Alum Uses CC Student Organization Experience to Prepare for Peace Corps

Charles Hall ’22 is combining his passion for helping students learn English with his desire to gain experience abroad by working in Costa Rica with the Peace Corps. He is part of the first Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) volunteer group to return to Costa Rica following the COVID pandemic.

Hall, a political science major, did not choose Costa Rica when applying for the program, but says he is incredibility grateful to be placed there. “I initially put down for an opening to serve in Northern Macedonia doing Economic Development, as I assumed Eastern Europe would be less competitive and more niche. However, to my surprise and pleasure, I was selected to teach English in Costa Rica instead. This was a better fit as I had taken some Spanish classes at Colorado College and had experience working with kids.”

At CC, Hall was co-chair of the Aprender Mediante Amistad (AMA) club, where CC students mentored and worked on homework with local K-12 students whose parents did not speak English fluently and were often limited in their ability to help their children with homework. This experience helped prepare him for his current work in Costa Rica.

Hall has been in Costa Rica for almost six months now. He spent three months training in San Jose before moving to his site in southern Costa Rica, about an hour away from the Panama border. He works full-time at a local elementary school near the village, where he focuses on teaching English to students, increasing local teachers’ English proficiency, and creating opportunities for people in the community to learn English.

Hall originally applied to the Peace Corps to obtain regional experience abroad and to get his foot in the door with the federal government.

“Although the Peace Corps Application process was long and arduous, CC helped me tremendously,” Hall says. “Joe Derdzinski and Dr. John Gould gave me the idea to apply. Gretchen Wardell walked me through the Peace Corps Prep Certification. I would not be here without Dr. Sofia Fenner, who wrote a letter of recommendation that was integral to my acceptance into the program. Lastly, I must thank Dr. Diana Norton and the CC Spanish Department for taking me, a slow language learner with no prior experience studying Spanish, and transforming me into a confident speaker.” 

“Through the Block Plan curriculum, I was able to do something that I did not believe was possible for me: I became able to communicate with others in a second language! Peace Corps service is, at times, challenging but well worth it. I am grateful that Colorado College prepared me to face oncoming hardships with mental fortitude and compassion for the world around me.”

When he isn’t working, Hall participates in cultural exchanges such as spending time with his host family or hanging out with local friends.


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