Experiencing New Culture
Luke Davis '12
Travel is becoming more popular between both current students and alumni. Due to the state of the job market in the U.S., there are alumni who are putting their degrees to use overseas with the Peace Corps. One such alumnus is Soccer and Environmental Studies graduate Luke "Rabbit" Davis '12. Currently located in Bonkwae, Brong-Ahafo, Ghana, he serves as a member of the Peace Corps within the site's agricultural department.
"To be honest, the main reason was a lack of full-time job opportunities," said Davis in an online interview. "After graduating from MCLA, I worked for the Conservation Corps in Minnesota and found volunteer work rewarding. Having finished that, I only managed to find another intern position doing botanical work at the New England Wild Flower Society. I thought the Peace Corps would be an adventure, and felt all the cliché urges of wanting to do good and help others. So I continued their yearlong application process, all the while looking for full-time jobs. The Peace Corps invitation ultimately came first, and I haven't looked back since."
Living in Ghana has been somewhat of a welcomed culture shock for Davis. While the conditions may not be the best due to houses with poor infrastructure and the need for improved agriculture, the people are wonderful.
"Ghanaians wake early and are very loud, happy individuals... people are extremely friendly and prefer to be around you at all times, especially the children."
The fact that people are so friendly has made it that much easier for Davis to enjoy himself in a new land. He has committed himself to learning Twi, their native language, in order to become a part of their community. During the earlier portion of his assignment to Ghana, Davis had to participate in a Peace Corps Swearing-In Ceremony. While it was a fun event that allowed him and his peers to showcase what they have learned about their site's culture, it also represented their dedication to their mission of improving the lives of those they serve.
Being a member of the Peace Corps would seem to require an extrovert personality, but Davis is somewhat the opposite. Davis is a bit timid and humble. However, once on a soccer field, he really stands out. Between his speed and persistent nature, Davis is a great team player and delivers whenever needed. Now that he is posted in Ghana, he uses the skills that he has learned on the soccer field to connect to those around him.
"I do play here in Ghana," stated Davis. "The game is very different. Ghanaians love good tricks and fancy flicks. They also tend to argue a lot, but the universal language of soccer is still here."
Even though Davis has been learning Twi since his arrival in Ghana, he still relies on soccer as a form of communication.
"Playing soccer has definitely helped me assimilate into my community. It also helped me understand the importance of working together as a group, which is one of the main aspects of Peace Corps life. I also like to think that MCLA Soccer, and soccer in general, helped me to be more accepting and open to people of different backgrounds."
Davis made the most of his experience at MCLA and the combination of a liberal arts education along with his commitment to the Men's Soccer team has really assisted him in becoming flexible.
"Having that broad range of skills that I learned at MCLA has made me more comfortable in trying new tasks or roles through Peace Corps."