Name: Louise McMaster
U-M Affiliation: Staff

Where do you work?

Michigan Visiting Nurses

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?


Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Ankara, Turkey

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

Teaching physical therapy at Haceteppe University and working in the clinic in the summer.

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

Dr. Ridvan Ozker the director of the rehab unit, a very kind and caring man who looked after the volunteers and helped us whenever we needed assistance. He had worked at Detroit Rehab Institute some years ago and asked me to visit and give his greetings when I returned. I did as he has asked, met the director of Physical Therapy, explained why I was there. After a short conversation she asked me if I wanted to work there. I accepted and worked there for 2 years, easiest job interview I ever had!

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

This is quite impossible to answer as there were so many special moments, like having all our purchased furniture fall off the cart that was bringing it to our apartment, frequently living without water or electricity, having the opportunity to travel throughout the country and see many wonderful sites, joining the seniors on there graduation trip to Pamukkale where the swimming pools had Roman ruins that had tumbled into the pool, listening to the U of M football game on the Voice of America when Bo's team beat Ohio State in his first year at U of M (I found the radio station totally by accident),assisting a Canadian women who was travelling in Turkey and had fallen and broken her leg. It was so good to teach her how to walk, using a walker and doing it all in English.The list could go on and on and of course needs to include being able tp share the skills of physical therapy to eager Turkish students that would eventually be able to go out and practice physical therapy.

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

In every way possible! I continue to love to travel, I am very happy working as a physical therapist and no matter what the job I am reminded of the challenges in Turkey and feel like I can accomplish almost anything!It also provided me with a very different view of the world-many Amricans seem to have very little appreciation of all of our wealth. Money and possessions do not buy happiness. I still am overwhelmed by all the "stuff" we have in this country and I hope I never forget that we do not need all the stuff we buy.

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

I think that because of the international flavor of the U of M campus with such a diverse student population it was easier to adjust to Turkey.

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

Go for it! It was one of the best things I have ever done and I continue to keep in touch with friends in Turkey and former volunteers here in the U.S.A.

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

That people are more alike every where in the world then we realize.

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

Never give up and that some days if you only accomplish one task that's alright!

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