How Did Peace Corps Impact You?

How Did Peace Corps Impact You?
25 Jul 2019 by Mel Siegel

Have you noticed the number of Democratic presidential candidates this year? How can you miss it?

Have you received an inquiry from any of them wanting to know your opinion on climate change? Pete Buttigieg recently sent out a request for your story. Always take an opportunity to tell it!

Here's what Mel Siegel, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Ghana, sent Buttigieg his story. While it's not specifically environmentally-related, the simple fact that Mel is on our leadership team says a lot about where he is today.


Between my undergraduate and graduate educations I served two years, 1962-1964, in the then one-year-old Peace Corps, teaching physics and math at high school and freshman college level in Ghana. If your service didn't involve anything like digging wells or planting trees it might be hard to know if you actually did anybody any good; fortunately between then and now the internet became an integral part of our lives, and now every once in a while a former student finds me and thanks me for having made a difference in his or her life.

As for what my service did for me, that is more concrete: nothing better teaches you how to deal with the unexpected and the seemingly impossible than having spent two years, 24-7, dealing with the unexpected and the seemingly impossible. No doubt the skills and the confidence that I acquired during my Peace Corps service have served me well in my professional life in research and teaching, in the off-the-beaten-path places that I have traveled to worldwide, and in developing my ability to adapt to and appreciate local people's cultures and practices wherever I am in the world.