Anna Quinn Follows Global Path, Joins Peace Corps
Looking off into the distance, Anna Quinn ’17 has an excited twinkle in her eye these days like many LVC seniors preparing for life after graduation. She is spending her final days at The Valley planning for her next step as she joins the Peace Corps and goes abroad to Namibia, Africa.
“I'm excited, knowing that it’ll be so different,” Quinn said. “But that’s also what I’m maybe nervous about.”
Quinn will teach English as a Second Language to children in grades six through twelve as part of her two-year service commitment. She really wanted to do international work after college, so this opportunity is a dream fulfilled.
“I know whatever I do with my career I want it to involve international development,” Quinn said. “As a first step after graduation, going into the Peace Corps means that I’m starting off right.”
While studying at LVC, Quinn has taken advantage of all the opportunities offered through the Global Studies Program. Through it she has taken a variety of classes in intercultural competence and international relations. It’s because of these classes that she feels prepared to jump into this new international experience.
Plus, Quinn has traveled to all sorts of countries, including Cuba, through various LVC programs. She and her professors believe that this practical experience and course load proves her flexibility and ability to adapt abroad.
This is why Quinn feels the Peace Corps placed her in Africa, an environment that may be harder for others to adjust to.
She is confident her time at The Valley opened the door for this new journey, as Quinn traveled on a College service trip to Peru the summer after her freshman year. It was a trip she learned about when she visited campus as a high school student.
The group stayed in an indigenous Incan town outside Cusco and worked with the adults and children of the town Misminay. The students on the trip taught the children and learned the ways of the community, which included making bricks out of mud to build homes, and the process of making and dying yarn.
“My favorite part of this trip were the children in Misminay,” Quinn said. “They were so sweet and so much fun to play with.”
LVC also offered a trip to Caguas, Puerto Rico, which Quinn went on after her sophomore year. The team worked in the city at a domestic violence home, a retirement home, and two elementary schools. Remembering her time there, Quinn was impacted most by the domestic violence home.
“Their stories were so inspiring and I was influenced by their strength to stand up for themselves and their will to keep fighting for their rights,” shared Quinn. “They were amazing.”
One of her more recent adventures involved studying abroad for the Fall 2015 semester in Santiago, located in the Dominican Republic. For four months, Quinn lived with a local elderly couple and attended classes at Pontificia Universidad Catόlica Madre y Maestra. She quickly put her advanced Spanish courses from LVC into use in her classes at the university. While abroad, she not only attended classes, but also interned for Acciόn Callejera. This organization works with children and adolescents who live in social risk and difficulty. Working primarily in the communities of Los Guandules and Hato de Yaque, the residents she interacted with were either homeless or living below the poverty line.
“The people in these communities were just awesome,” Quinn said. “They were really welcoming.”
On top of classes and research for Acciόn Callejera, she also completed her senior capstone project, a 60-page essay written in Spanish. Using her experiences in the community, she discussed what the Dominican Republic government claims they will do in health services versus what is actually happening and how children are being raised to view health. She watched as her research helped the group receive grants and other funding to bring better education and additional supplies to the clinics.
Between her paper and the interactions with the children, Quinn admits, “It was by far the hardest semester of my college career, but it was also by far the best semester of my college career.”
All of this was wonderful, but Quinn is excited to explore a new culture in Africa and do something different from her past traveling. Like many seniors, she is counting down the days to graduation.
“Everything I want to do in the future, the Peace Corps embodies it. It opens the door to those next steps.”