First year of service summarized

If you don’t know where to start on my blog, this timeline can be your guide! You can also check out the complete archive to see a list of all of my blog posts.
This is an overview of my 27 months, providing some context to my posts from each month.


1After attaining final medical clearance I wrote about some of my worries regarding Peace Corps service and the most common misconceptions about Peace Corps and Kosovo.

I departed for Kosovo in June, 2015 after saying goodbye to Alaska and attending Staging in Washington, D.C.
2

Over the next 11 weeks of summer I completed Pre-Service Training in Kamenica, Kosovo. During this time I lived with a host family, ate way too much bread, and learned Albanian.
3

After being sworn-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and delivering a speech in Albanian to the President of Kosovo, I moved to my permanent site: Gjakova.


4On September 1st I began teaching 11th-12th grade English at a technical school. Near the end of the month I traveled to Albania for a week to chaperone a school trip.
5

I also dealt with some digestion issues and wrote a poop-inspired post to chronicle the experience. The rest of the fall involved lots of teaching and integrating into my site. I wrote about some of the things Americans do that seem strange to Kosovars.

6By November I started to really feel at-home in Gjakova and reflected on the joys and challenges of life with a host family. However, I was dealing with some challenges working at a male-dominated high school and began considering moving to a different school.


7After three months at site the volunteers reunited in the city of Peja for a week of training during the first week of December.

Then the semester concluded and we enjoyed a two-week break from teaching. For one of those weeks I traveled to Germany and Austria with another volunteer to celebrate Christmas.

8January and February involved more teaching and trying to survive my first Kosovar winter. During this time several volunteers left Kosovo, known as Early Termination.

9In mid-February there was another conference in the capital, called Project Design and Management. There was also a Model United Nations conference for our MUN clubs.


10In March I began teaching 10th grade at a new school, which was a much-needed change. We also had a three-day language training in Prizren and I wrote about some of the challenges being immersed in another language.

11For our week-long spring break in April I traveled through Albania & Macedonia by bus and saw some breathtaking sites. My host family and I ushered in spring by visiting some famous sites in Kosovo and making traditional meals for picnics.12 (2)

In May my host family and I celebrated Saint George’s Day and I witnessed animal sacrifices for the first time. They also surprised me by giving me a 4-week-old kitten as a pet!

My 12th grade students graduated in mid-May and celebrated with a prom that puts American proms to shame. My host family also took me to see the famous waterfalls in central Kosovo.


In June the school year ended and my summer vacation began! 13 (2)I used the time off to travel to Berlin on my own (read about the trip here) and to help out at another volunteer’s summer camp. I also reflected on some of my favorite things in Kosovo, like the coffee culture and award-winning macchiatos.

14

In the summer most families in Kosovo travel to the beach in Albania for vacation. This July I had the chance to take part in the tradition and went for vacation on the Adriatic Sea with my host family!

In August I reached the one-year anniversary of my move to Gjakova, my permanent site.

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