During a Peace Corps informational session for University of Miami students, a group of returned volunteers, including UM President Donna E. Shalala, shared their experiences of living abroad and helping improve impoverished communities.
It was the waiting that made Michele Tsiknakis nervous. The recent University of Miami graduate had already filled out her Peace Corps application and gone through the rigorous screening and selection process. Now, she was just waiting for her assignment to arrive via overnight letter.
When it didn’t come at the expected time, Tsiknakis called FedEx to track its whereabouts.
Soon after that came the letter. Her assignment: Guatemala, where she will volunteer for the next two years as a health technician, helping residents of an impoverished village adopt effective and safe sanitation strategies while immersing herself completely in a different culture.
Tsiknakis leaves for Central America in about two months. But before her departure and the training that will precede it, she and a group of returned Peace Corps volunteers, including University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, found time on Tuesday to speak to an audience of UM students about “an experience that changes your life forever,” Tsiknakis said.