PST June: The First Month in Kosovo

To see an overview of Pre-Service Training, visit this page.

PST June

I began my Peace Corps adventure on June 5th by flying to Washington D.C. for Staging. After meeting my fellow volunteers and completing a brief orientation, we flew to Kosovo, leaving Saturday and arriving on Sunday around lunch time. We were warmly welcomed to the country by the Peace Corps staff and a few of the current PCVs.

Language classes in Gjilan
Our first Albanian language classes in Gjilan.

We then took a bus to the city of Gjilan, where we spent the next three days in a hotel for orientation. This included language classes, meetings with the medical staff, and sessions on Kosovar culture. (To see what our hotel rooms look like, check out this video clip posted by a K3 volunteer named April.)

On Wednesday we had the privilege of meeting the U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Tracey Ann Jacobson. Afterwards we boarded a bus to our Pre-Service Training (PST) site of Kamenice.

Me and host mom
Meeting my PST host mother for the first time!

Waiting for us were our host families, who we will live with for the duration of the summer. For more information about my first night with my host family, check out this post.

On Thursday the real PST began. Most of our days are spent in class from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. To read more about the structure of PST, visit this page.

Novobrdo hike 2
Hiking in the beautiful hills surrounding Novobrdo

Luckily PST also includes day trips around the country. On June 12th we traveled to Novobrdo, a medieval fortress in the mountains of eastern Kosovo. It is estimated that the castle was built around 1285. We were able to learn about the ancient metropolis while hiking around the ruins. The trip showcased the striking beauty and rich history of Kosovo.

Standing on top of some of the ruins of Novobrdo
President chat
President Jahjaga speaking to us about the challenges facing Kosovo
Presidents office
Posing in the Presidential Office

On June 26th we woke up super early to take a bus to Prishtina, Kosovo’s capital. We walked all over the city, visited the Peace Corps Office, and then had an official meeting with the President of Kosovo! She spoke to us about the ethnic tensions in Kosovo and gender inequality. When we arrived back in Kamenice that night, our families turned on the television and we got to see ourselves on the news! The first month in Kosovo made me feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in this new country. To continue reading about my summer in Kosovo, check out my post on PST in July.

Me and President
Meeting President Atifete Jahjaga of Kosovo