Graduate school is a world filled with acronyms, but I figure there’s always room for one more. So, this week I’m writing to you in my unofficial capacity as RPCV2HGSE. Wait, you don’t know what that is? Why, it’s a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) who has made the transition to being a student at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), of course! My inspiration for this post was an email I recently received from a volunteer who is currently serving in Botswana. She wrote:

“How are you? Thanks for getting back to me. I am super excited to learn more about HGSE. I hope I don’t bombard you with too many questions. Unfortunately, my internet is not fast enough to attend their online sessions… Here are some of my questions: What program are you in? How is the student body? Did you apply to HGSE while serving abroad? Are there a lot of Peace Corps Volunteers in the program? Let’s start there for now. I hope all is well.”

I have since replied to her email, but I won’t bore you with all of my answers. What I do want to share is this: Yes, I applied to HGSE from another country while I was serving in the Peace Corps. Yes, it is very possible—despite the challenges—and I highly recommend taking on those challenges if HGSE is the place where you want to be.

I am not the only RPCV2HGSE on campus—but what I think is more important to know is that this place is crawling with people from all over, transitioning to graduate from all walks of life. Being an RPCV is cool, but it is just one of many interesting perspectives that I regularly encounter in my conversations in and out of class.

I want to make myself available to any volunteers that are reading this and may have questions about the admissions process, or what it’s like to be an RPCV2HGSE. Just contact the admissions office, and they can put you in touch with me directly!

Andrew F. Williams is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Special Studies program. He is a youth development specialist and soccer coach, working with young players in the U.S., Africa, and Latin America. He is currently developing a soccer-based academic enrichment curriculum for elementary aged students.

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