Simpson grad learns the importance of personal growth through the Peace Corps

by Ashley Smith, layout editor

Every morning a Simpson College graduate wakes up in a small bamboo hut before spending his day at a nursing station assisting people on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s northern island.

Tyler Fuller ’13 decided to join Peace Corps Fiji after graduation and is currently working as a Community Health Empowerment Facilitator in a rural village.

A May Term trip to Namibia, Religious Life Community (RLC) service opportunities, as well as support from Jorie Landers and Professors Brittingham, Gammon and Everhart influenced Fuller’s decision to get involved with the Peace Corps.

“I knew I wanted an opportunity for personal growth and to live abroad, and Peace Corps offered that along with valuable work experience and the chance to serve others,” Fuller said.

Fuller is has two primary projects while in Fiji: updating the water system in the village and work on a birth preparedness plan for local community health workers to use with pregnant women.   

“When I’m not at the [nursing] station I might be working on my water project, doing homework club with the kids, leading an exercise class or being social and building relationships with my neighbors.”

Adapting to his new surroundings was not the easiest for Fuller.

“The two hardest parts have been being away from my family for so long and two periods of culture shock I went through. My family has been really supportive though the hard times and I’m excited to go home and see them at Christmas,” Fuller said.

Fuller has learned many valuable lessons throughout his thirteen months with the Peace Corps.

“The greatest things I’ve learned are the importance of being dedicated, maintaining a positive attitude and adapting as needed and living intentionally,” Fuller said.

Personal growth is important to Fuller and his journey in Fiji allowed him to cook new foods, travel, learn about new cultures and have time for personal reflection.

“One of the greatest examples I have for personal growth is cooking. I could have started eating with families in the village, preparing little of my own food, which isn’t a bad thing, it facilitates cross-cultural exchange and integration, but I knew I wanted to grow in my ability to be independent so I decided that I wanted to cook for myself. That’s living intentionally, looking at how choices will impact your life and deciding where you want to go,” Fuller said recently on his blog.

The Peace Corps have also cultivated Fuller’s interest in public health, which he intends to pursue after his close of service date on November 1, 2015.

“I’m really interested in the Masters of Public Health/Masters of Divinity dual degree program at Emory University.”

Fuller’s journey with the Peace Corps is nowhere near done. He has goals for the upcoming year such as to go a week without speaking English and continue on his path of personal growth.

Peace Corps is no walk in the park, to use Peace Corps motto, it’s, ‘the toughest job you’ll ever love,’” Fuller said in a blog post, “For some people it’s a wonderful experience while it’s not for others. I can’t speak for the experience of others, but I know that for me even in the hard times being positive has made all the difference. I haven’t regretted any part of my service, and hopefully never will, and I am sure that a major part of that has to do with positive attitude.”

To follow Fuller’s journey with the Peace Corps check out his blog at tfripples.blogspot.com. 

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