Daniel Magin ’18 will travel to Ethiopia with the Peace Corps following his graduation in May where he will serve as a TEFL/English Language Teaching Specialist in Africa’s second most populous country.
“I’ve always had a passion for exploring different cultures and learning more about how people live their lives,” says the psychology and Spanish and Hispanic studies double major. “I believe that’s one of the best ways to understand people, why they act the way they do, and to become more accepting of difference.”
Magin was inspired to explore the Peace Corps by attending a workshop held at the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL). He applied for a position in the education sector, but left the choice of country up to the Corps. “I realized that if I applied to a specific country, I would be boxing myself in: I would only apply to a country that I was already somewhat familiar with and therefore would be limiting my opportunity for growth and learning,” he says.
When initially learning of his placement, Magin admitted he knew little about the country. Since then he’s studied the country’s rich and varied history and become enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead of him. “Their cultural traditions, their history, their complex variety of ethnicities, and their current politics all fascinate me and make me even more excited to get there and experience it all firsthand,” he says.
Magin credits his majors, psychology and Spanish, with contributing to his desire to study other cultures. Associate Professor of Psychology Brien Ashdown’s cultural psychology courses, which include an introductory course, along with “Research in Cultural Psychology” and “Topics in Cultural Psychology,” exposed him to the importance of culture in shaping psychology. “The knowledge and skills I gained from those classes will undoubtedly be useful in Ethiopia,” he says.
Ashdown concurs and credits Magin’s positive outlook as a primary factor in his success. “Dan’s optimism and positive energy are going to be huge assets to him in Ethiopia, and they will be great benefits to the people he works with,” he says. “He’s one of the most optimistic and energetic people I know.”
In addition to his classwork, Magin also learned applicable skills through his work as a tutor and coordinator with America Reads, a program of CCESL, which provides tutoring services to elementary school children in the local community. He gained further educational experience as a Spanish teaching fellow and a psychology statistics study table facilitator.