January 20, 2016
Pamela Keilig's interest in international studies ignited when she was a high school exchange student in Germany. While majoring in international studies at Susquehanna , she chose a cultural immersion program in Freiburg, Germany, as her Global Opportunities (GO) experience.
But when she applied for the Peace Corps after graduation, it was Swaziland that chose her.
"After I received my invitation, I started reading about the country and became really intrigued by the political system, which is a kingdom and absolute monarchy, and the initiatives for formal and non-formal education, such as free primary education," Keilig, a 2012 graduate, explains. "For such a small country of roughly 1 million inhabitants, there are a lot of complex and compelling issues that leave me captivated."
In her third year as a volunteer in the Youth in Development Program, Keilig has kept busy. She is a volunteer leader in the GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) and BRO (Boys Reaching Out) programs, which provide life skills and leadership training for youth, and train mentors and community role models across Swaziland.
She also works at a primary school for the deaf, and is assisting in creating a Swazi Sign Language manual-the first ever published. She has done a lot of networking and advocacy work to address the issues her students are facing.
"Being here and working at a school for the deaf jolted me onto a different course than I ever could have anticipated," Keilig says. "My Peace Corps experience has fully exceeded any expectations I may have had. I've grown a lot as a person, particularly from hands-on experience."
But Keilig credits Susquehanna with giving her the necessary skills, both for her volunteer work and for her future career in advocacy.
"Susquehanna laid the foundation for my leadership and team-building skills," she says, citing her executive role in Zeta Tau Alpha sorority as one example. "SU provided the space for me to grow as an individual, offering valuable support as I worked to explore my career goals and aspirations."