Friday, 14 June 2013

Post Fulbright...What's Next for Sandy?

 Following my graduation from Florida State University, God blessed me with the opportunity to serve as a cultural ambassador in India on behalf of the United States. I will be frank and say that my Fulbright term in India was life-changing. Life-changing in that it did not compare at all to my typical 'study abroad' experiences. This experience further developed my ability to live, work, and provide service abroad. While living in India, I took intensive Bengali language classes to be more communicative with the locals, and working full-time as a Spoken English teacher.

Upon my return, I spent a good month to reflect and readjust to living in Florida. Then, I volunteered with local organizations, ate the food I missed so much, and I visited many of my family and friends. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs asked me to work the Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) for Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) to Sub-Saharan Africa and South and Central Asia. Myself and a few other Fulbright Alumni used our prior experiences to help these new Fulbright ETAs learn how to adjust to living abroad,  handle culture shock, and how to increase awareness about Americans/American culture through being themselves in and outside of the classroom. During, the PDO I was overjoyed because it is not until you are affiliated with Fulbright when you realize the strength of the Fulbright network. Not to mention, one is able to form lifelong friendships with amazing people throughout the globe.

Altogether, my Fulbright experience was detrimental to my overall growth and decision to officially pursue the Peace Corps. Becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer is important to me because it is invaluable, critical for graduate school and it will aid in my advancement in an international development career.

On behalf of the U.S. Peace Corps, I will serve as a Community Health Adviser in Benin, West Africa. Following my pre-departure training on June 25, 2013, I officially leave for Benin to begin my in-country training and service. My term with the Peace Corps is for 27 months. During that time-frame, I will try to do my best to keep up with a new blog highlighting my experiences (key word is try). I want to especially Thank YOU for your continued support (i.e. reading this blog) this past year. Wish me luck on this next adventure!! 

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