The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

April 6, 2013

Ottumwan to teach in Indonesia through Peace Corps

OTTUMWA — It’s a chance to make a difference for people in a challenging environment and for himself.

Ottumwa High School graduate Elliot Higgins, 23, has joined the Peace Corps. His assignment: teach English to young people on the island of Java, part of Indonesia, one of the most populous nations on Earth.

“I’d be lying if I told you [my parents] weren’t worried,” said Higgins, who graduated from OHS in 2008.and last spring from the University of Iowa. “That’s only natural; I know it comes from a place of love.”

Just prior to his departure today, he told the Courier that he expects to be able to communicate with his parents if he can find Internet access. And unlike Peace Corps volunteers even 10 years ago, he thinks he’ll be able to do that.

“I’ve done a very limited amount of traveling, so this will be a totally new experience for me. I’ve only been outside the country once; last year, I went to Nicaragua,” Higgins said. “I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in a culture different from ours. But they were clearly struggling. It’s one thing to see it on television, but to see it all around you, it becomes much more palpable.”

That was just a trip. This time, he hopes he’ll be able to make a difference.

“Throughout my time in high school and certainly in college, I derived a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment from engaging in community service opportunities. I saw the Peace Corps as a meaningful and significant way to continue [performing] service.”

He studied both political science and anthropology in college, each a subject which examines humanity in its own way. He’ll be exposed to experiences relevant to both, he believes.

“I will specifically work in the education sector. I tutored at [an Iowa] adult literacy center, and in Indonesia I will be teaching English to high school and junior high school students.  In Indonesia, education, I believe, is more [formal], authoritarian and a lot of memorization. Small-group work is a very foreign concept, I understand. I want students to be able think critically. I hope to be able to foster that.”

Will he change the way the kids learn?

“You have to strike a balance with their [format]. I don’t plan to go in there and unilaterally [enforce] an American style of education. I’m sure they have a lot to offer, too.”

He’ll integrate the things he experienced as a student and as a tutor.

“I’m really excited about the opportunities outside the classroom. Developing extracurricular activities outside of the classroom, to foster creativity and engagement.”

The Peace Corps proved to be very selective, he said.

“The application process is quite arduous. I started applying a year and a half ago,” he said. “They want people who can stick it out and represent the United States well, through some very different, and I’m sure, sometimes difficult circumstances.”

1
Text Only
Ottumwa
  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT OEDC director -T Guiding our growth

    OTTUMWA — An organization designed to help Ottumwa grow has found a new employee in Indiana. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) board has chosen Sharon Stroh as the group's new executive director. “We are confident she will hit the g

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City Council approves sale of properties OTTUMWA — On Tuesday the Ottumwa City Council met for the last regularly scheduled meeting of April. Included in the agenda for the evening were several dispositions of city owned property. Structures and land located at 519 W. Fourth St., 723 E. Mar

    April 15, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0415 Right side up monster truck pic Nice driver --- mean machine OTTUMWA --- Drivers sat at one end of their vehicles during the "pit party," meeting fans and signing autographs before the motorsport and monster truck exhibition at Bridge View Center this weekend. Monster truck driver Orville Hill let kids --- and

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0415 OTT Composting ethical pic Recycling in a garden OTTUMWA --- Parents will tell you: They hate to see kids waste food. A gardner named Scott Koepke feels the same way. “First, let’s get our food to people who are going to eat it,” he said. “It hurts me to see kids in the schools throw away an entire

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0412 OTT Pothole color photo -T -M [Duplicate] A bumper crop of potholes OTTUMWA — The nice weather has been putting the bad roads on display. Officials say good: It gives us a chance to fix them. “Every city is going through the same thing,” said Larry Seals, Ottumwa Public Works director. “It has been an unusual winter

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home in a tent OTTUMWA -- As people live without shelter, they become desperate finding a place to sleep. The situation impacts more than just the community's homeless. "There is nowhere to put people who are homeless," said Mary Margaret Butler. "Nowhere." Ottumwa

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Martha Speaks color photo -T -M Ottumwa children visited by cartoon star OTTUMWA — Iowa Public Television is celebrating its 45-year anniversary this year by helping communities like Ottumwa educate young children before they get into a school setting. One of the programs they are using to help reach out to children is by

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National