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School’s Out for Summer!

As of Friday (May 26) the 2016-2017 school year at the Opishnya Specialized School has finally come to an end! The end of the year was marked with multiple celebrations ranging from presentations and 4th form graduation, to the “Last Bell”. The festivities kicked off with a presentation/awards ceremony for students and teachers.  This day is known as the “Day of School”.  This day honors those who work in the Ukrainian school system and the students they help.  Below are...

Springtime for … Ukrainians (and the American)

Spring is Ukraine is truly the most wonderful time of the year (I may be a little biased): snow melts, green grass appears, and the birds and flowers finally make an appearance after hiding for months! I have been kept VERY busy this spring! Between teaching 18 classes a week, running 3 clubs, tutoring, and getting my 3rd cold (which turned into a sinus infection) since moving to Ukraine, I have had little time to relax.        ...

Gummy vs. Candy Challenge

A few days ago (in between lesson planning and teaching) my sister and I stumbled across a hilarious YouTube channel: Josh Darnit.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, you should really go check it out.  I have used several of these videos in my classes, so I can say that students love them and the videos are educational (i.e. they are good for learning English). Since I’ve gotten inspiration from YouTube videos showing various challenges, this week’s...

My First Christmas in Ukraine!

This year’s Christmas season began on the day I arrived in Opishnya, December 7th.  The seventh of December is an important day for Americans, myself, and Ukrainians, but for very different reasons.  It is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance day, my Swearing-In day, and Saint. Catherine’s day.  In Ukraine, St. Catherine’s day marks the start of the Christmas season.  Saint Catherine of Alexandria is a Christian Saint, who died in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius.  St....

Happy Thanksgiving!

On December 7, 2016, I swore-in as a Peace Corps volunteer.  I will be teaching English in Ukraine for the next two years (and I can’t imagine spending the next two years any other way).  I will be spending this week: observing classes, helping with research, deciding on my future Ukrainian classes (literature and language), and giving presentations.  Even though I won’t be teaching any classes, I am excited to do what I can before the winter break!  As I...

My New Home, Ukraine

I decided that I wanted to become Peace Corps volunteer in the 10th grade.  At the time, my main goal was to become a traveling nurse.  After changing majors as an undergrad and then going to school to get my masters, the thought of serving in the Peace Corps seemed to be a fleeting dream.  If you had told me that I would be moving across the world within the next ten years, I would have said that you were...

Thoughts on Pre-Service Training (PST)

Ever since I have first saw the letters: P S T, I have heard many phrases and descriptions.  The most common phrases include: “Just make it through PST and you will be alright”, “If you can get through PST, you can get through anything”, “The next two years are so much easier”, and (my personal favorite) “You can do this!”.  The phrase that I have personally been holding onto throughout this journey is a quote by Maya Angelou:   “I’ve...

First Week of PST

добре ранок! (Good Morning!) Today marks the one-week anniversary of starting Pre Service Training (PST) in Nosivka in Chernihiv Oblast, Ukraine.  A lot has happened this week, so let’s begin!! My first full day of PST involved sleeping late and working in the garden.  Our garden is located in the backyard, with plenty of room to growing fresh veggies and exploring.  We harvested carrots and beets that day.  The pictures below are only a sample of the massive amount of carrots...

Staging and Traveling and Arrival Retreat, Oh My!

A lot has happened this past week!  The first part of my week long adventure involved visiting Washington, DC.  On Sunday after noon, I left my family and friends in South Carolina and several hours later I arrived in DC to complete Staging (Peace Corps speak for orientation).  The Staging process was fun, exciting, and exhausting (little did I know that this would be the most normal sleep that I would experience during this week).  My fellow Peace Corps invitees...

The Card

This is it…the morning that I begin my journey!  At 12:45 pm I will be headed to Washington, DC.  There, I will begin my travels by meeting my fellow trainees and attending a brief orientation.  Until my flight leaves, I have the next several hours to spend waiting.  Unfortunately, I’m experiencing what often comes with playing the waiting game…emotions.  The emotions that have been blocked by activities and tiredness seem to have finally hit me full force: excitement for the...