Monthly Archives: June 2012

Americorps NCCC – FEMA Corps

So, this past year I realized that I needed a plan. I was about to graduate, it was time to figure out my life. But, mostly, I still wanted to explore. I had spent the previous year in Paris, learning all about France, the French, and many other cultures from my friends in the Foyer. While living in Paris, I realized that while I loved my time there and the people I met, I am very American. This is not a good or bad thing, it just is. I am the sort of person that loves traveling, learning about new cultures, and is open to living in another country for a period of time. But, when it comes time to settle down and grow up, I want to live in America. I would love to grow old in Connecticut (and by grow old I don’t mean be elderly, I mean start in my 30s or 40s and live there until I could actually be called old, which doesn’t happen for a while despite what people may think).

So, what this means in my round-about way of writing, is that I was looking for a way to see more of America. I had learned an awful lot about Europe, and yet I can’t tell you anything about Americans beyond the East coast beside stereotypes. I decided that I wanted to spend a year volunteering before starting my dream of working in an art museum. A good friend told me about Americorps, so I got online and took a look. While there are many great service opportunities across the US (Teach for America, City Year, etc), most of them involve teaching or tutoring and almost all keep you in the same place doing the same thing for a year or more. Americorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is unique in that you are assigned a geographic region of the US and you change what you’re doing and the location throughout the 10 months of service, and, bonus, you’re paid, minimum of minimum wage, but paid all the same.

So, I applied for NCCC. And waited, a while, and got put on a wait list, and waited some more. While I waited, I looked and applied for other opportunities, one of which was a new disaster relief division of NCCC partnered with FEMA.

And I got in, to FEMA Corps. HOORAYYYYYY

No sarcasm, I am completely and utterly thrilled to be part of FEMA Corps. 😀

So, what this means is that starting August 28th, and lasting 10 months, I will be part of Americorps NCCC in the North Central Region of the US. This region is based in Vinton, Iowa, but after my training I will be part of a team that could be working in any of the following states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

I just got my Welcome Packet, I joined the facebook group, this is really happening. 😀

So, hopefully I’ll be able to use this blog the same way I used it during my year in Paris. I won’t be bringing a computer with me, so I won’t be able to post as often, but I will make an effort to stay updated.

Who knows, my next post might just be about how I have to fit 10 months of my life into a duffle bag. 😉

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2011-2012

When I originally made this blog, I meant it to be a way for my family and friends to keep in touch, a source for students who might study abroad after me, and most importantly, a record of my experiences in Paris, so as to not forget anything. Now, almost a year later from when my program ended, I’m contemplating starting it up, following my experiences after graduation. How often I’ll actually update throughout the next year, who knows. But, I figure now is a good time to update about my year after Paris and what I plan to do next.

So, last semester I overloaded myself with courses in order to finish my college requirements, explore some ideas for the future, and start my dream of learning more languages. I took an environmental statistics course which not only helped explain the method behind the numbers, but also fostered my hippie, environmental side. Whether this means I’ll actually reduce my effect on the planet, or if I’ll fall back into old consumer habits, only time will tell. In my Maghrebin film class I continued to practice my French while learning how to pick apart and decipher films. In my art history course I got even further proof that I should not be a curator, but that was fairly obvious to begin with. My last two courses were Intro Spanish and Arabic. There I learned that while I admire anybody who speaks Arabic and love writing in the language, my passion lies in the romance languages. While all these courses did make for a stressful semester, it allowed me to take a much lighter load for my last semester at college.

This semester I decided to continue with Spanish, although I’m incredibly disappointed that I won’t be able to follow up with Spanish 130 at Goucher, which would have allowed me to learn subjunctive in Spanish, my favorite French grammar point. My class includes an online portion where we talk with students in Mexico, a half hour in Spanish, a half hour in English. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep speaking with these students and keep my Spanish skills up.

While I chose to stop taking Arabic class, I decided to take an Arabic culture course instead. I feel incredibly lucky to be reading Palestinian, Egyptian, and Lebanese authors, given how anti-middle east our country can be.

I also took a course in Arts Administration. I wish somebody had told me to take this course as a freshman, because this would have completely changed how I spent the past four years. I LOVE Arts Administration. My professor was amazing and I would have loved to have taken more classes and possibly double majored.

Finally I took Intermediate Astronomy with the most amazing professor at Goucher. Science still doesn’t come easy to me, but thanks to the help of my professor, I now know about the universe, general relativity, and multiple ways to find the distance to a star.

So, this post turned out a little random. It was started a couple months ago, and finished almost a month after my graduation. But, I wanted  to write something so that years later when I’ve forgotten what I did in college, I’d have something to look back on.

I’m going to try and update with some random posts this summer. To anyone who still checks this from back in the days of my Frenchie travels, make sure to check back in September when the real updates will hopefully start again. 🙂