Jennifer Wichmann '06 serves as an English teaching volunteer in the Peace Corps.
"I went into Macalester interested in studying and possibly living abroad, and I think being in an environment that not only accepts that, but encourages internationalism, both through the education and the social environment of the students, really made me believe that Peace Corps was doable."
The first Peace Corps information session I attended was at Macalester, and I remember thinking that I wasn’t capable of doing that job.
I worked for a couple years to save money, and then earnestly explored my options again. I decided that the Peace Corps was the best way to combine my desire to live abroad with my in interest in doing something that would have a positive impact on the world.
In my primary project in Nicaragua, I’ve worked one-on-one with three public school English teachers in my municipality, helping them to plan and teach classes. I’ve also worked with other volunteers to train additional teachers. I received a grant to cover the cost of food and materials for that training session.
At a national conference for English teachers, another volunteer and I taught a session on how to improve your English. I also taught a session on principles of learning and behavior in the English classroom.
In addition, I have organized an advanced English speakers conversation group and have taught two community English classes, including one to the staff of a local NGO. I’ve assisted that NGO with several efforts, including writing project proposals and facilitating a workshop on identifying local community needs.
My other work here includes
• Submitting a proposal to cover the costs of training 30 youth health promoters who will teach about HIV/AIDS and self-esteem
• Participating in a U.S. Embassy’s Intensive English Summer Camp with 81 students from across Nicaragua
• Teaching culture and ballet classes
• Leading a group of eight boys on field trips and in doing other activities