Here is this, in case you missed my introduction post Here.
My name is Carrie Shoultz, which I learned to spell as كري شلتز in Arabic as part of my service in Jordan with the Peace Corps. I was part of the 17th group of volunteers to serve in Jordan (J17). I swore in on December 29th, 2014 and spent the most incredible 2 months at my permanent site in Karak. Unfortunately, Peace Corps made the decision to suspend our program and evacuate us due to regional instability. My 27 months was cut to only 5 months.
After much consideration, I reapplied the Peace Corps and am now set to be a part of the 7th group of volunteers to serve in Colombia since it reopened after more than a 20 year hiatus.
I will be using this blog to tell stories from my service and share photos. If you are interested though, you can follow my photography page on Facebook for even more photos of the country I will be living in, as well as previous photos I have taken.
I received both a Bachelor’s of Foreign Languages in Spanish and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science with an International Studies concentration from Augusta State University (Now Georgia Regent’s University). During my time at ASU I served as Treasurer and President of the Political Science Club, was a member of the inaugural National Model United Nation’s team, and studied abroad in India, El Salvador (with Habitat for Humanity), and Spain. My time at ASU was truly some of the best years of my life. I had an amazing undergraduate experience. My professors instilled a love of learning and a passion for knowledge in me which I have carried to this day. They are a group of people that truly care about their students and I will forever be grateful for the opportunities they have offered to me both during and since my time at ASU.
I chose Webster University’s Global MA in International Relations for my graduate degree. Webster was incredibly unique opportunity to travel and study simultaneously. The program consists of 11 months in 5 different countries. The campuses I studied in were: Vienna (Austria); Bangkok (Thailand); Geneva (Switzerland); London (the United Kingdom); Leiden (the Netherlands). Of course there were opportunities to travel outside of those places as well. My favorites were the week-long volunteer project I participated in up in the mountains of Northern Thailand as well as the week I spent retracing my family ancestry in Sweden. My time with Webster really contributed to the confidence I have in myself and really lit the fire for my desire to travel.
I do recognize my blessings, but as much as I have traveled I do recognize what a small sliver of the planet I really have seen.
Beyond education, I spent 7 years working with Ritz/Wolf Camera & Image which helped me learn photography. I am by no means a professional, but I hold my own with a camera and I thoroughly enjoy it. After graduating from Webster, I worked as a caretaker for my great grandmother until she died. After her death, I worked for Best Buy and had some great opportunities with them until the Peace Corps called me to service. In addition, I volunteered with a local English school called The English Learning Center, and met some wonderful people both in the classroom and with the organization.
My other interests include music and I listen to about anything. My iPod ranges from Backstreet Boys to Mozart, to Eminem to Broadway showtunes. This brings up another favorite thing for me: musical theatre (theatre in general). I can not sing. I can not dance. I can not act. So I love going to see those who can. One of my favorite moments during my MA was when I got to see La Nozze di Figaro at the State Opera House in Vienna.
With my Peace Corps service I leave behind a lot of comforts and people I care about: my family, my boyfriend (khatibii in Arabic – sort of), and my cat. I am grateful to have all their support.
Peace Corps service for me is truly an opportunity to serve, as well as to learn. I love learning about new places, hearing people’s stories, and trying to understand their world. In addition, I am deeply committed to the third goal of the Peace Corps
To promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans
In the end it was my commitment to the third goal, as well as the mission of the Peace Corps of fostering friendships between people of different cultures, that led me to reapply.
I think there are deep misunderstandings about Arab culture in the West, and vice versa. I hope that some of my stories helped to present a different story of the Middle East. If there has ever been a time where we have more needed to understand each other, that time is now. I hope Peace Corps returns soon to Jordan.
I am now headed off to re-begin my service in a new host country. To be honest, Colombia was the country I had in mind when I applied the first go-round. I am so grateful for my experiences in Jordan, but am also now really excited to finally have the opportunity to see the country I studied so closely in undergrad! “If you hadn’t gone to Jordan, you wouldn’t be going to Colombia now” my boyfriend says often to remind me of the blessing Jordan really was in my life.
Since getting my invitation to serve in Colombia, many people have said to me “the only thing I know about Colombia is the drug cartels.” I now hope to use this blog to help teach people something new to add to their understanding about Colombia.
So, that’s who I am.