Giving back what they received

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By Jacob Cummer for Iowa Now

Carl and Claire Stuart

Carl and Claire Stuart’s shared journey began on the University of Iowa campus. Nearly 45 years and thousands of miles later, that journey continues.

The Stuarts, who are from Iowa—Carl from Keokuk, Claire from Waterloo—met while they were students at the UI. After graduating in 1969—Carl with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Claire with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education—they set off for Peru to teach English in the Andes armed only with what Carl calls “the wonderful ignorance of youth.” The experience changed their lives.

“You see the world differently when you spend time abroad,” says Claire. “You see the similarities, which helps create less of a ‘them and us’ feeling about other cultures. Our experience was transformational.”

After returning from Peru, the Stuarts lived and worked in Waterloo, Iowa. But after a few years—and the birth of two of their three children—they knew their road pointed elsewhere. Thanks to the worldview their Peru experience provided them, they had the courage to follow it.

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