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Victoria Neff '09

​​​​​​Reflecting on the undergrad experience at PC

The Global Studies Department is, in every sense of the word, inspiring. For four years, my Global Studies classmates and teachers were not only my mentors, but also my family at Providence College. These people encouraged and challenged me in ways I would have never thought possible. Although I was also a student athlete, I developed strong relationships with the GST-ers because of our common interests and passion for international issues. Once a week, I would carpool with them to local schools and community organizations where we could volunteer our services. At Jazzman's cafe, we would spot each other reading the Providence Journal and begin chatting about micro-lending in south Asia, the genocide in Sudan, grassroots movements in South America and many other currents events before we realized hours had passed. What I remember most was how involved my GST classmates were, both on-campus and off-campus. I can distinctly recall GST-ers routinely organizing fundraisers for national and international natural disasters, participating in service opportunities in local low-income areas over the weekends, facilitating student forums and lectures on campus, and other PC students duly noting how "active" the Global Studies community at PC was....Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." My four years as a Global Studies student has endowed me with the most important realization, that is, how much one person can truly achieve. I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to the Global Studies program for giving me the skills and tools needed to become a successful leader and the opportunity to make the world a better place.

Post-grad life

After graduating, I immediately left for China with the Peace Corps in June 2009. My job is teaching English content courses at Zunyi Medical College in Guizhou Province, which is in the southwest of China. Many of my students come from very poor family backgrounds, are the first in their family to attend college, and almost all of them feel disempowered in the face of China's burgeoning and competitive economy. I try to motivate my students and instill in them the same self-convictions that the Global Studies Department has instilled in me: one person can make a difference. I organize women's groups, book clubs, and cooking clubs as a way to encourage self-expression and increase my students' confident levels. Since being here, I have also become increasingly passionate about the environment and sustainable development. I am currently the provincial leader for two organizations, Green English and WID/GAD (women in development/gender and diversity), and have also organized the first ever campus-wide cleanup in Zunyi, an Ecology Leadership Camp at the Woolong Panda Reserve in Chengdu and am in the process of developing a Green English curriculum for higher education institutions in China.