As a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, Hoor Qureshi spent most of her days at a local school, helping teach life skills such as maintaining healthy relationships and decision-making while also providing career guidance.
“The days would start and end with prepping lessons with the guidance and counseling teachers,” said Qureshi, a 2019 Mercer University graduate who double-majored in global health studies and global development studies. “During the day, I would attend lessons and assist teachers, administrators and students however I could.”
She served in the south African country from July 2019 through March 2020, when she was evacuated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school Qureshi worked at was different from the one she grew up in, which made it challenging for her to learn how to be a teacher there.
“However, my colleagues and students helped ease those challenges by being extremely supportive and patient with me, as well as aiding in my learning,” she said.
While in Botswana, Qureshi lived in a house on a family compound about two hours north of Gaborone, the capital city.
“My community was home to about 3,000 people and was surrounded by beautiful hills,” she said.
When she wasn’t working, she enjoyed spending time with her host family, friends and neighbors. She often hosted other Peace Corps volunteers.
“The people I met, befriended, taught, learned from and lived with made my experience fulfilling and worthwhile,” she said. “Though we keep in touch frequently, I miss them a lot.”
Qureshi, who now works in the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy, said she credits the professors in the Department of International and Global Studies with preparing her to become a Peace Corps volunteer.
“I went on several trips with them during my undergrad experience to South Africa, Dubai and Japan, and each experience gave me a different perspective of the world,” she said. “Transitioning to Botswana wasn’t hard for me due to the lessons that Dr. Eimad Houry, Dr. Amy Nichols-Belo and Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa taught me, both in and outside of the classroom.”