The impact of Amizade volunteers is seen all over the world in projects like constructing new schools in Jamaica, preserving Holocaust memorial sites in Germany & Poland, and improving water access in Africa. Often, the impact on volunteers is mainly internal. For Erin Kauffman, a West Virginia University alumna, her participation in an Amizade service-learning course in Tanzania was life-changing.

After her return to campus, Erin wanted to take action. She found ways to continue her education while working to improve the world around her. She followed her passion by changing her major from psychology to international studies and looking for more cross-cultural and experiential education experiences.

This led to Erin applying to help facilitate an Amizade program on the Navajo Nation. “Working side by side with men and women who are making changes in their own communities introduced me to real problems, real solutions, and a real impulse to make change,” she says.

The Peace Corps was a logical next step for her. “It’s a perfect way to get hands-on experience creating, developing, and implementing projects internationally.” Erin gives credit to Amizade for inspiring her interest in the development of local service programs on an international level. She now describes herself as “an active participant in the fight for global justice.”

Where will your Amizade experience take you?