News Editor Robbie Schwartz wrote quite a celebratory column on the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps (Happy Birthday, Peace Corps, March 2, 2011) wondering, “How would my life be different if I had been among the more than 200,000 Americans who have served in the Peace Corps?” As one of the 200,00 Americans who served, I would like to answer that question, extending an invitation to young and old to consider becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Like Robbie, I was unsure of my direction as I entered my last year of college. While born into a family of men who proudly served in our military (one earning the distinguished Navy Cross) I wanted something different. Applying to the Peace Corps was a calling and shortly before graduating I was invited to train as a volunteer in Brazil. As I student of geography I knew Brazil was the largest country in South America and the only country where Portuguese, not Spanish was spoken.