Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why You Should Be a PCMI Student

Let me paint a picture for you:
I am sitting in my Soviet-bloc apartment kitchen (blue, probably lead-filled paint chips are falling around me), staring out my bay of poorly framed windows, watching the spring showers drench my laundry (that I forgot to reel in last night), praying that the power will stay on all day because tonight,
I defend my thesis.
If I say it enough times will it seem real? Seriously? Who thought that it was possible to (potentially) finish up a MA degree while completing a 3rd year of service? Most people think Peace Corps is rural Africa (that' s right "is rural Africa" - how many people know that Africa is a continent?) and not A DSL-crazy Azerbaijan?

Finishing up my MA degree was a big crux in my extension hopes. If it wasn't possible, I wasn't going to stay, but, it worked out. For the last year, I've been waking up at 5 a.m. three times a week to Skype into my MA classes. I have been communicating with professors and my graduate committee through emails (mostly at 10 p.m. for me - 9 a.m. for them). I have been using my textbooks to introduce my TOEFL Preparation Club to what college work looks like in the USA.'s been a trip.

And it is a trip you can have too. Seriously folks. MA + Peace Corps = education to the Nth degree. How can I best articulate this to you....

1. RD 650 - Rural Development Strategies - read: Löki learns why the Peace Corps development model is organized they way it is and then gets to actually try out different development models while trying to get her counterpart to learn how to write a grant.

2. ECON 602 - Economics for Mangers - read: Löki finally understands why the US is not a free market and what everybody is talking about in the US (and what Ben Bernanke actually does).

3. RD 699 - Thesis - read: Löki spends hours reading and talking about indigenous issues with people....whoa! New friends alert (and mad community respect).

4. (potential) MA degree - read: Löki has theoretical and experiential learning under her belt. She is the total MA package.

This could be you too. For more information, visit the Peace Corps PCMI Web page [link].

And! I lost at least 10 lbs writing my thesis because I convinced myself that coffee was water and sustenance.