After graduation most students take what they learned from their degree and search for a job close to home, but alumna Jamie Perry took the knowledge she received from the University of Central Arkansas to South Africa as a volunteer for the Peace Corps.
Perry graduated in May 2015 with a degree in health sciences, but months before she walked across the stage with her diploma, she submitted an application to become an HIV Outreach Worker for two years with the Peace Corps in South Africa.
“I wanted to join Peace Corps since my junior year of college,” Perry said. “After attending a presentation at a job fair and doing supplemental research on the organization, my decision to apply was solidified.”
In January 2016, Perry joined 29 other volunteers in a journey to Mpumalanga, a province in South Africa, where they learned four languages before being assigned to one specific language that would help them most in the village they were assigned to after being sworn in as official Peace Corps volunteers.
Perry now stays in a village located in the province Limpopo, where she works to educate rural areas and implement projects focusing on the prevention and mitigation of HIV and its impact.
“My favorite part of this experience so far has been hanging out with the children of my village. They always greet me with a swarm of hugs, are patient and willing to help me with Sepedi, which is the local language, and are receptive to what I have to say. I have a real opportunity to make an impression upon them and I am eager to take advantage of that,” Perry said.“They also accompany me to my “sunset spot,” which is the perfect place to watch sun come up. And everyday they sing Sepedi songs while we gaze at the beautiful African sunset.”
Perry has no exact plans for what she will do after she completes her two years in the Peace Corps, but she does know that reconnecting with her family and friends will be a priority.
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