University of Arkansas

12/05/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/05/2018 08:40

Cole Mcquirk to Serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Albania

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'Language shapes the way cultures are formed, how governments are structured and how we understand each other,' said Cole Mcquirk, a student studying Italian in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Mcquirk was recently selected to serve as an economic development volunteer in the Peace Corps. He will be stationed in Albania, likely working in a small community with either a nongovernmental organization or municipality.

As an economic development volunteer, Mcquirk will work with development banks, NGOs, and municipalities to encourage economic opportunities in communities.

His desire to serve in the Peace Corps was fueled by faculty in the Italian program at the University of Arkansas.

'They really helped me gain a love for culture and travel and cultivated me into a global citizen,' said Mcquirk.

He recently traveled to Rome and worked in a refugee camp. While there, Mcquirk felt a sense of pride because he was able to communicate with locals in Italian and build lifelong connections.

In addition to support and encouragement from faculty members, he also chose to volunteer in the Peace Corps because of the organization's overall values on sustainable development and their promotion of peace between countries.

'There is nothing more valuable in this world than language,' he said. 'Studying a second language has afforded me so many amazing opportunities. Language learning has helped me to understand the significance of being able to communicate with various cultures and I am extremely grateful for it.'

Mcquirk's involvement with the Peace Corps will also enable him to gain experience that will aid him in making career decisions in the near future.