Once you accept your invitation to serve in the Peace Corps, you are required to submit an updated resume and Aspiration Statement to your new country desk so that they can learn about their new invitee. I had no idea how to write an aspiration statement, but I turned to Google and found several other current and former volunteers’ Aspiration Statements online, so I’m paying it forward and copying mine on here in case it helps any future volunteers write their own statements farther down the road:
A: Identify three professional attributes that you plan to use during your Peace Corps service and how these will help meet your aspirations and commitment to service.
I feel that communication, preparation, and collaboration are three of the most significant professional attributes that I can use during my Peace Corps service to help meet my aspirations and commitment to service. Clear and consistent communication has been crucial in my ability to achieve success working in an office that coordinates event planning and housing assignments for a large public university over the past two years. As a volunteer with the Peace Corps, I believe that this same strong commitment to communication will be paramount to ensuring that my working relationships with both the Peace Corps and individuals within my host country are transparent and unified. Preparation is also a key element to my vision of a successful Peace Corps volunteer, and I will strive to prepare myself for my assignment and my program to the best of my ability in the coming months prior to my staging date as well as during pre-service training. A very high level of preparation will assist me in my aspiration to provide stellar service to host country partners during my Peace Corps service, as well as to assist my community in any other way that I can. Collaboration is another significant professional attribute that I plan to use during my service because it will focus my efforts toward working with others to achieve shared goals, not trying to implement my own ideas or relying solely on my own reasoning when assisting host country partners with projects. I believe that Peace Corps service is a constant exercise in collaboration, and so I want to commit to prioritizing collaboration in my professional interactions.
B: Briefly identify two strategies for working effectively with host country partners to meet expressed needs.
In order to work effectively with host country partners to meet their expressed needs, I plan to employ patience and honesty in both my personal and professional demeanor as a Volunteer. Patience will keep me from relying too heavily on my preconceptions and beliefs when working with my host country partners who will have completely different backgrounds than me, and will also help to foster an atmosphere of understanding and prioritize their expressed needs above mine. Honesty builds trust, and I will work to build trust both in my ability as a Volunteer to provide information and in the utility and sustainability of the project at hand.
C: Your strategy for adapting to a new culture with respect to your own cultural background.
I am fully aware that as an American who has never lived outside of California, I cannot begin to fathom the depth of cultural difference that awaits me in my service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. With this being said, I believe that tolerance and keeping an open mind will be instrumental in my ability to adapt to a culture so radically different than my own. I will work actively to shed as many preconceptions and expectations of the country, the people, and the culture of Zambia as possible so that I can adapt to this new culture by learning, by observing, and by experiencing.
D: The skills and knowledge you hope to gain during pre-service training to best serve your future community and project.
I hope to gain both technical training in region-specific fish farming and cultural/geographical knowledge of Zambia and Africa during pre-service training. Although I have experience working on a small rural fish farm and have been exposed to several fisheries management techniques and practices, I do not know how fish farming in rural Zambia differs from fish farming in California. I also look forward to having the opportunity to spend time with current and former volunteers in order to gain their insight into site-specific fish farming and techniques, ideas, and knowledge that they feel will be most useful in my future service.
E: How you think Peace Corps service will influence your personal and professional aspirations after your service ends.
I believe my Peace Corps service will make me a better person. I believe it will instill in me a stronger sense of service, both to my community and to others around me. I consider my father (RPCV Papua New Guinea 1981-1985) to be an excellent role model for the type of person that I hope I will become after my service ends. His selflessness, resourcefulness, strength, wisdom, and poise are widely respected and admired by everyone he meets, and he has never wavered from his conviction that his Peace Corps service shaped the development of both his character and his person. I think that living in a radically different place from anywhere I have ever known will give me a fresh perspective on my own life as well as the lives of others. I hope my Peace Corps service will teach me to be not only a citizen of my country, but a citizen of the world.
I also believe the Peace Corps will significantly influence the direction and scope of my professional career after my service ends. One of the predominant reasons why I decided to apply to serve in the Peace Corps is because my academic and personal interests intersect several different potential career tracks (rural development, foreign service, public policy, education administration, resource management/park administration, agribusiness, fisheries ecology) and working as a Peace Corps volunteer in a developing country will allow me the opportunity to gain experience in many of these sectors and help me to make a more informed decision regarding my professional aspirations upon completing my service.
Additionally, the temporary noncompetitive status for federal employment that is available to returned Peace Corps Volunteers is very attractive and I hope to use this to seek employment in either the Peace Corps, the Foreign Service, or the National Park Service upon completing my service. And last but certainly not least, I know that there is a large, tight-knit community of returned volunteers in the United States and throughout the world, and I look forward to being active in the RPCV community both for my personal fulfillment and for expanding my potential professional opportunities.