SVSU alumni Jessica Fehrman will be one of the first to return overseas through the Peace Corps. Fehrman graduated from SVSU in Dec. 2021 with a double major in Spanish education and history education.
In March of 2020, the Peace Corps had to suspend all global projects and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers that were currently serving. The volunteers had yet to return.
Fehrman will be serving in Ecuador.
“My program for the Peace Corps will be Youth and Families Development,” she said. “I will be working with youth and families to develop programs that will supporting them in their communities by being upstanding leaders and members in their society.”
This program has a few different focuses.
“Some of the focuses will be on career counseling, helping to teaching about health and sex education/prevention, and teaching some English,” she said. “Of course, I will be spending most of my time volunteering within my host community.”
In the Peace Corps, volunteers pick what country they’d like to serve and which program they’d like to be involved in.
“For the Peace Corps, you get to generally pick where you would like to go. It depends on the continent and the different programs that go on there,” she said. “I knew I wanted to serve in South America but I was limited to only a few countries. I ended up deciding to go to Ecuador because of the program that they provided there was right up my alley working with youth.”
She said her time spent at SVSU helped her prepare for this opportunity.
“My time at SVSU prepared me for this opportunity based on the time I spent learning about the language and culture of Hispanic and Latin American countries,” she said. “I will say most of my time at SVSU was spent in the Modern Foreign Language Department.”
The professors specifically helped her.
“The Spanish professors were able support me in my language acquisition as they pushed for us to be comfortable in our Spanish abilities with the courses being in Spanish and having conversation
tables in class,” she said. “My success in those classes will support me as I will be spending a majority of the time in Ecuador communicating only in Spanish with my host community.”
She also gave advice for those looking to join the Peace Corps.
“My advice for the those who would want to join the Peace Corps would be make the jump,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of the unknown and any self-doubt you might have. I have lived learning from my mistakes, facing my challenges in life and growing from them. If you want to do something in your life, do it. At times the process might seem long and tiring but the end results will be worth it.”
The Peace Corps also offers programs within the United States called AmeriCorps. A full list of programs and countries can be viewed on the Peace Corps website.
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