Ask a Volunteer
Q: If you had 30 seconds to tell someone in the U.S. about your country of service; what would you most like to convey to help combat the common stereotypes and generalizations?
A: Georgia is a place of stark differences, as are most developing nations. Georgia has some of the most beautiful natural scenery that I have ever encountered. The Georgian people are welcoming and kind, despite often living on insufficient salaries and suffering through constant political upheaval. I see so much promise in this little country on the Black Sea.
Erin Hardesty, English Education Peace Corps Volunteer, Georgia
A: Albania holds a very complex but interesting history. From its time under Ottoman rule, to its period of isolation under a strict communist regime, Albania has a history that most people in the U.S. know nothing about. Albania is a land of rich diversity, made up of gorgeous views through the mountains, and scenic beaches on the Adriatic. This is truly an untapped natural beauty that I hope one day you all get to visit.
Jason Budahazy, Business Management Peace Corps Volunteer, Albania
A: The most important thing that we Peace Corps Volunteers can do is recognize that for democracy to thrive, people must learn how to be active participants. Through teaching English, we can use methods that encourage teamwork, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking. When people are empowered, the possibilities are limitless.
Gretel Enck, Parks & Wildlife Peace Corps Volunteer, Romania
A: I think many people believe that Ukrainians have a cold, unfriendly character to match the horribly cold and miserable weather. I beg to differ. Ukraine has four distinct seasons, including a gorgeous summer, a sunny autumn, and a winter that is milder than many parts of the U.S. Ukrainians I know are optimistic, positive, and some of the most hospitable people I know. They take care of each other and always want you to be warm and well fed.
Julia Benson, English Education Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine
A: The main thing I would say is that Moldova has to be one of the warmest, hospitable, and welcoming countries I have ever been to. In the past, I always imagined former Soviet, eastern European countries as being cold, lonely, and the people bitter, and anti-American. But the land here is so rich with fresh fruits and vegetables. Sunflowers cover the fields in summer. There is singing, dancing, laughter and pride. I feel at home.
Kalenga Pembamoto, Business Management Peace Corps Volunteer, Moldova
A: As a Business and Social Entrepreneurship Volunteer working in Georgia (and that's the country, not the state!), I have been given the opportunity to experience one of the oldest and underrated cultures that is still thriving today. Peace Corps has provided me with the skills to speak my host country language so that I can converse and interact with my Georgian counterpart and community in a way that no average traveler could. When my counterpart says that I am officially a part of their family, and to be able to communicate that back with them...you know that there is a special bond that could never be broken. And I have Peace Corps to thank for that."
John-Michael McRae, Business Management Peace Corps Volunteer, Georgia
A: I would first ask for more than 30 seconds of their time and begin to explain the heartwarming hospitality of my small landlocked host country: the Republic of Moldova. Although I have only been at site for a little over six months, I can tell you that some stereotypes and generalizations are true, but aren't they also true of the United States of America? Coming from a complicated sociopolitical and economic history, Moldova is proud of their heritage, hopeful for a brighter future and struggling to make it through another day.
Emily Getty, Agricultural Economics Peace Corps Volunteer, Moldova
A: Yes, Azerbaijan is a real country. It is situated in Eurasia between Russia, Iran, Georgia, Armenia and the Caspian Sea. Before you ask, no, it is not like what's been portrayed in some movies, although many of the men do rock mustaches and the former Soviet Union/Eastern European clichés do permeate much of Azerbaijan. These people are much deeper, much more modernized, more sophisticated, have a much richer culture and are, in fact, quite different from the Hollywood stereotype that so many people may have come to identify with in this part of the world. Azerbaijani people are kind, hospitable, nationalistic, and very proud of their history, their culture, their traditions, their wars, their land, their characters and themselves.
Rebecca Gilbert, English Education Peace Corps Volunteer, Azerbaijan
A: Armenia is a small country with a long history. Armenians have their own language, and their own church; this has given Armenia a remarkable cohesiveness. After belonging to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for 75 years, Armenia is an independent country transitioning to a capitalist economy. This transition is slow and not all have benefited, but given the resiliency and independence of most Armenians, this country will endure.
Hedley Bond, Environmental Education Peace Corps Volunteer, Armenia