Recent graduate to teach English in Mozambique

May 23, 2016
Caleb Marse

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Caleb Marse, a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, will soon have the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills he learned as an international studies major and Spanish minor to teach high school English in the Republic of Mozambique, a country in southeast Africa, through the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps is an international service organization that sends Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges 
in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth development. Since the Peace Corps’ establishment in 1961, approximately 220,000 Americans have served in 141 countries.

Marse, from Delavan, Wisconsin, applied for the Peace Corps at the end of April 2015 by sending an application, résumé and aspiration statement to the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. In October, he had a nearly two-hour Skype interview with Peace Corps officials and answered a variety of questions about his merit and background. In mid-January 2016, the Peace Corps notified him that he had been accepted.

“I felt really excited and happy when I found out I had been accepted,” said Marse. “I have always been fascinated with learning about other cultures and languages. My education in international studies and coursework in Latin America, history, Spanish, sociology and anthropology as well as courses such as Ethnic and Gender Equality in Education; Ethnicity, Gender, and a Cross Cultural Perspective; and Sociolinguistics opened my eyes to the many issues that affect people in other countries. Since I have always wanted to help people and travel and do something different in my life, the Peace Corps seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

“I’m really proud of Caleb for pursuing and attaining this position,” said Dr. Travis Nelson, associate professor of political science and chair of the department of social sciences at UW-Platteville and Marse’s advisor. “There is a true Pioneer spirit to the Peace Corps mission, and I’d like to think that Caleb’s experience will serve as an example for future UW-Platteville students.”

On Aug. 30, Marse will travel to a Peace Corps’ service city in Mozambique, where he will be sworn into the Peace Corps and begin three months of extensive language and culture training in addition to training for his position within a placement community in Mozambique. Following, he will begin two years of service in the placement community.

Once he is placed, Marse will teach English to students in high school and help with community and public health education about HIV and malaria prevention. In addition, he will have a role in the Peace Corps’ “Let Girls Learn Program,” a program that aims to expand access to education for girls around the world in communities where the Peace Corps serve. Volunteers working at the grassroots level work to empower local leaders and help put lasting solutions to the girls’ education challenge in place.

Marse has finished the necessary vaccinations and medical testing, obtained a visa and passport as well as taken online courses to learn about HIV and malaria. This summer, Marse will practice Portuguese and learn more about Africa. In addition, he will set up a blog so that he can record his thoughts and feelings about his Peace Corps experience and also stay connected with family and friends.

Marse said that it will be difficult to be away from his family and friends for so long, but he is looking forward to helping others and gaining a unique cultural understanding. “I am really looking forward to navigating within the community and becoming a trusted member,” said Marse. “These communities have asked for help, so the students will really want to learn. It will feel really good to be the person who can help give them what they need.”

While a student at UW-Platteville, Marse held a number of positions, including event producer for Campus Programming and Relations, tutor for Student Support Services, volunteer peer mentor for the Office of International Student and Scholar Services’ Global Amigos program and volunteer conversational partner for the Confucius Institute. In addition, he participated in a study abroad experience at Veritas University in San Jose, Costa Rica, where he completed an 80-hour Spanish intensive language immersion course and lived with a host family to gain an understanding of local culture and practice language in an informal setting.

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191,


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