“It may seem like something small, but my life changed when someone came to my high school and talked about studying abroad,” says MIIS student and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Patrick McMurdo MAIEM ’15 (PC Ukraine 2010-12). With that experience in mind, he happily joined career advisor Edy Rhodes in organizing an outreach effort to local middle and high school students during National Peace Corps Week celebrated March 1-7. Five teams of MIIS students who are also Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV’s), often joined by international students from the countries where they served, visited three local schools and gave presentations about their experience and the culture.
The Middlebury Institute and the Peace Corps have enjoyed a longstanding and successful partnership through programs such as the Peace Corps Master’s International and the Peace Corps Fellows. In addition, many of our faculty, staff and students are Returned Volunteers so it should come as no surprise that Peace Corps Week is celebrated in depth on campus every year. This year events included a movie night, a taco safari on bicycles, a papusa excursion and beach day as well as the local student outreach.
MIIS students shared their Peace Corps experiences from Senegal, China, Paraguay, Colombia, Jordan and Panama and were joined by students from three of those countries, Senegal, Colombia and China. They visited El Puente High School in Salinas, Monterey High School and the International School of Monterey in Seaside. All said, they reached close to 450 students with their informative and entertaining presentations. The wonder of it all according to Patrick McMurdo is that these events have the potential to have a “much bigger impact than we can record or recognize.”