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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA rises in annual Peace Corps’ rankings

UA rises in annual Peace Corps rankings

The UA climbed eight spots on the list of large universities producing Peace Corps volunteers.

With 76 alumni serving in the Peace Corps, the UA jumped from 20th to 12th on the “”Peace Corps Top Colleges and Universities”” list, published by the group.

Aaron Hoholik, a Peace Corps recruiter and graduate student studying language, reading and culture and public administration, said he attributes the increased interest to support from the UA, as well as the number of faculty and students that are return Peace Corps volunteers and Peace Corps events held on campus and around the community.

“”We’re just delighted. I think there is a real ethic of service here at the UA,”” said Georgia Ehlers, director of fellowships and community engagement at the Graduate College. “”We’re just really glad to see the spurt.””

There are around 60 faculty members that are former Peace Corps members and 56 students that are Peace Corps fellows attending the UA, according to Ehlers.

“”A lot of the different programs here at the U of A definitely focus on international development work, so I think that’s kind of been an interest as well,”” Hoholik said.

One of the questions students ask frequently when preparing for the Peace Corps, according to Hoholik, is “”what is the most challenging aspect?””

Hoholik tells them the hardest part is reintegrating into the United States.

“”When you’re there and you’re in the moment you don’t really think about when you’re going to return,”” Hoholik said. He served in the African countries of Chad, from 2004 to 2006, and Benin, from 2006 to 2007.

Paul Wilson, professor of agricultural and resource economics and a former Peace Corps volunteer, said he had culture shock when he returned to the United States after working overseas, in particular with the “”consumerism of our society.””

Wilson struggled with shopping malls, grocery stores and the number of new cars on the road.

“”I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if I hadn’t had the Peace Corps experience,”” Wilson said. “”It was a significant part of directing me to research and teaching and outreach work to people.””

Wilson said he was accepted into a business program the same day he was accepted by the Peace Corps. Wilson said he has “”no regrets”” about his choice to go into the Peace Corps.

“”It has helped me become more culturally aware not only internationally but even in the United States,”” Wilson said. “”I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to have a better understanding of the world. I think it helps them understand their own country better.””

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