Foundations that were built at Prospect Ridge Academy will carry alum Ariana Vigil ’19 into her next adventure when she begins serving with the Peace Corps in Senegal early next year. Vigil received her assignment in September and will begin serving in February 2023.
Always interested in International Studies, Vigil had considered the Peace Corps for a while but her interest deepened during her freshman year at CU Boulder. Vigil’s roommate that year had parents who had served in the Peace Corps and hearing about their positive experience led to her seriously considering it. Then after studying abroad for a year in Morocco, Vigil knew it was something she wanted to pursue.
“I taught English while I was out there and realized the value in making connections with people from the countries I’ve learned about in class and the importance of cross-cultural understanding,” Vigil said.
The possibility of serving in the Peace Corps was something that had been incubating for Vigil for a while. The community service she performed during her time at PRA was a precursor to her service in the Peace Corps.
“The PRA emphasis on community involvement was absolutely vital in both piquing my interest in the Peace Corps and providing me with experience that ultimately got me accepted,” she said. “The Peace Corps combines community service with my passion for international affairs and learning about other cultures.”
After completing her bachelor’s degree in international affairs with a minor in French, Vigil began the application process for the Peace Corps. The process was extensive, Vigil said, consisting of several different steps. It took about two months to complete. She said she applied to serve wherever there was the most need and received her assignment to Senegal because she speaks French and basic Arabic.
“The Peace Corps really wants to make sure that applicants will be able to adapt to different cultures and norms,” she said. “Knowing French and Arabic will help me learn the local languages and get around in the country. Additionally because I studied abroad in Morocco, which is geographically close to Senegal and is culturally similar.”
Vigil will serve for 27 months after completing a three-three month training program in Senegal. She’s excited about making personal connections there, just as she did in Morocco.
“I’m most looking forward to learning another language and about the cultural intricacies that make up Senegal and their impact on the health sector,” she said.