Peace Corps' Virtual Service Pilot makes impact in Costa Rica

By Samara B.
Jan. 11, 2021

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Samara B. continues to serve Costa Rica through Peace Corps' Virtual Service Pilot. We interviewed her about her experience helping her country of service from afar.

Describe your Virtual Service Pilot experience: Why did you decide to sign up? What was your assignment? Virtual service caught my eye the minute I received the email from headquarters. I was excited about engaging in a meaningful way and dedicating my time and energy to a noble cause. I coordinated with a local nonprofit in Costa Rica whose goal is to create a domestic version of the Peace Corps. Appropriately called the Costa Rica Corps, this organization was looking for help establishing their own pool of volunteers to be able to match them with counterparts. I, along with several other Virtual Service Pilot Participants, helped craft a volunteer profile and application brochure, which will be used to train, and interview interested volunteers. Volunteers will then be matched with a local counterpart in either a nonprofit organization or with a public school English teacher.

What part of the United States did you serve from?: I served from the Washington, D.C., area.

What was the most rewarding part of participating in the Virtual Service Pilot? The most rewarding part of virtual service was continuing to serve my Peace Corps country of service, despite the global pandemic, and advancing the goals and objectives of an organization that I genuinely care about.

What was the most challenging part? The most challenging part of service was balancing a full-time job and managing my workload with the virtual engagement. It wasn’t always difficult, and it definitely taught me about time management.

If you are considering engaging with the Virtual Service Pilot, do it!

Samara B.

What advice do you have for future Participants? If you are considering engaging with the Virtual Service Pilot, do it! Don’t hesitate, don’t overthink it. There is a lot of need in the participating countries, and we could always use the help. But remember, virtual service is nothing like Peace Corps service abroad, at least in my experience. The service element is there, but it takes on a different form due to the technological circumstances.

Will you participate in the second phase starting in February? Yes! I will be extending service and continuing some projects we started in the first phase from October to December.

What quote can sum up your virtual experience? “In proportion as one renders service, he becomes great.”- Booker T. Washington

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