UNCW Alumna Maegan McUmber Begins Peace Corps Service in Zambia

Monday, August 19, 2019

UNCW alumna Maegan McUmber '19 will depart for Zambia this month to begin training as a secondary education English teacher with the Peace Corps.
McUmber will live and work in Zambia for two years, spending her first three months in the country immersing herself in the local culture and customs. While there will be a considerable learning curve acclimating to this unfamiliar terrain, McUmber has a distinct advantage. The summer of her junior year McUmber was also in southern Africa, studying abroad in Cape Town, teaching English to elementary students and working at an area nonprofit. Her experiences there encouraged her to consider connecting with the Peace Corps.
“I went to a few information sessions on campus and listened to returned volunteers share their experiences, which had a huge impact on my decision to apply,” said McUmber. “The Peace Corps is an organization that strives to understand the experiences and perspectives of other cultures, while also sharing some of our own as Americans. I hope to become a more flexible, culturally competent and compassionate person through this experience.”
Peace Corps volunteers cultivate sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. While in Zambia, McUmber will work alongside partner organizations and residents to develop projects that improve the lives of community members. Her time with the Peace Corps will also require her to venture out of her comfort zone, something that McUmber is not only confident that she is equipped to do but eagerly anticipates.
“There is no better way to understand a group of people than to immerse yourself completely in their culture,” she said. “UNCW taught me that even in situations of pain and doubt, hard work and grit will overcome any difficulties that you face. I know that the Peace Corps will be challenging, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will change me for the better, and, hopefully, I can change a small piece of the world for the better, as well.”
McUmber joins the 227 North Carolina residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 4,732 North Carolina residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. Enhancing applied learning experiences and fostering global learning are critical elements of the university’s Strategic Plan.

-- Christina Schechtman