Rebekah Switala, a 2011 graduate of WMU’s History Department, is currently volunteering in Moldova as a Community and Organizational Development Advisor in the Peace Corps. She is serving in the northern region of the country, an area that shares a border with the Ukraine. After writing her senior thesis under the direction of Professor John Norman on the United States’ involvement in the Russian Civil War from 1917 to 1922, Rebekah wanted to improve her Russian language skills initially developed through a minor in Russian with the hope of engaging in further research in the future on the topic of North Russia. After graduating in August 2011, Rebekah worked on organic farms while waiting anxiously for word about her application to the Peace Corps. Fortunately she received positive news, and the Peace Corps invited her to Moldova. They requested that she work as one of the few Russian speakers in Moldova since the Moldovan government normally requires its U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to speak the national language of Romanian.
Rebekah accepted the invitation without hesitation, and arrived in Moldova on June, 5, 2013. She is currently working in an anti-human trafficking organization, and learning more about how human trafficking works. She is helping with seminars and workshops for the youth in her community on human trafficking prevention, and how to design and create projects for community improvement. At the non-governmental organization where she works, Rebekah is also developing grant proposals for these projects.
She strongly encourages any WMU history majors interested in spending considerable time abroad to apply to the Peace Corps. Rebekah believes that it is a most rewarding experience and complements and extends historical skills.
The sign at the top of the photograph says "I fight for freedom because," and the sign I am holding says "I believe that every person has rights".