Thursday, October 28, 2010

i aspire.

here is my aspiration statement. given the 7-10 day deadline along with a million other things to get done, don't judge too harshly on the grammar/writing. feel free to use this as an example. hopefully it helps explain some of my reasoning behind joining the peace corps & the reasons i believe i will be successful in kazakhstan.

The professional attributes you plan to use, and what aspirations you hope to fulfill, during your Peace Corps service.

I aim to use my education and personal experiences with the United States Education system during my Peace Corps Service in Kazakhstan. My extensive education in the field of Curriculum and Instruction, particularly pertaining to English Language Learners will prove to be very useful in my role as a secondary teacher trainer. My experiences observing seasoned English teachers, utilizing best practices in teaching English to adult immigrants, and substituting in the public school system have given me ample opportunity to put my educational foundation into concrete experiences. This experience with educational theory and interactive teaching strategies will be beneficial in training teachers in Kazakhstan new methods of teaching that engage critical thinking skills and move away from rote memorization. I also aim to use my experience in public speaking, non-profit fundraising, and customer service to work respectfully and effectively within my community.
I aspire to learn a great deal more about the educational system in Kazakhstan and the goals for that educational system. I also hope to use the professional skills I possess in order to be more effective in my position as a secondary teacher trainer. I am excited to learn more about the details of the Peace Corps and working within a U.S. government organization. I aspire to be an outstanding Peace Corps Volunteer that will reflect my country and Peace Corps well.

The strategies for working effectively with host country partners to meet expressed needs.

In order to work effectively with host country partners to meet expressed needs, it is key to remain open-minded, patient, and respectful. During my service I intend to spend time getting to know my host country partners and allowing them ample time to express their needs and concerns. This involves listening carefully to gain a full understanding of their goals and the resulting implications, as well as asking questions in order to clarify and gain as clear a picture as possible. It is my hope that by listening carefully to the needs of my host country partners that I may be able to work with them to develop solutions together. Using skills and strategies learned during Peace Corps Training I aim to make myself available to my host country partners and work with them to address the concerns they have with sustainable goals and solutions.

Your strategies for adapting to a new culture with respect to your own cultural background.

I am always excited to learn about new cultures. My travels in Africa, as well as my teaching experience with English as a Second Language learners have give me an opportunity to learn a great deal about cultures that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. Each experience with a new culture seems to change and broaden my view of the world. Every student I have discussed culture with always expresses their desire to learn as much as they can about the American culture, while still retaining their personal identity that is composed of varying values, traditions, and cultural influences. It has always been a goal in my classroom to be open and tolerant of differing views, as well as kind and understanding toward any individual no matter how different. This is a concept that can be adapted to my travels in Kazakhstan. I will strive to remain open-minded and tolerant, as well as kind and understanding. I want to learn as much about the culture of Kazakhstan while still retaining my personal values, traditions and cultural influences. I know that my personal identity will shift and grow while I am in Kazakhstan. I also recognize that with my constant journal writing, letters and e-mails to friends and family, talking with fellow Peace Corps Volunteers, and sharing with my new host country friends, I will be able to maintain a strong sense of self and my own cultural background with a broadened worldview.

The skills and knowledge you hope to gain during pre-service training to best serve your future community and project.

During pre-service training I hope to progress in the language of Kazakh or Russian as much as possible. I hope that with the instruction Peace Corps will provide and my hard work and developed study skills I will do well in the language and therefore more effectively communicate within my community and while working at my site. I also hope to learn a great deal about the educational system in Kazakhstan and the goals for English language learning. I would like to speak with current teachers and hear about their current strategies and concerns in the classroom.
I hope to gain a better understanding of life and culture within Kazakhstan. I anticipate that pre-service training will train me to utilize the skills I possess in ways that will be most effective in my future position in Kazakhstan.

How you think Peace Corps service will influence your personal and professional aspirations after your service ends.

I know that the effect my Peace Corps service will have on my personal and professional life will be vast. I believe my Peace Corps service will challenge my current thoughts on the world outside of the United States. I am sure that I will gain a greater understanding of myself including my limitations and abilities. Peace Corps will push me beyond my general comfort level and test my strength as an individual. I know that I will return to the states with a greater appreciation for family and friends and small comforts that may now go unnoticed.
Professionally, my Peace Corps service will give me an undoubted advantage in an English as a Second language classroom, whether it is here in the United States or abroad. Spending time working with other teachers and focusing on useful strategies in the classroom will certainly cause me to reevaluate my classroom strategies. The international experience of living in Kazakhstan and learning a second language will give me an advantage in being able to more closely relate to the students in my classroom. No matter what direction my professional endeavors take me, the life skills I will develop in my Peace Corps service will transfer and apply. I am certain that I will possess more confidence in my professional skills and my ability to accomplish even the most arduous task.

Friday, October 15, 2010

and that's all folks.

i have accepted the position in kazakhstan. i put more details about kazakhstan and my assignment under the tabs at the top of the page.

the question of the hour has been 'how do you feel'? i feel a lot of things at the moment. i am mainly excited about this absolutely superb opportunity. of course there is a hint of sadness at leaving my awesome family and friends. i know that particular feeling is one that i will feel much stronger the closer march, 9th gets. right now though, i am feeling a whole lot of overwhelmed.

i have so much information to process and paperwork to fill out and send in. i also have my updated resume and aspiration statement to send in. unfortunately, i still have a major commitment to my classes and work. as much as i would love to plop down on my couch, work on a packing list, and practice russian, i still have plenty o' stuff to get done.

i also have a lot of people to tell about pc. i kept it all on the down low because i didn't want to say anything and then not get invited, but now i have so many people to tell that had no clue i even applied.

this is so exciting and exhausting and i still have quite a while until staging.

let the countdown begin,

Sunday, October 10, 2010


it is amazing to me that it is finally that time. i woke up to find a toolkit update: i'm invited to serve! not only was that exciting enough, but my invitation kit was in the mail the same day. (one of the perks of living so close to dc and the pc headquarters)

i have been invited to serve in kazakhstan! my staging is march 9, 2011. my assignment is secondary teacher trainer.

i have to admit that i was completely surprised by this. i was thinking it would be ukraine, albania, or turkmenistan based on the peace corps wiki timeline. i've been doing my research, and i will be sending in my final decision by wednesday.

i didn't update like i should have, but my placement officer sent me an email last thursday with my final interview questions.she also let me know that she was looking at a program in eastern europe/central asia leaving in march. i answered the questions and emailed her back the next morning. i can't believe how quickly this all came around.

still processing the good news,