Sarah Obed, serving on Tongariki Island in the Republic of Vanuatu

Name: Sarah Obed
U-M Affiliation: Student

Where do you work?

I am a second year graduate student at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy. I am currently interning at Doyon, Limited in Fairbanks, Alaska.

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?

2007-2009

Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Vanuatu

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

Community Health Facilitator/Volunteer

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

Kevin George, who was the Country Director while I was volunteering; Sara Lightner, APCD in Vanuatu; Ps. Rueben, Ps. Timothy, and Shelly Ronneth, my counterparts in country, and finally, Stephen Obed (my husband).

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

The community welcome ceremony that took place on the island of Tongariki after I swore in and first arrived at site. The ceremony included speeches, a name giving ceremony, kava, chief's presentations, and singing and dancing!

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

Personally, I married Stephen Obed, a host country national from Vanuatu, but, professionally, I have opted to attend graduate school, at the Ford School of Public Policy, where I am pursuing a serious in health policy and rural economic development.

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

Actually, visa versa, my Peace Corps experience allowed me the opportunity to be a competative applicant to Rackham Graduate School!

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

I'd openly encourage anyone to pursue the Peace Corps experience. It can be a great challenge, yet is so personally and professionally fulfilling. I'd advise people to remain patient and flexible throughout the application process, the pre-training experience, and certainly throughout the volunteer service.

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

You gain personal growth, cross-cultural knowledge, international perspective, project managment skills - additionally, there is a great opportunity for job satisfaction and a strong sense of community contribution.

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

That I am certainly a capable person.

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