Posted on Friday, December 28, 2012
Caitlin Hughes '12, who joined the Peace Corps in September as an English teacher, says her experiences at HWS have helped her get to where she is today.
"I can't really see myself being here without my time at HWS," says Hughes, who graduated with a B.A. in international relations and was active in many community-service oriented activities while on campus.
"From the classroom to the on-campus jobs, to all the extracurricular activities I participated in, HWS crafted me into the person I am today."
Hughes recently completed her 12-week training session in Rwanda, studying the Kinyarwanda language while adapting to a new culture. In her training sessions, Hughes spent nine hours a day, five days a week, in the classroom learning about the Kinyarwanda lifestyle, health issues, security and various aspects of teaching.
Despite admitting some difficulties that are expected while adapting to a new environment, Hughes says she would not change a thing.
"As much as I could complain about some of the challenges I was faced with, I absolutely loved the experience for what it was and would never change a moment of it," she says.
Upon completing the required training sessions, Hughes was assigned to a small village in the Western Province of Rwanda where she is currently working at a boarding school, teaching English while also serving as a helpful resource in the promotion of hope and prosperity within the community.
According to Hughes, the Peace Corps has three primary objectives that volunteers are expected to accomplish: offer technical and skilled support to the community, teach American culture, and learn the Rwandan culture.
While at William Smith, Hughes was an active participant in the America Reads program, HWS Responds, Days of Service, and studied abroad in South Africa and Jordan. Guided by her passion for community engagement, Hughes spent a lot of her time volunteering for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, while also taking part in various projects in her community.
"I've been involved in community service and volunteer work since high school because it was something I have always felt passionately about, and I also knew I needed to establish a background in the work I've done in order to get into the Peace Corps."
The photo above features Caitlin Hughes '12 while studying abroad in Europe.