Study Abroad Experience leads to Peace Corps

Rebecca Anderson ’14 studied at Elizabethtown College and received her degree in Occupational Therapy. She is now working as a health volunteer in Peace Corps Ghana. Her study abroad experience was a major factor in deciding to join the Peace Corps.

Five years ago, Rebecca flew to Chennai, India to study abroad. It was her first time traveling and living outside the western world. As soon as she got off the plane, Rebecca felt the heat, saw mobs of people, and inhaled smells she never experienced before.

A few months later, she was adjusting to Indian culture and making local friends. She was also working with a small organization called the Women in Need Foundation (WIN). Several times a week, she would travel to a nearby village to work with her Indian social work counterpart on projects. They would meet with local leaders and perform interviews with women and children. Over four months, they conducted programs on health sanitation, taught English class, led programs on gender equality and domestic violence, and helped in any way possible.

Rebecca’s time at win gave her a taste for development work. As her time in India came to an end, she realized the women in the community were beginning to trust her. They were more open about issues they had originally been hesitant to share. Rebecca became frustrated that her time in India was so short.

After returning to the US, Rebecca felt as though she needed to do more. She had learned about herself, the world, and the challenges people face abroad. She realized to make an impact she must be embedded within the community. To make change, one must understand the culture and achieve trust with those you are trying to help. These realizations led Rebecca to join the Peace Corps.

As a member of Peace Corps, Ghana, Rebecca spent her first three months doing training. She lived with a host family, studied the language, learned the culture, and implemented small projects. For the next two years, she will live in a local village, completing health related projects including water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and nutrition. A normal day for Rebecca currently involves learning to cook local foods, watching men play cards, working in her garden, playing with children, shucking corn, doing laundry by hand, attending meetings, learning the language, bargaining at the market, and dancing. She is overall working on creating a relationship with the community.

Studying abroad was an experience which led her on her path of joining the Peace Corps.

*Click on the hyperlinks above to learn more about the Peace Corps and to read Becca’s original blog published by BCA Study Abroad on July 17, 2017.

One thought on “Study Abroad Experience leads to Peace Corps

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: