American TESOL Institute & World Wise Schools


World Wise Schools has matched up Peace Corps Volunteer Julia H. with American TESOL Institute for a two-year exchange of ideas, stories, pictures, and artifacts that help ATI students in the classroom learn about the people, geography, environment, and the culture of the world.

Hey ATI students! Mwa la la po? (how are you all in Oshiwambo, the local language). My name is Julie and I'm currently a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Namibia in Southern Africa and will be here for 2 years. I arrived in Namibia in August when I completed a two-month training program in a town called Okahandja. The training consisted of medical, safety, technical, cultural and language sessions from 8:30 to 5 everyday during the week and sometimes even on Saturdays! There were 45 Americans with us from all over the US since the beginning and we spent all that time together so you can imagine we all became pretty good friends. While in Okahandja, we all lived in different neighborhoods with host families so it was a really good introduction to Namibia and its people and culture.

After 8 weeks as Peace Corps trainees in Okahandja, we swore in as volunteers on October 16 and moved to our sites the next day! The volunteers in our group are spread out throughout the entire country and the majority of our group are English, Science, or Math teachers since we are all education volunteers (there are also health volunteers in Namibia). I am a bit of a special case because although technically I am lumped in with the education volunteers, I actually am not a teacher at a school. I am an ICT Volunteer (Information and Communications Technology) and am working at a community library at my site. Of our group, there are four ICT Volunteers and only two of us won't be at schools.

So now that you have the background, I can tell you a little bit about my site, which I have been at now for two weeks! I was placed in a small town called Omuthiya in Owamboland which consists of four regions in the Northern part of the country. Omuthiya was recently proclaimed a town and is definitely in the PROCESS of developing. I kind of feel like I have the best of both worlds here since I do have some of the amenities of a town but also live 4km off the main road (about an hour's walk) in a village. I definitely mean *some* amenities since there is no grocery store here and I have to travel 80km to my shopping town of Ondangwa to buy food! I am living on a traditional Owambo homestead with a host family who are really awesome. A homestead is a collection of huts and houses owned by one extended family and surrounded by a ton of land. My Meme and Tate (Mother & Father in Oshiwambo) are older and their kids are all grown and have moved away but there are several Namibian students (or learners, as they are called here) who live here and help out because of the homestead's proximity to local schools. Additionally, there are several farmers who also live and work here. I have my own little 4-room concrete house on the homestead and there is no electricity or running water. There is a water tap in a different section of the homestead so I am able to fetch water whenever I need it. A lot of other volunteers on homesteads have bucket showers and pit latrines but I am lucky enough to have a flush toilet and (cold!) shower which are both located in another little house on the homestead.

My job is still pretty new which means I'm still getting the hang of things and figuring things out but I'm really liking it so far. I am currently helping to open a new library in town which has included setting up a computer lab there, helping to move in furniture, facilitating setting up the internet, and organizing and shelving books. Organizing the books is what my days mostly consist of right now. It's very time consuming! I can't wait for the library to actually be open. I have lots of ideas for what I want to do there when community members start using it!

So that's a little snapshot of my life right now. It's all very new and exciting and I'm really liking it! Where are some of the places that you all will be teaching? What are some of your reasons for wanting to teach abroad?? I'd love to hear about you guys!! Feel free to e-mail with any questions - I'll do my best to answer you as quickly as I can. Talk to you soon!!


Peace Corps celebrates 59th birthday during Peace Corps Week

WASHINGTON ? From March 1 - 7, 2020, Peace Corps celebrates Peace Corps Week and President John F. Kennedy?s establishment of the agency on March 1, 1961. The theme this year is Peace Corps 2020+: Building the Future.

Throughout the week, people across the United States will participate in events that commemorate Peace Corps? 59th birthday and celebrate all the ways the agency makes a difference at home and abroad.

?With this new decade, we are looking forward,? says Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. ?The world is much more connected today and we see its opportunities for our agency. This Peace Corps Week, we celebrate the ways our host communities and volunteers are innovating, creating and adapting to create a better future. I thank every returned Peace Corps volunteer for their dedication to service and their willingness to create meaningful relationships across cultures, borders and languages.?

In the lead-up to Peace Corps Week, the agency held a photo challenge asking current and returned volunteers to submit photographs embodying the three goals of Peace Corps. One photo challenge winner will be announced on Facebook and Instagram each day during Peace Corps Week, with a total of six winners.

Over 20 Peace Corps Week events are taking place around the country. Activities include discussion panels with returned volunteers, information sessions with recruiters, film screenings, and storytelling events. Returned volunteers participating in these events will share photos, music, culture and stories from their countries of service. For a full list of suggested activities, visit the Peace Corps Week page.

Publ.Date : Mon, 02 Mar 2020 20:08:19 +0000

Peace Corps announces 2020 top volunteer-producing schools

WASHINGTON ? Peace Corps announced today its 2020 ranking of top volunteer-producing colleges and universities. The schools are classed in large, medium or small categories, as well as a graduate school and an all-time category, which ranks the top Peace Corps volunteer-producing schools since 1961, the year of the agency?s inception.

?These schools are institutions that emphasize being global citizens and service-minded students,? said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. ?I am excited to know the graduates coming from Peace Corps? top colleges are using their skills to make a positive impact on their communities at home and abroad.?

In the large school category, the University of Wisconsin?Madison continues to hold the No. 1 spot. After placing ninth in 2019, the University of Florida is now in second place; the school sent 70 alumni to Peace Corps service, 14 more than the previous year. At No. 4, the University of Maryland also rose in the ranks with 66 alums joining the Peace Corps, an increase of 11.

Large Colleges & Universities ? Total Volunteers:

More than 15,000 Undergraduates

1) University of Wisconsin-Madison - 79

2) University of Florida - 70

3) University of Virginia - 68

4) University of Maryland - College Park - 68

5) University of Georgia -64

For schools with between 15,000 and 5,000 undergraduates, George Washington University (GW) held the No. 1 spot with 62 alumni sent to Peace Corps service. GW has held the No. 1 spot in this category since 2018. American University is in second place for the third year in a row.

Medium Colleges & Universities ? Total Volunteers:

Between 5,000 and 15,000 undergraduates

1) George Washington University - 62

2) American University - 48

3) College of William and Mary - 46

4) University of Vermont - 45

5) Tulane University - 34

St. Lawrence University sent 19 former students to the Peace Corps, earning first place in the small schools category. Dartmouth has risen from No. 6 on the list last year to No. 2 in 2020.

Small Colleges & Universities ? Total Volunteers:

Fewer than 5,000 undergraduates

1) St. Lawrence University - 19

2) Dartmouth College - 15

3) Eckerd College - 14

4) Bucknell University - 13 (tied)

4) Allegheny - 13 (tied)

4) Whitman College - 13 (tied)

Though ranked No. 6 last year, GW now holds first place on the graduate schools list. Four schools are tied for the No. 2 spot: NYU, Tulane, University of South Florida and University of Washington, which did not place on the list in 2019.

Graduate Schools ? Total Volunteers:

All categories

1) George Washington University - 14

2) New York University - 11 (tied)

2) Tulane University - 11 (tied)

2) University of South Florida - 11 (tied)

2) University of Washington - 11 (tied)

Historically, the University of California - Berkeley has sent the most alumni to Peace Corps service: 3,741.

All Time Since 1961

All categories

1) University of California - Berkeley - 3,741

2) University of Wisconsin - Madison - 3,369

3) University of Washington -3,101

4) University of Michigan - Ann Arbor - 2,775

5) University of Colorado - Boulder - 2,556

The Peace Corps ranks its top volunteer-producing colleges and universities annually according to the size of the student body. View the complete 2020 rankings of the top 25 schools in each category here.

*Rankings are calculated based on fiscal year 2019 data as of September 30, 2019, as self-reported by Peace Corps volunteers.

Publ.Date : Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:15:04 +0000

Peace Corps Monitoring Coronavirus Outbreak

WASHINGTON ? Since the outbreak was first reported in early January, the Peace Corps has been closely monitoring the coronavirus with the State Department Bureaus of Medical Affairs and Diplomatic Security, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization, to safeguard volunteers and staff at Peace Corps posts around the world.

Peace Corps medical officers are communicating with volunteers on how to mitigate the risks of exposure, and an interdisciplinary working group is working closely with overseas posts to track and analyze the impact on the agency and to ensure an effective and timely response.

Each Peace Corps program has developed specific protocols for the coronavirus that have been included in their Emergency Action Plans. Volunteers are thoroughly trained in their roles and responsibilities, and posts are prepared to respond to public health emergencies like the coronavirus outbreak.

All volunteers from Peace Corps China were evacuated safely. Globally, no volunteers or staff have been infected.

Peace Corps will remain vigilant and take all necessary precautions until this epidemic subsides.

Publ.Date : Fri, 07 Feb 2020 21:13:05 +0000

Peace Corps China Volunteers Evacuated Safely

WASHINGTON ? Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and related school closures and travel constraints, all Peace Corps China volunteers were safely evacuated out of the country, the Peace Corps announced today, February 5.

The 139 volunteers will close their service.

The evacuation of current volunteers follows a recent decision by the Peace Corps to graduate its China program.

Since Peace Corps China began in 1993, approximately 1,300 volunteers have worked alongside educators at more than 140 Chinese colleges, universities and technical schools to strengthen English language learning.

?My heart goes out to the extraordinary volunteers and staff who are participating in the Close of Service conference and preparing for the next steps in their lives,? said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. ?I am proud of their hard work and strong commitment to this program, which brought our two countries closer together and gave Chinese students and educators a deeper understanding of American culture. However, with the many significant changes in China over the past 26 years, we recently made the decision to phase out and graduate the program. We then had to evacuate our volunteers because of the unexpected current public health emergency. Once again, I want to thank our volunteers and staff and our many partners in China who made the Peace Corps a part of their lives this past quarter century.?

Publ.Date : Wed, 05 Feb 2020 17:19:27 +0000

Peace Corps announces 2019 top volunteer-producing states

District of Columbia holds No. 1 spot for third year in a row; Massachusetts enters top ten per capita.

WASHINGTON ?Peace Corps released today its 2019 rankings of the top volunteer-producing states and metropolitan areas across the United States.

?I commend the community leaders from these top states for their continued support of the Peace Corps," said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. "Volunteers make a powerful impact when they share their unique hometown perspectives with the communities they serve abroad. Serving with this agency is an opportunity for all Americans to develop the skills they need in a global world.?

The four lists are: Top Volunteer-producing States per Capita; Top Volunteer-producing States Overall; Top Volunteer-producing Metropolitan Areas per Capita; and Top Volunteer-producing Metropolitan Areas Overall.

2019 Top States ? Per Capita (# of volunteers per 100,000 residents)

1) District of Columbia ? 18.2

2) Vermont ? 8.1

3) Montana ? 5.1

4) Virginia ? 4.5

5) Maryland ? 4.3

6) Oregon ? 4.2

7) New Hampshire ? 4.1

7) Colorado ? 4.1

8) Maine ? 3.8

9) Washington ? 3.6

9) Massachusetts ? 3.6

10) Minnesota ? 3.5

The nation?s capital is the largest producer of volunteers per capita, with approximately 18 volunteers per 100,000 citizens, a 23% increase from 2018. Vermont is No. 2 for the third year in a row and for the sixth consecutive year Montana comes in at No. 3 on the per capita list. Massachusetts has made this list for the first time ever, at No. 9.

2019 Top States ? Total Volunteers

1) California ? 851

2) New York ? 413

3) Virginia ? 384

4) Texas ? 368

5) Florida ? 341

6) Pennsylvania ? 293

7) Illinois ?279

8) Washington ? 271

9) Maryland ? 259

10) Massachusetts ? 247

For over a decade California and New York have ranked No.1 and No. 2, respectively, on the Top States Overall list. In 2019, California sent 851 citizens to serve in the Peace Corps, 15 more than in 2018.

2019 Top Metropolitan Areas ? Per Capita (# of volunteers per 100,000 residents)

1) Charlottesville, VA ? 16.5

2) Missoula, MT ? 13.7

3) Fort Collins, CO ? 13.3

4) Burlington-South Burlington, VT ? 11.8

4) Ithaca, NY ? 11.8

5) Bellingham, WA ?10.9

6) Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA ? 10.7

7) Bloomington, IN ? 10.0

8) Columbia, MO ? 9.8

9) State College, PA ? 9.7

9) Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna, CA ? 9.7

10) Harrisonburg, VA ? 9.6

10) Ann Arbor, MI ?9.6

Although it never ranked before 2018, Charlottesville, VA, again takes the No. 1 spot for top volunteer-producing metropolitan areas per capita, Charlottesville sent 36 citizens to service in 2019, 10 more than in 2018.

2019 Top Metropolitan Areas ? Total Volunteers

1) Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ? 472

2) New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ? 217

3) Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ? 212

4) Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ? 155

5) Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA ? 149

6) Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ? 140

7) Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA ? 117

8) Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ? 109

9) San Diego-Carlsbad, CA ? 106

10) Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH ? 103

For the first time in three years, the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area takes the No. 1 spot overall for top volunteer-producing metropolitan areas.

Virginia and Washington appear on all four lists, with Virginia claiming a top five spot on each.

Peace Corps is unique among service organizations because volunteers live and work at the community level. Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Applicants can apply to specific programs by visiting the Peace Corps website and connecting with a recruiter.

*Peace Corps data current as of September 30, 2019. The metropolitan area data used to determine Peace Corps? rankings are derived from the most current U.S. Census Bureau ?Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area? data. Volunteers self-report their home city and state on their Peace Corps application.

Publ.Date : Wed, 15 Jan 2020 15:58:04 +0000

World Wise Schools program celebrates 30th anniversary during International Education Week
Paul D. Coverdell, the founder of the World Wise Schools program and former Director of the Peace Corps, participates in a World Wise Schools activity in Houston circa 1990.

WASHINGTON?Today the Peace Corps' Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools (WWS) program celebrates the 30th anniversary of its founding by sharing new interactive resources that teach intercultural understanding and global competence to young people. Over the past 30 years, more than two million students and 25,000 Peace Corps volunteers have engaged with WWS.

In 2019, 3,985 Peace Corps volunteers?over half the total population?participated.

Established in 1989 by former Peace Corps Director Paul D. Coverdell, the WWS program provides over 500 online resources to U.S. learners, teachers and current and returned Peace Corps volunteers. Educators can use published WWS materials to teach understanding and respect for other cultures worldwide. Teachers can incorporate WWS materials into existing study units or use them as the centerpiece of an interdisciplinary curriculum. Around 13,000 educators per year access and engage with these materials.

?It?s through the World Wise Schools program that anyone in the U.S. can see into another society and meet people from across the globe in an intercultural exchange,? says Katie Hamann, a Peace Corps program specialist on the team that runs World Wise Schools. ?I truly believe this is key to creating a globally competent classroom, community and world.?

World Wise Schools also fosters an appreciation of global issues by facilitating communication among Peace Corps volunteers and students in the form of letters, phone calls and video chats. By providing these educational resources to promote global competence, the program supports the Peace Corps' Third Goal of teaching Americans about the world.

?I?ve heard from educators, students and group leaders about the impact of these interactions between Peace Corps volunteers and their classrooms,? says Hamann. ?The world is made a bit smaller through understanding others. It takes getting uncomfortable as well as a willingness to challenge your perspective and be curious.?

Today, World Wise Schools continues to provide easy-to-implement programs that educators can incorporate into their classrooms. This partnership provides an engaging and creative way for students to learn about the countries and communities that Peace Corps volunteers serve.

To learn more about the impact of the World Wise Schools program or to access the academic resources offered, visit

Publ.Date : Fri, 15 Nov 2019 16:15:04 +0000

Peace Corps mourns the loss of Chidinma Ezeani

WASHINGTON ? Peace Corps Ghana Volunteer Chidinma ?Chi? Ezeani, 30, of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., passed away at a hospital in South Africa on October 26 due to injuries sustained in an accident in her home.

Chi, an agriculture volunteer, entered the Peace Corps in September 2017 following a career in finance and accounting in California.

?Chi was an outstanding volunteer and a beloved member of the Peace Corps family,? said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. ?We are devastated by this loss and praying for Chi?s parents and loved ones, including her many friends and colleagues in Ghana. We are with them through these difficult days, and we join them in honoring Chi and celebrating her life and service.?

In an aspiration statement prior to being sworn in, Chi wrote about her desire to share her business and interpersonal skills in Ghana.

?Communication, work ethic, and flexibility are some professional attributes I would provide during my service,? she wrote. ?I believe understanding the local language will benefit me in gaining trust from the community. Also, I believe communication with my fellow Peace Corps volunteers and staff would make me feel comfortable in a shorter period of time.?

Peace Corps Ghana staff said Chi was deeply committed to building the capacity of her community members to adopt farming practices that would increase food production and improve household nutrition.

She worked closely with local junior high school students to establish school gardens and provide agricultural training, inspiring families to start their own gardens and seek opportunities for selling vegetables.

A leader among her peers, Chi served as the co-chair of the Peace Corps Ghana Diversity Support group, which provides emotional support to all volunteers. She had recently been approved to extend her service in Ghana for a third year.

Chi earned a bachelor?s degree in accounting and finance at the University of California, Riverside in 2011. While working at financial firm Foresight ASG in San Francisco, she was a volunteer accounting and business consultant to several not-for-profit organizations in the Bay Area.

In her free time, Chi studied film at the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking and worked in film production.

Chidinma Ezeani is survived by her father Hyacinth Ezeani, a dentist; mother Ifeoma Ezeani, an optometrist; sister Adaora Ezeani, a doctor; and brother Chiemelie Ezeani, a student of economics at USC.

Publ.Date : Tue, 29 Oct 2019 15:34:14 +0000

Peace Corps re-establishes program in Solomon Islands

WASHINGTON ? Almost 20 years after departing Solomon Islands, the Peace Corps announced it will re-establish operations in the South Pacific nation. Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen and the Honorable Harry Kuma, minister of Finance and Treasury of Solomon Islands, celebrated the announcement during a reception today at Peace Corps headquarters.

?Based on the results of a thorough assessment earlier this year, we are pleased to support the return of Peace Corps volunteers,? said Director Olsen. ?We are grateful to the Government and people of Solomon Islands for their invitation to have Peace Corps volunteers serve side-by-side with Solomon Islanders in their beautiful country.?

Peace Corps? efforts in Solomon Islands will initially focus on education and will recruit short-term volunteers with experience in Peace Corps? education sector to help re-establish the program. This first group of volunteers is scheduled to arrive mid-2021.

In late 2021, the second group of volunteers is slated to arrive. They will undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their two-year assignments.

From 1971 to 2000, more than 700 Peace Corps volunteers served in Solomon Islands.

Publ.Date : Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:08:41 +0000

Congressman Joe Kennedy III speaks at Peace Corps headquarters

WASHINGTON ? Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts delivered remarks at Peace Corps headquarters September 11, reflecting on his Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic more than a decade ago and stressing the importance of sending American volunteers to live and work around the world today.

Kennedy, a co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Peace Corps Caucus, was invited to address the Peace Corps community as part of the agency?s longstanding Loret Miller Ruppe Speakers Series.

Remembering the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, he said, ?We will, as humanity, reject hate and violence. What is the best response to hate and violence? I?m not sure I can come up with a better answer than the Peace Corps. By sending Americans to other countries to simply say, ?How can I help??

Congressman Kennedy served in a rural town in the Dominican Republic from 2004 to 2006, partnering with his neighbors on efforts to improve conditions for workers and grow the local economy through tourism in scenic areas.

?There?s not a day that goes by that I don?t draw from that experience,? he said.

During a going away party near the end of his two years of service, he encountered a man who had been skeptical of outsiders.

?He pulls me aside and says, ?You did a good job here, but it took us over a year to trust you,?? said Kennedy.

The congressman said volunteers? long-term commitment to their host communities and willingness to live and work alongside their neighbors and learn the local language and culture make the Peace Corps successful.

Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen pointed out that Kennedy?s project is still in operation and serves as a model for new volunteers.

She asked if he had a message for currently serving volunteers.

?Every volunteer is an ambassador of the United States, and the impacts they will have on the community are going to last well beyond their term of service,? said Congressman Kennedy. ?The opportunity, the responsibility that volunteers have, to be selected by the United States government to be good stewards. It?s an extraordinary opportunity, and you will also see the expectations the world places on us. This matters.?

Don Clark, who was Kennedy?s supervisor in the Dominican Republic, was on hand for Wednesday?s event. Also in attendance were Loret Miller Ruppe?s daughters Mary Ruppe Nash and Adele Ruppe.

The Loret Miller Ruppe Speakers Series honors the agency?s longest serving director and is a forum for world leaders to speak about issues related to the Peace Corps? mission, including volunteerism, public service, and international peace and development.

Publ.Date : Thu, 12 Sep 2019 13:42:29 +0000

Peace Corps to Re-Establish Program in Kenya

WASHINGTON, D.C.? Over five years after the suspension of its program in Kenya, the Peace Corps announced today it will re-open its doors in the East African country.

?Since the departure of our volunteers in 2014, the Government of Kenya, the Peace Corps and the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi have been steadfast in our desire to return to the important work volunteers were doing throughout the country,? said Jody Olsen, Director of the Peace Corps. ?Based on the results of a thorough assessment earlier this year, we have determined that in-country conditions support the return of Peace Corps volunteers. We look forward to working with our friends and colleagues in Kenya, continuing to build bonds of international peace and friendship together.?

Peace Corps? efforts in Kenya will focus on math, science and deaf education. Once in Kenya, volunteers will undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their assignments to serve for two years. The first Peace Corps volunteers to serve after the suspension of the post will arrive in late 2020. Available positions can be found here.

Since the program was established in 1964, more than 5,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Kenya.

Publ.Date : Tue, 20 Aug 2019 18:54:27 +0000