On the Peace Corps Forum one of our users goes by the username of shawn. Here is a little bit about him...Tell us about yourself:
My name is Shawn. I am from Prior Lake, Minnesota. I graduated from the University of Minnesota at Duluth in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication and worked on and off as an Audio Technician and Live Sound Engineer in the greater Twin Cities prior to joining Peace Corps in late 2010How did you became interested in the Peace Corps?
Iíve always been into serving communities and people. The idea of the Peace Corps to me sounded awesome because I could help people who really need it in my own ways. Plus, the idea of gaining a better understanding of the world is a huge plus.Tell us about your Peace Corps Service:
I am currently a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader (PCVL) in Rwanda. I arrived here in October of 2010 as an Education Volunteer for Math and Sciences. I served in Cyahinda, a village in southern Rwanda on the Burundi border. Primarily, I taught 8th grade Math and 11th/12th grade Computer Literacy, but my second year I focused mainly on ICT and technology education. I extended in November of 2012 to serve as the Peace Corps Volunteer Leader (PCVL) for Rwanda. Now, in my third year of service, I mostly work with Volunteer support, training logistics, and fostering technology integration. I also coordinate Volunteerism for kLab (Knowledge Lab) here in Rwanda, a hackerspace designed to incubate and foster local companies and IT solutions.Tell us about your most memorable moment in your service:
My most memorable moment so far has to be working with all my 11th grade students to create email addresses. After two weeks of explaining the concepts behind electronic mail and acquiring enough USB modems and phone credit to get online, it took my counterpart and me two full days to get all of the students through the process, but it was worth it watching them send small emails to each other. I still receive emails from many of them on a regular basis. What was really memorable was having to explain to the students in the local language that there was absolutely no magic involved whatsoever!What are some of your hobbies and interests?
I play a lot of Ultimate Frisbee with Rwandans and Ex-patriots. I've also been spending my spare time this past year learning on how speed-solve a Rubik's Cube (my record is 40 seconds). I'm also really into outdoor adventure: backpacking, sea kayaking, long-distance hiking, that sort of thing. I'm really looking forward to getting to do more of that after COS.What do your family and friends think of all this?
My family has always been supportive of my service and desire to join the Peace Corps. At first my father thought that I was a little crazy, choosing to move halfway around the world to Rwanda instead of getting into a career, but he tells me now that I'm doing what I should be doing.They're ready to have me back after 3 years, though. It's a constant struggle trying to stay in touch with my good friends from outside Peace Corps and even harder trying to get them to understand a small bit of what service is like. Some of them think I'm a little crazy for joining and most of them think I'm even more crazy for extending, but I know the unemployed ones are secretly jealous! But in all seriousness, my non-Peace Corps friends (...and my Peace Corps friends, I suppose) tell me frequently that the kinds of things I do as a Volunteer and incredible and how they wish they'd have had the experiences as well.What are your plans for the future?
Iíll finish my service in January of 2014 and will travel the world a bit before heading back to the good olí USA. Iím looking at getting into tech consulting and possibly pursuing a Masters in Technology or Applied Sciences.What are your thoughts about the Forum?
I think this is a great tool that fills a need for Invitees, PCVs, and RPCVs. The way we interact as a community is changing and we as an organization need to change with it. A forum like this provides a great place to ask the questions your Peace Corps Recruiter might not know the answers to. It allows Volunteers all across the globe to interact, share ideas, and pick each othersí brains for project ideas, best practices, and coping strategies. The Forum provides a neat way to connect the larger Peace Corps community across the Volunteer continuum, allowing Invitees, PCVs, and RPCVs to ask, share, and learn from each other. Once we have been at it for a while, the forum will also act as a unique repository of answers and information about applying, serving, integrating, adjusting, and returning. All in all, I think the Peace Corps Forum stands to be the greatest Internet-based addition to a PCVs service.Shawn's Blog address: http://shawngrund.blogspot.com/