It’s impossible to go through a life-changing event like Peace Corps service without learning a few lessons along the way. With that said, there are a few things I’m glad that I experienced before signing up for two years abroad.
I’m definitely not saying that every person who wants to be a Peace Corps volunteer needs to have an identical resume. You don’t need a passport filled with stamps from foreign places, a background in international development, or fluency in another language to be considered for service.
But you do need to have realistic expectations to be a happy and successful volunteer.
When you think of the Peace Corps, a certain image probably springs to mind.
When I was a student, I thought joining the Peace Corps meant two years of mud huts, no electricity, and walking miles for a few liters of water. While I wanted to be the type of person who could take on that kind of challenge head-on and live a much simpler life, in my heart of hearts, I wasn’t sure that I could cut it.
But what I didn’t know was that the stereotypical Peace Corps volunteer experience was changing because the world itself was changing.
Defining “Posh Corps”
Posh Corps (päshkȯr)
noun 1. A Peace Corps country or site that has electricity, running water, imported goods, and other amenities; Most Peace Corps volunteers in the Posh Corps have wi-fi.
adjective 2. Luxurious; She’s got a microwave and dishwasher! It’s a totally Posh Corps apartment.
In a whirlwind weekend, I visited my friend Minju at her lovely site, Lezhe! We spent a day at the beach and took a trip to the castle overlooking the sea – with plenty of coffees and ice cream in between!
Sunday, June 10, 2018, 10:21pm
Whew! These past few days have been a crazy, somewhat-spontaneous adventure, and I couldn’t have asked for a better visit in Lezhe, a town in northwestern Albania. Minju was a fantastic host, and it was beyond lovely to see her again. After two failed attempts at meeting up, it turned out that the third time really was the charm!
A Day at the Beach in Shengjin
I had a harrowing bus ride through Tirana and only just barely made it to the Lezhe station on time. When I finally arrived in town, I was happy to have finished my stressful solo travel and left the rest of the weekend planning to Minju, who met me at the bus stop.
Lezhe is a bustling city just south of Shkoder near the coastal city of Shengjin. As far as amenities go, Lezhe has a lovely city center with brightly colored buildings, ancient, architectural attractions including a castle overlooking the sea, and five Big Markets. I knew that Lezhe was a large site before arriving, but I had no idea just how big it was until I stepped off the bus and Minju whisked me past artisanal pasta shops, dozens of lokals, and a fancy river walk.Continue reading A Weekend in Lezhe→
With one year under my belt as a Peace Corps volunteer, I’ve grown to love Albania as a second home. My American and Albanian friends are my second family, and I consider Albanian my second language.
So without further ado, here are four things I love about Albania after over twelve months in the Peace Corps!
1. Albanian Food
There are so many things that I love about Albania. But I’ll start with the food. Albanian food is comfort food. It’s warm bowls of bean soup on a cold winter day, egg custard pie wrapped in tinfoil for a picnic, fresh salads from vegetables grown in my host family’s backyard, grilled chicken over a campfire late at night, and all the bread you can possibly eat. When Albanians ask if you’re hungry or if you’ve eaten, they say, “Do hash bukë?” which translates to, “Do you want to eat bread?” Continue reading 4 Things I Love About Albania After a Year in the Peace Corps→
For the past few months, I’ve been working on a recycling project in the Permet schools with local NGO Cesvi! It’s been a long and winding road, and we’re only half done, but I wanted to share some photos and stories from the project!
As an Environmental Studies major, I’m pretty passionate about the environment.
So when I was given the opportunity to help coordinate a recycling project right here in Permet, needless to say I was thrilled.
I’d been waiting for a chance to work on an environmental project, and finally a year into my service, I had the institutional support, community buy-in, and funding I needed to get an activity off the ground. Continue reading The Permet Recycling Project→