After graduating from Santa Clara University, Julie Mellin '08 joined the Peace Corps, an organization that gives college graduates the opportunity to help impoverished communities by implementing needed programs and educating inhabitants.
The Peace Corps is an extremely prestigious program and has an acceptance rate of only around 25 percent. Mellin started her Peace Corps experience by participating in a two month training course prior to leaving the U.S. She is currently stationed in Botswana, working with programs that concern HIV, AIDS, and prevention education.
"I decided to apply to the Peace Corps because I wanted to travel," Mellin said. "I wanted to see and experience a new culture, one very different from the one I was used to. I wanted to do good for others. I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school, but I wanted to take some time off beforehand. The Peace Corps was the perfect way to do that."
One of the greatest aspects of Mellin's experience with the Peace Corps is the reward of knowing that the villagers see her as an equal with whom they can talk freely, as opposed to an outsider who could never understand them.
After a year and a half in Botswana, Mellin found something valuable she could keep with her. "I've gotten to experience firsthand feeling like a member of the community--being trusted, respected, invited into people's homes, to weddings and parties. It's great."
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