Peace Corps Experience
- Cornell University
- 2013 (expected)
- Masters in Regional Planning
- Northwestern University
From 2009 to 2011, I taught English as a foreign language at Hun Sen Prasot High School in the Kingdom of Cambodia; as a secondary project I helped develop the school library.
But, the preceding sentences don't capture much of what my life was like in the Peace Corps in Cambodia. They don't conjure the feeling of waking up at 5:30 a.m. to the sound of a rooster crowing and to the smell of my host mother making coffee and "bai s'aik chruk" (rice and pork) for breakfast; they can't tell you what it was like to sing "Jingle Bells" with a chorus of 60 giggling, ultra-enthusiastic 9th graders on Christmas Day; nor do they illustrate the sensation of falling asleep to the sound of sweeping monsoon rains, beating in undulating waves upon the neighbor's corrugated metal roof. They can't paint a scene of me running on a tiny dirt path through emerald rice paddies stretching as far as the eye can see, being trailed by cheering kids on bikes. They don't even hint at the festival of deliciousness that is mango season, or the feeling of accomplishment that comes when a few of one's students ace competitive and rigorous National Exams and ultimately earn scholarships to study medicine, IT, and other advanced fields at university; they cannot copy a student's heartfelt whisper after class: "Teacher, I will remember you forever".
In short, for two years I focused on just living, in simple conditions and for those around me, and ultimately I grew to love and be loved by people who otherwise would have been complete strangers on the far side of the world. I joined Peace Corps for a variety of admirable but mostly wrong reasons; I did Peace Corps because of the love I found there.