Aspiration Statement

Charles Thompson Dominican Republic March 1, 2011
A: The professional attributes I plan to use include my ability to observe people around me and respond to their needs such that we advance toward our aims as a team, rather than simply conferring responsibility to an individual. While I think I can provide leadership, it is my belief that I will be more valuable as a collaborator that empowers and supports leaders in my community. I aspire to leave behind an infrastructure for lasting success in the community I serve through teaching strategies that inspire users to seek further learning, and through equipment that realizes its full potential through community stewardship. B: When considering strategies for working effectively with host country partners, I think as a Peace Corps volunteer I will wear many hats. When I read about duties in the Assignment Description like helping my community devise strategies to maintain its computer lab, I begin to envision my role as that of someone who stimulates creative thinking and invites community members to consider problem-solving from a perspective that involves what they have rather than what they lack. A strategy I consider to be of crucial importance is to take time early on to learn how my hosts envision my role and to collect information concerning their desires and aspirations. When the Assignment Description emphasizes the importance of the three-month beginning stage in which I perform my community diagnostic, I am reminded of the time I spent with an NGO in Guatemala and a similar opportunity I feel I missed early in my tenure to serve my hosts in a way I hadn’t planned. You can rest assured that I will not to repeat the same mistake. C: Since my time in Guatemala, I have had ample opportunity to reflect on strategies for adapting to a new culture with respect to my own cultural background. During my time there, I was often annoyed by what I considered to be a lack of maturity in the people I met. It wasn’t until after I spent time back in the United States that I came to recognize the same “immaturity” in my own culture. The only difference, it seems, is that attitudes and behaviors I find distasteful are manifested in different ways. A primary strategy I will use when I

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adapt to the cultural climate of the Dominican Republic will be to remain mindful of this. Another strategy I think will be useful in this regard will be to really focus on my relationship with my host family and to try to build a mutual trust and understanding. I think if I am successful at this, I will gain a family of valuable allies as I endeavor to understand what makes Dominicans think and behave the way they do and also to gain perspective into how I am perceived as a United States citizen. D: As I read the Assignment Description a topic that immediately jumps out at me is the nature of PCDR’s work with PTAs and Community Technology

Charles Thompson Dominican Republic March 1, 2011

Committees. As described, I think it may resemble the work of an organization for which I’ve had the privilege to volunteer, particularly with the aspect of promoting the ability of individuals and groups to maintain and upgrade computer equipment with the aim of expanding its useful life. During pre-service orientation, I hope to receive training in how I can encourage members of my community to establish groups with similar desired outcomes. It is my hope that the experience and opinions of my fellow trainees will be brought to bear in this regard. E: As far as Peace Corps’ influence on my personal and professional aspirations, I come to the Peace Corps with an open mind, looking for inspiration. In the five years of my professional career, I’ve aimed to develop skills that will help me establish myself in the fields of microfinance and ecotourism, particularly where information technology and social justice are concerned. I am taking the opportunity, during two months of the time leading up to my Peace Corps service, to engage in self-exploration and reflect on my decision to serve while I do some informal research in ecotourism in the US. I hope to cultivate a state of mind that will help me recognize opportunities in the Dominican Republic and use them to enhance my service and provide insight for future career exploration.

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