Two Virginia Commonwealth University alumnae will share their knowledge of the English language during stints serving abroad in the Peace Corps.
Erin Geraghty (B.A.’16/H&S) leaves later this month to serve as an English teacher in Madagascar, while Erica Ingram (B.A.’15/H&S) will serve as an English teaching assistant in China.
Geraghty, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences in 2016, will begin with a three-month home stay in order to focus on language and culture. She sought “the opportunity to break out of the box and see how the rest of the world lives,” she said.
After the home stay, Geraghty will begin a two-year stint teaching middle and high school English and assisting with local teachers’ professional development, according to the Peace Corps.
“I hope to give my community the tools with which to think deeply and effectively and to instill within them a larger commitment to better themselves, their communities and the world around them,” Geraghty said in a statement. “I’m most excited to meet my fellow volunteers, my students and to go exploring around the island.”
Ingram, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 2015, will teach spoken and written English at the post-secondary level.
“I have always wanted to visit China and learn about the people and the culture,” Ingram said in a statement. “I attended an event where I met several returned volunteers who spoke of their experience and how rewarding it was for them.”
Ingram participated in VCU Globe and the Peace Corps Prep Program as a student. The program was launched in 2014 and currently enrolls 250 students, said Jill E. Blondin, Ph.D., director of VCU Globe. Two other prep program alumni are currently serving in the Peace Corps.
Ingram will live for three months with a host family, studying the language and culture, before serving two years in her teaching role.
“I want to become more organized so that this experience can help further my ultimate goal of becoming a professional ESL instructor,” Ingram said.
According to the Peace Corps, there are more than 328 Virginians currently serving around the world. The corps was founded in 1961, while the China and Madagascar programs began in 1993.