collage of various UT students as Peace Corps volunteers abroad

In Celebration of Service: Peace Corps Week 2018

  • Feb 23, 2018

This week, we celebrate the Longhorn spirit of service during Peace Corps Week, which commemorates President Kennedy's establishment of the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. During this annual event, marked this year February 25 - March 3, the Peace Corps community celebrates all the ways that Peace Corps makes a difference at home and abroad and renews its commitment to service.

The University of Texas at Austin is ranked eighth among the top volunteer-producing large universities in the country with 61 Longhorns are currently serving around the globe. Since Peace Corps' founding, more than 1,838 UT alumni have volunteered across the world in a variety of crucial roles in education, agricultural, community economic development, health, environment, and youth in development.

Texas Global is proud to help UT students get started on their Peace Corps journey by serving as the home to the UT Peace Corps Recruiter. In celebration of Peace Corps Week and in honor of Longhorns who have served as Peace Corps Volunteers, we will be profiling UT alumni currently serving in different locations around the globe throughout the week.

First, we will catch up with Nakita Naik, class of 2017, who began her service in October 2017 and is working in Soplaviento, Colombia, as a business advisor as part of Peace Corps' efforts in community economic development. The Plano, Texas, native describes how her experience has taught her to be more appreciative: "I have gained an appreciation for many things I took for granted before and didn't even think to appreciate. I have gained the deepest sense of gratitude for countless people here in Colombia who have made this experience so transformative. And I have gained a rejuvenated commitment to this line of work."

Nakita holding a blue ballon with Peace Corps logo

Next we highlight the story of another class of 2017 graduate, Austin Wilson. Wilson works as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) volunteer in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine. Regardless of how challenging it can be to volunteer abroad, Wilson describes how he would not trade this life-changing experience: "Peace Corps service is intriguing, frustrating, challenging, rewarding, encouraging, vexing, but mostly enlightening. There are good and bad days, twists and turns you don't expect, and moments where you genuinely have no idea what's going on, but I wouldn't trade it for the world."

Austin Wilson receiving a pie during a ceremony

Stay tuned for Jacy Jones' experience in Benin. Originally from Orange, Texas, Jones is working as a food security extension agent, part of Peace Corps' the sustainable agricultural systems program. The volunteer has enjoyed connecting with people in her community: "My favorite part of being a Volunteer is building interpersonal relationships with host country nationals. It's beautiful when you're able to develop relationships with people who look, speak, act completely different from you, yet despite the differences we have so much in common."

Jacy Jones holding a plate of prepared corn in service site

The class of 2017 graduate will also take over our Instagram to show us what a typical day for a Peace Corps Volunteer looks like. Make sure to check out her pictures.

Brian fraternizing enjoying a meal with men from the community


We will close Peace Corps Week with Laura and Brian Stahnke's story. These married alumni are serving together as water and sanitation-health volunteers in Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific. This experience has allowed them to develop personally and professionally. "I have gained a better understanding of my physical, mental, and emotional limits. I have stretched each of those since joining Peace Corps but have hit the limits, and grown from it, more than in the U.S.," describes Brian. Laura adds, "I have gained a better understanding of the world and myself along with a re-prioritization of my priorities and values in life."

Laura giving a thumbs up in service site

Intrigued by their insights and work? Join us as we celebrate the service that Peace Corps Volunteers are doing in different parts of the world.

Learn more about becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer >>