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As an international affairs graduate, it’s not surprising that Chantal Pasquarello ’02loves to travel. She dreams one day of working in human rights and development and maybe living abroad.

She just returned from a Peace Corps assignment in the African country of Togo, which she began the winter after graduation.

“Peace Corps really was something I always wanted to do; it was a dream of mine for as long as I could remember,” Pasquarello says. “I love traveling and was able to study abroad while at Lafayette, and to me the idea of living in another culture for two years was fascinating.”

Her time was spent in a small village as an education and empowerment volunteer, encouraging girls in her village to attend and stay in school. Working with parents, school directors, and students was challenging because 97 percent of the society is agrarian. Lack of other industry means few schools and little support for people to go to school, Pasquarello says.

“When I talk about my experience, people seem to think it was negative, but it was incredibly positive. It taught me so much. I saw grass roots living — what the realities are for everyday farmers in the Third World.”

The first year she was in the village, as the only Peace Corps volunteer, she experienced much anger and resentment toward the United States and the broader international community because of the poverty surrounding her.

“But the second year, I felt I did do a number of good projects and made a lot of amazing friends. It was everything I expected, but not in the rose-colored glasses sort of way,” she says.

An EXCEL Scholar as an undergraduate who conducted research on the Middle East peace process, Pasquarello plans to attend graduate school to study international human rights development.

“Spending two years on that level really made me want to graduate to the next level and use the experience and knowledge I gained to bring my work up to the policy level,” she notes.

She hopes to use her expertise and hands-on knowledge as an advocate for the Third World as part of a non-governmental organization such as Amnesty International.

And she has no doubts she’ll be well-prepared. At Lafayette, she traveled extensively, spending time in countries such as Italy, Belize, Russia, Poland, and Ireland.

“All of the travel prepared me for the experience of living abroad,” says Pasquarello. “Living in Belize prepared me for living in Third World countries in relative deprivation. During my sophomore year I was able to go to South America and that exposed me to a lot of Third World realities as well.

“I definitely think Lafayette’s focus on international travel was a big help in getting me where I’m at. I didn’t realize when I decided to go to Lafayette how much student travel is encouraged and I’m so glad in retrospect that I went to Lafayette.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles