Sarah Byce, master’s of environmental studies candidate.

Sarah Byce, a student of the environmental studies: Peace Corps master’s international program at the University of Charleston, South Carolina, is one of eight winners of the Peace Corps’ annual “Blog It Home” contest. The four-year programallows her to take coursework in Charleston the first and fourth years of the program, and to serve for two years with the Peace Corps during the middle two years. She currently has 13 months left in her Peace Corps service.

Byce’s blog, Journey to the Philippines, details her experiences and adventures serving with the volunteer organization in Odiongan, Philippines.

Journey to the Philippines was selected from more than 400 submissions. More than 20,000 people voted on different blogs, resulting in eight winners. She will fly to Washington, D.C., in October 2015 to participate in a Peace Corps Top Blogger Tour, give presentations, attend professional development seminars and celebrate her win.

Byce was recognized for stewarding the Peace Corps’ three-pronged mission: “To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.”

“Here in Odiongan, I live with a host family (at least initially, although I am so fond of the Famero family, that I may stay with them for my entire 2 years!),” she wrote on her blog. “Each day is a new adventure: I have learned to harvest rice, sing karaoke in Tagalog, kill and cook a chicken, gut fish, rescue a stranded dolphin, and eat balut. While poverty is a daily encounter in my life here, the Philippines is also rich: rich in culture, in community, in marine biodiversity, and I am so happy to call this place home.”