Me and my friend Telma in my house.

A goodbye from one of my schools.

Students showing off their toothbrushes as they get ready to brush their teeth.

Name: Alexis Guild
U-M Affiliation: Student

Where do you work?

Masters Student at Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?

2007-2009

Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Guatemala

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

I was a school health facilitator with a project called "Healthy Schools" - a joint project between the Ministry of Education and Peace Corps. I worked with the teachers, students and parents in five rural primary schools on health education, the implementation of healthy habits (i.e. handwashing and toothbrushing) and health-related infrastructure projects.

Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?

My friend, Telma, who was working in her family's store while also attending university. She was determined to make a better life for herself and her family.

What was one of the most memorable moments you had as a volunteer?

There were many memorable moments but one that stands out was one of the final goodbyes at one of my schools. The students and teachers performed skits and healthy schools songs. The outpouring of appreciation and love from the school and community was overwhelming.

In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?

It was because of Peace Corps that I chose to pursue a Masters in Public Policy. I hope to continue my work in international development long-term. I also will forever feel a deep connection to the country of Guatemala and its people.

In what ways did your U-M education, both inside and outside the classroom, prepare you for your Peace Corps experience?

I did not attend U-M undergrad but the University's connection to the history of Peace Corps and the strong RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) presence definitely influenced my decision to attend U-M for graduate school.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?

Patience is key! If you go into the Peace Corps with an open-mind and an open-heart, you will have a wonderful experience.

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

I gained a great appreciation for the people and country of Guatemala. I also gained a new perspective on my personal priorities.

What lessons did you learn in the Peace Corps that you carry with you today?

I learned the importance of patience, flexibility and empathy.

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