April 12, 2017
Senior to Teach in Tanzania with Peace Corps
West Virginia Wesleyan College senior Anne Belldina, a chemistry and philosophy major and Honors minor of Masontown, WV, will be working as a secondary education science teacher in Tanzania in July.
The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation. For more than five decades, Peace Corps Volunteers in 140 countries have demonstrated ingenuity, creativity, and grit to solve critical challenges alongside community leaders.
Peace Corps was something Belldina had always been interested in but had just begun seriously considering it when she saw the opening for a science teacher in the African country. Thinking she would go on to medical school after graduating from Wesleyan, Belldina wanted a “Plan B.”
“I weighed various options for graduate and professional programs, and nothing seemed like the right thing to do,” she commented. “I continuously checked the Peace Corps website for job openings and started my application many times. Even then, I did not think any of the positions available were fitting for me. Finally, I found the opening for a secondary education science teacher in Tanzania, and I knew that was what I was supposed to do.”
After an extensive application process, Belldina was granted an interview and was offered the position, which she immediately accepted, in late February. Ranking Tanzania as her top choice of placement due to the only open science position, she noted to Peace Corps that she was willing to be placed wherever she was needed.
“I was lucky that I was placed in the exact job and location for which I applied,” Belldina said. “On top of that, I was offered a job the first time I applied. Many people apply two or three times to get any job offer, let alone their first choice. I cannot wait to get to Tanzania; the culture seems so charming and welcoming, the land is beautiful and diverse, and I will be learning Swahili!”
During her placement, Belldina will be co-teaching with a Tanzanian teacher in large classrooms comprised of students between the ages of 12-20. Her placement could entail biology, chemistry, physics, or any combination of the three.
“I will not know my exact charge until after my training when they move me to my placement site,” she said. “I leave July 8 for staging in Washington, D.C., and then I leave for Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital, on July 10 to begin pre-serving training. After three month, I will be moved to my placement site where I will live and work until September 2019.”
Belldina attributes this opportunity to the experience she had as a Wesleyan student.
“Wesleyan has given me a multitude of opportunities to become a worldlier individual,” commented Belldina. “Through the Honors Program and May term classes, I was able to travel internationally in educational settings many times, and I have taken a variety of courses not required by my major just to learn about different topics. The diversity in the curriculum at Wesleyan has allowed me to learn about things completely outside the realm of my fields of study.”
In addition, Belldina notes the support she received during her time here.
“I have had immense amounts of support from faculty and staff members here at Wesleyan. Doug Van Gundy and Dr. Joanna Webb ’07 have been extremely helpful and supportive throughout various academic, professional, and personal endeavors. Without the mentorship that I have received over the years from those two and many others, I would not be the person I am today.
“I am grateful every day that I made the decision to make Wesleyan my home for the past four years. Wesleyan has never failed to challenge me and has played a monumental role in shaping the person that I have become.”
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