing passion in the workplace, I wasn’t feeling like the best version of myself, and I was losing an appreciation of all the little moments that make life beautiful. — Philip Hendrix

I knew I wanted to join Peace Corps after I spoke with one of my good friends about her lifestyle, living and working abroad. I thought it was so amazing how she moved throughout the world and had the opportunity to learn about different cultures while simultaneously interacting and working with diverse individuals. She created a lifestyle that she loved, and not surprisingly, I loved the idea of doing the same. To be able to travel and teach simultaneously was a dream, and by applying to Peace Corps, I knew that I was taking the first step in making my dream reality. — Kara Anthony

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after Donald Trump got elected. — Casey Butler-Camp

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after I realized that the American education system really, is in fact TRASH. — Berline Exume

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps when my intro to clinical psychology professor made me question everything I thought I was supposed to do after I graduated college and convinced me to drop my future plans for a life of excitement and un-comfortability. — Cyrus Ebadat

I knew I wanted to join Peace Corps after spending years reading and watching horrors unfolding around the world. I wanted to surround myself with like minded individuals who would go to extremes to help people. I needed to remind myself that there is beauty, peace, and love in this world despite what might be shown in the media. — Alexis Baker

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after … I struggled to find fulfillment at work in America. I was thrilled at the opportunity to do more than operate within the expectations of American society. In the Peace Corps, I have the chance to work in the education industry in a new country and experience fullness, relationship building, personal growth, challenges, realness, and unforgettable memories. — Halli Benson

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps when God broke my heart over it. I was already checking out the Peace Corps website and videos on YouTube about three months before the application was due. Back then I didn’t yet realize that I was seriously interested in applying. But then I came across a video of a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia who was filming her reflections of her last day in the country. I’m not much of a crier, but it moved me to tears. I personally believe that God spoke to me through that video, and was calling me to serve in the Peace Corps in order to humble me. Thus far it has been an incredible experience of personal growth.

Larissa Delgado

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after growing up hearing about my dad’s Peace Corps experience. — Spencer Swansen

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps because my biggest fear in life is being stagnant. — Lucy Zhao

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after meeting an RPCV as a kid. I knew I had to finally do it though when I crept closer to 25 and realized that if I didn’t do it now, I would never do it and regret it. — Yaneth Peña

I knew I wanted to join Peace Corps after my brother served as a PCV in South Korea. — Jenny Samuelson

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after my brother served as a PCV in Ethiopia. — Andy Cole

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after I realized we got work to do.  Andrea Aribe

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after I got married and everyone started asking us when we were going to have a baby. My service is more than a vacation but after working as a college and high school counselor for 6 years and my husband a teacher for 5 we really wanted a new challenge and an opportunity to serve together abroad in the education sector prior to expanding our family. — Daylisha Reid

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps when my high school teacher shared his experience serving in Mozambique. — Zari Havercome

I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after seeing the joy on the faces of my students in Quito. I spent time at a school for children with disabilities in Ecuador several years ago and those weeks brought to the surface the judgments, presumptions and opinions we have on those who are different. I knew I wanted to try to close that gap between “us” and “them.” — Nhi Le

“I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps after feeling a longing for more after every-out-of-country experience.— Christalynn Hamer


Read previous “Yearbook” entries.

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