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Where Are They Now? Rachel Courtney

Some people spend a lifetime making memorable moments. Meet Rachael Courtney from Champaign who has a had the memorable moments of a lifetime in just the past 6 months! Talk about living!!!

Which years did you attend the UW?


When did you graduate?

December, 2019

What are you doing now?

Until a few weeks ago, I was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador as a Teaching English as a Second Language (TEFL) assistant teacher. Currently, I am back in the US waiting until international travel is more secure. The decision was made by the US government for all Peace Corps volunteers to return to the US until they can ensure that the coronavirus wouldn't affect us abroad. For now, I'm enjoying extra time with family, snuggles with my dog, and catching up on reading!

What was your major?

I majored in Spanish and International Studies

Describe one of your fondest memories of your time at UW?

I have two fond memories that stick out. First, I was in the marching band and my last performance with the band was at the Rose Bowl earlier this year. It was a real dream. Second, I got to go to Colombia for a month to study human rights, education policy, and the 70-year period of violence in Colombia. It is such a beautiful country and it was a true blessing to be able to meet all of the professors working at our partner university.

Why did you choose to attend UW?

I chose UW for both the Education and International Studies programs. Even though I didn't specifically major in education, I really appreciated the whole education department and focused a lot of my International Studies degree on education policy and how it interacts with international development.

What would you tell others considering UW?

Although it seems like a huge school, there are so many ways to find smaller communities at UW. For me it was the marching band, but for others it's their friends in the dorms or their job. There truly are people passionate about just about everything, so get excited to find your next best friends!

How have you benefited from your UW education?

As previously mentioned, the Education Department, specifically a few professors really helped me with my next step after school. Now more like mentors, those professors continue to support me with resources and advice that is truly priceless.

How did your scholarship help?

This scholarship helped me decide between this university and another that I didn't receive any scholarships from. The money went towards my first semester's tuition which helped me start school less stressed financially.

What high school did you attend?

Champaign Central High School