Thought I would share my Motivation Statement that I wrote in March of 2009.  I have searched high and low for my Cross Cultural Essay and can’t find it anywhere.  These essays were apart of the Peace Corps application process to get oneself into the system.  There were many other hurdles and essays that I wrote to solidify my spot in Romania.

The distinct reason I want to join the Peace Corps is to implement integrity. The definition of integrity has two parts: one, a moral positioning about the distinction between right and wrong, and two, a consistent stance on this morality such that we act out what we believe and attempt to live our ideals.[1] First, the decision I have made about studying and researching the developing world has led me to make a moral decision to enact a grassroots approach.  The people living in the developing world are starving for basic human rights, and I feel the Peace Corps offers a mode in which one can contribute time to allocate basic human rights.  After an unexpected spiritual journey, my mind and soul began to see the world in a new light.  Is the American Dream my dream?  The McMansion, nice car, husband, kids, and a white picket fence are not in my foreseeable future.  This scared me to death, until I read a piece of mail stating, “Life is calling.”  Those are the first words I read one year ago.  This is when I made a moral decision to change my area of study and follow the unexpected path of joining the Peace Corps after I graduate with a Political Science and International Studies degree.  

As a Peace Corps volunteer I will have the ability to form relationships with those who are vastly different from me.  The first goal of the Peace Corps is to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.  One way to meet this goal is to successfully overcome barriers working in the host country.  I have implemented this as an AmeriCorps volunteer, specifically working with homeless children living in transitional housing.  Many of these children have disabilities, emotional detachments, and chemical dependency.  The progress and relationships I have formed with these at risk youth would not be successful if barriers were not surmounted.  The major barrier I have overcome is the racial difference between the students and me.  I am not a person of color, which the majority of the students are.  The children did not latch on to me as fast as they did with fellow volunteers, whom are people of color.  As time progresses I continue to treat each child with respect and dignity.  This has ensured positive and trustful relationships. 

In order to meet the Peace Corps second mission to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, I will be able to share truths about American culture.  Many stereotypical notions about American culture are equated to individual economic success, but many fail to see the success of coalition building across cultural barriers.  At the Women’s Community Development Organization I have successfully applied coalition building.  I developed the Early Childhood Education program with the advocates, parents, and teachers.  This has allowed a program to be accessible to any young person.  When coalitions form they often look beyond personal interests and look for the common goal.  As a Peace Corps volunteer one has to be consciously aware of the stereotypes and work towards the common goal of the coalition. 

One has to understand acceptance and learn difference in order to stare ethnocentrism head on to implement the last goal of the Peace Corps: Help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.  I will assume this task when I return from my service overseas.  I hope to pursue an advanced degree in International Relations, with emphasis in the developing world and gender studies.  Ultimately, I seek to open minds to diversity in the world we are cohabiting by education and policy making.

Overall, as a youth and community development volunteer I aspire to transmit empowerment.  Education will be empowering for the youth, cultural integration will be empowering for the mind, and individual growth will be empowering the path towards enacting my moral positions.  I have had an extensive educational background in cultural studies such as: Interpersonal and Intercultural Communications, Cultural Anthropology, Politics of Developing Nations, and International Relations, to name a few.  Also, I have participated in an International Fieldwork Study in Mexico City.  The opportunity was given to students to work hand in hand with peacekeepers and officials toward a common goal.  My classmates and I witnessed the relationship between nongovernmental organizations and government, and subsequently wrote a Policy Memo for future interactions.  The delicate relationship between these two actors within a developing society is essential for progress.  I feel with direct interaction with Mexican officials and nonprofit directors I have learned how effective a mediator can be, which the Peace Corps has been since 1963.  After these experiences expressed thus far, I feel I will be a productive and empowering member of the Peace Corps.      

[1] Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee, Women’s Voices Feminist Visions 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 2007) 712.