Hello there everyone!

My name is Connor O'Brien, I'm 24 and after graduating from American University in 2016, I joined the Peace Corps, and went to live in rural Ukraine. The Peace Corps is an American government agency that strives to improve the lives of people all over the world, and create international friendship and understanding. Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) serve for a period of 27 months abroad. I work as a TEFL (teaching English as a Foreign Language) volunteer at a secondary school in Ukraine. Being in Ukraine has been an amazing opportunity for me, and I have loved working with the people here, and I would like to share with you my experiences and answer your questions about the Peace Corps and Ukraine. Please note, this post does not represent the official views of the Peace Corps.

Small plug: I'm doing a camp Model UN with several other amazing volunteers this summer, and we are currently fundraising to make it happen.

https://www.peacecorps.gov/donate/projects/camp-model-united-nations-for-boys-lgl-18-343-017/

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/JkfeSZb

EDIT: I realized that the proof photo was for a different account. I changed it shortly after because I didn't want people thinking this was an official account. Sorry. New proof: https://imgur.com/a/bSy2R99

EDIT 2: Alright everyone, thanks for all of your questions! It's past my bedtime here, so I'm shutting down for the night. Anyone who has more questions, please feel free to PM me.

EDIT 3: I'm blown away by how big this got! Thanks everyone for your questions, and thanks for checking out and donating to Camp Model UN, we really appreciate it. I'm at work today teaching, but I'll try to answer any last stragglers thorough the day during my breaks. If you want to talk more, reach out to me and PM me. Thanks!

Comments: 658 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

WhiteGriffon215 karma

My daughter is looking to join the peace corp once she finishes her degree.

  1. How is the country selected for your time in the PC.

  2. Is security or saftey an issue.

  3. What are some things to recommend to a future PC member?

vyshyvanka_tuesday228 karma

That's great, and good for you for helping her get more info! My parents were very worried when I joined, but now they are cool with it, even came to visit!

As for your questions:

1 It used to be mostly random, but now you get to choose where you apply. You pick three countries and three programs.

Example:

Ukraine, TEFL (ME!)

Ghana, youth development.

Mexico, community development.

You also have the option of saying "send me anywhere." Some pick this, some don't.

2 For me, no. Someone tried to pickpocket me once when I was in Kyiv, but failed. But every site is different. I can't tell you exactly what your daughter will face, I'd be lying if I said I did. What I can say is that PC works VERY hard on vetting their sites and host families, to try and make it as safe as possible serving there. Each country has a safety and security manager to make sure things run smoothly, and to help volunteers if they get into jams. I personally feel very safe at site, more than I did living in DC to be honest.

3 Know what you want to do. Don't go into anything halfhearted. Read books about the PC, watch video blogs, try to skype with serving volunteers. Know what you are getting into. Once you know all that information, and you still want to serve, GO FOR IT! IT WILL BE AMAZING!

Visit peacecorps.gov for more info

Rushyo8 karma

TEFL?

vyshyvanka_tuesday15 karma

Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

coryrenton141 karma

What American business or cuisine that isn't yet there do you think would do really well in Ukraine and vice versa?

vyshyvanka_tuesday249 karma

American style Chinese food. I miss it soooo much!

I really like Ukrainian trains. They are pretty convenient, not too expensive, and they have bunks for sleeping. I wish America had more railroads!

coryrenton44 karma

Is there... Ukrainian style Chinese food? What is that like?

vyshyvanka_tuesday74 karma

I've eaten at one place in Kyiv two or three time. It felt like an average American Chinese place. I wished I could sample more of the menu to give you a better answer.

But most Ukrainian cities don't have them. Odessa, Kyiv, and Lviv is where you will find them. Sushi restaurants are very common though.

FiveSkinn29 karma

I’m an American living in Kyiv(3 Years now) and I know a great Chinese food place that reminds me of the states. If you’re living in Kyiv, I can tel you which one!

vyshyvanka_tuesday24 karma

I'm not living in Kyiv. But I do visit if you want to let me in on the secret.

cassu613 karma

Are Kyiv and Lviv = Kiev and Lwow? Always seen them spelled the latter way

vyshyvanka_tuesday17 karma

In America I always saw Kiev, but here it is Kyiv. I've never seen Lwow though

excor30 karma

It's just a shame they don't really have roads yet. Which city are you staying in?

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

Ukraine has roads! Some are a bit bumpy, but I've never had too big a problem with them.

EnthusiasticSlob72 karma

Irish AF. How do I join and do I need to support myself financially?

vyshyvanka_tuesday98 karma

Yes, my name is super Irish. I'm American though, which is a requirement of being a volunteer. You can join by going to peacecorps.gov and looking at the programs, and what best suits you. Peace Corps pays you a good stipend while you are in country, so you don't have to worry too much about money.

ZigZagSigSag39 karma

Peace Corps pays a good stipend

Things have changed since the PC bros I met in West Africa.

vyshyvanka_tuesday12 karma

Well, all I can talk about is my experience. I do alright.

candacebernhard3 karma

How far into the service are you? As in how many months have you completed so far?

vyshyvanka_tuesday5 karma

About a year and a half in

somethingtosay233364 karma

What was your undergraduate degree and how does that affect your placement or acceptance in the peace corps?

Did you have a choice where you wished to go and what type of security is provided for peace corps officer?

vyshyvanka_tuesday117 karma

International relations. I honestly don't know.

Yes, I got to pick Ukraine. You apply for the country and field.

Well, we are not "officers" we are volunteers. My basic security is a smile, and that has worked so far. Most Ukrainians are very nice people! I'm about 20 miles from the nearest American.

favorscore14 karma

What was your opinion on American university? Also, you've probably answered this already but what do you plan to do once you leave PC?

vyshyvanka_tuesday19 karma

I liked AU. Gave me a good education. Undefeated football team. I'm actually planning on going to grad school. Might look into a job for a few years though. I'm keeping my options open.

hatsnatcher2357 karma

Why do organizations like the CIA and some other government ones require that you haven't worked for the peace corps in the last few years?

vyshyvanka_tuesday135 karma

Its the same vice versa. When JFK made the PC in the 60's, he told the CIA and co "Hands off." Peace corps can only function when we have the trust and cooperation of host countries. The Peace Corps and the US government foster that trust by assuring countries that the Peace Corps is not a front for the CIA to operate under. We are non-political, non-religious, and non-intelligence.

Even having a close relative in the intelligence service can make your application to the PC very difficult.

revets39 karma

My wife was in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria in the 2000s. Not too long after the program was closed. Her impression was while most everyone was very receptive to her role, there was a small contingent of Bulgarians that found it slightly... humiliating maybe... to be part of that program. As though it put their country in the same category as true third world countries unable to provide drinking water or other basic necessities. She speculates that's among the reasons the program ended there. Any similar feedback in Ukraine?

vyshyvanka_tuesday41 karma

The Peace Corps has different mission types for different countries, because all face different issues. The only countries that we go to are the ones that invite us. The Ukrainians I've met are usually eager to work with me to create a better future for their nation.

djb8551131 karma

How big is Russian influence in Ukraine? Is it all negative ?

vyshyvanka_tuesday47 karma

I'm not knowledgeable enough on that topic to give you a good answer. I can tell you all about the Peace Corps mission though.

djb855118 karma

Fair enough answer, thanks. Regarding the Peace Corps mission are there any governmental, or international influences that are causing you obstacles in that mission?

vyshyvanka_tuesday12 karma

No, not really. PC is the government. Without them I wouldn't be here.

henryisadog29 karma

Have you dated any of the locals?

vyshyvanka_tuesday55 karma

Not really. One guy from our cohort got engaged though!

iStayedAtaHolidayInn25 karma

Well that escalated

vyshyvanka_tuesday34 karma

To each their own.

Gottatokemall27 karma

Why did you use a different username on your proof pic?

vyshyvanka_tuesday14 karma

Oh snap! Fixed it, check it out now. Thanks.

coryrenton27 karma

How much overlap is there between Peace Corps members and the ex-pat community?

vyshyvanka_tuesday25 karma

Like many things in the PC: It depends. I live far away from any big cities. The last American I saw in town (besides the ones I invite) were a couple of missionaries who were here for a week like a year ago. So......not too much.

coryrenton8 karma

Do you live essentially as natives do, or are any accommodations made to your living situation to make it easier?

vyshyvanka_tuesday42 karma

I live more or less like the average Ukrainian. Thats a big part of the Peace Corps philosophy. We don't want to be "that rich american."

Besides getting my drinking water from a well, I'm pretty comfortable. I have a nice apartment, and the wifi is good enough to do skype.

coryrenton9 karma

My impression of the Peace Corps is that missions were done in groups but it sounds like you are in Ukraine essentially alone?

vyshyvanka_tuesday32 karma

No, generally you are by yourself at site. But I've made lots of Ukrainian friends

coryrenton13 karma

When you first get to Ukraine, is there a guide or program set up to get you up and running or are you expected to essentially dive in?

vyshyvanka_tuesday18 karma

Yikes, that would be scary! Luckily, all volunteers get a three month pre service training called PST once they arrive. PST covers language, technical skills, PC procedures, etc. I was put in a village with 4 other americans and a peace corps staff person during this time.

You then get placed at site. There will be a partner org for you to work with (they are the ones who requested a volunteer). They will be prepped to work with you. Once you get there, you are on your own usually, rarely are there other Americans with you. PCVs are expected to operate with minimal supervision. I email my manager about once a month, and see her perhaps three times a year.

coryrenton5 karma

How much do you feel your language skills improved from PST vs the total immersion?

vyshyvanka_tuesday13 karma

Total immersion never happened exactly. I use English all the time at my school, my friends all speak English. I think PST was better for language, because that was the focus everyday. At site, I'm very busy with teaching and projects. I learn more and more every month, but it's slow.

However, like all things in the PC, it depends. Some people do get smaller sites where english is not spoken that much, and they use Ukrainian all the time. The village volunteers tend to have the best Ukrainian.

StayHypeBro22 karma

Do you try and make an effort to learn to speak Ukrainian? Or do you leave it to translaters and such.

vyshyvanka_tuesday63 karma

I certainly try! I have a skype lesson every week with a Ukrainian tutor. My Ukrainian is not the best, but a lot of that is because as an English teacher, I try only to speak English at school. Plus, all of my Ukrainian friends speak English very well, so I don't use it too often. I can get around, and explain simple things to my students in Ukrainian though.

That being said, my counterpart (my fellow teacher) is very helpful with translating stuff. Whenever we talk with the director of education, or I need help in town, I call her, and she helps me out. She is the best.

housedengue6 karma

Do you live in an area that primarily speaks Ukrainian or Russian?

vyshyvanka_tuesday13 karma

A mix, but mostly Ukrainian.

KBITKA18 karma

Добрий вечір. Якщо ти не проти, ти хочеш зустрічати зі мною? Я живу у Львові і я теж американський козак)

vyshyvanka_tuesday5 karma

Sorry, don't go to Lviv too often

JollyJoker7514 karma

Where abouts in Ukraine are you based? A good friend of mine is from Donetsk

vyshyvanka_tuesday14 karma

I'm roughly on the other side of the country.

JollyJoker758 karma

Fair enough, got any time to go see Pripyat? That's something on my bucket list.

vyshyvanka_tuesday12 karma

Never been, don't plan on it. A professor from college told me it was a bad idea and I took his word on it.

mon-star21 karma

I was a peace corps volunteer in Ukraine from 2005-07. I visited Pripyat and it was awesome. I highly recommend it. I actually ran into Anthony Bourdain filming an episode of no reservations while I was there.

vyshyvanka_tuesday4 karma

cool! What was your sector?

ExpiredDustyMuffin12 karma

How much free time to explore do you get? Are you able to take a few weeks off throughout the year or is the idea that you're figuratively chained to your assignment?

vyshyvanka_tuesday28 karma

The weekends are ours, and we get two days of vacation a month. Those stack. I'm going on a little trip to visit a friend the summer in another country. I've travelled to a bunch of Ukrainian cities.

That being said, there is this idea you are always on duty. I take my work home with me. I work on projects at home, grade tests, coordinate camp materials (like camp model UN!). There is a reason PC is called "the hardest job you'll ever love". But the work is fun and meaningful, and I take great pride in it.

pitcher_planter11 karma

Being a former Peace Corps volunteer cuts you off from future employment with an array of US federal agencies. Were you made aware of this going in? Did it influence your decision to join?

vyshyvanka_tuesday18 karma

There is a ten year suspension period with all intelligence related work. CIA, NSA, etc. I knew about it beforehand, but I didn't really care too much. I looked into that field in college, but it never really appealed to me.

thatoneguy56414 karma

its actually 5 years for the CIA and 4 years for the NSA

vyshyvanka_tuesday7 karma

You may be right.

palbuddy123411 karma

Okay so why is it offensive to say 'The' Ukraine?

vyshyvanka_tuesday34 karma

My family asks this all the time. "The Ukraine" is seen by many to suggest that Ukraine is not a independent country, like when it was a part of the U.S.S.R. The government calls itself simply "Ukraine" and asks english language newspapers to refer to it as thus. Just like how we don't say "The France" or "The Sweden." I think Americans and Brits get confused because we say "The United..." but just because it starts with a U, does not mean it needs a U. Like "Uganda"

Here is a wikipedia article that might explain it better.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_of_Ukraine#%22Ukraine%22_versus_%22the_Ukraine%22

LukeDemeo9 karma

How has the "war in Donbass" affected Ukraine? According to Wikipedia the conflict is still ongoing but I haven't heard any news about it in a while.

vyshyvanka_tuesday36 karma

I'm not an expert on the war, so you'd be better served asking others about it's affect in Ukraine. A lot of what is said about the war goes over my head, as my Ukrainian language is not that great. I live the west of Ukraine, and thankfully the war and violence is not around me and those I love in Ukraine. Peace Corps has policies to ensure that volunteers are nowhere remotely close to the fighting.

That being said, yes, the conflict is still ongoing. Ukraine, like any other country, deserves peace, and I hope that the fighting ends soon.

WriggleNightbug8 karma

Do they have central recruiting offices or is it all online now?

2 years seems like a huge commitment. Are there escape clauses? If yes, did you ever consider using one?

What is the maximum age for a volunteer?

vyshyvanka_tuesday36 karma

All recruiting is online.

It's actually 2.25 years, and yeah, it is a big commitment. I would advise anyone considering applying to step back and make sure they really wanted this before proceeding. Research it a lot. There are tons of books and blogs about the PC.

Escape clause? It's not the military, I can leave whenever I want. If I were to call my country's HQ, and tell them I wanted to go home, they would have to provide me with a plane ticket home. Lots of people, for a wide variety of very valid reasons take that option. I'd be lying if I said I never thought about it, but frankly, those thoughts never were very pressing.

I love my life in the PC. Its probably the happiest I've ever been. There are challenges, but I love to work to overcome them. It's made me feel like and adult.

No maximum age. Lots of volunteers are retirees.

fool_on_a_hill8 karma

What advice can you give my wife and I, who are planning to apply for the Peace corps roughly 1.5 years from now when our student debt is paid off? My wife's volunteer resume is incredibly impressive, mine is limited to Boy Scouts stuff and a 2 year mission trip for my church. Should I be engaging in more now to increase the odds of getting in? We both have bachelor's degrees (not sure if that affects anything). I've just heard it can be hard to get accepted into a program

vyshyvanka_tuesday6 karma

r/peacecorps can help with questions like that. Also, try reaching out to a recruiter. What sort of work do you want to do, and where would you like to go? PC varies greatly. Doing more volunteer work, but also demonstrating value towards the mission goes a long way.

redhotginnie8 karma

What's the best and worst thing about living in Ukraine?

vyshyvanka_tuesday41 karma

Best thing: Hands down the students that I work with. They make everything worth it. I'm also very partial to the national clothing: Vyshyvankas. https://img0.etsystatic.com/055/0/6757950/il_fullxfull.732933300_cbzs.jpg

http://foberini.com/wp-content/uploads/vyshyvankafoberini4.jpg

Worst part: It's hard to find a movie theater playing things in English. I still haven't seen Black Panther yet!

redhotginnie8 karma

For Ukraine to have peace corps, it must mean their English program isn't very good. How many students per grade do you think are at the level they should be? How can it be improved?

vyshyvanka_tuesday55 karma

Your post history shows that you are a volunteer in my cohort, so you tell me! :)

SanchoPanchos2 karma

Hey, what city you currently live in? It's not a big deal finding eng cinemas in Kyiv

vyshyvanka_tuesday8 karma

I'm not going to say my exact city, but I live in a small town of about 22,000. I'm about 3 and a half hours from Kyiv by bus. The nearest oblast center is a 2 hour drive.

Slavithor6 karma

hehe, I was born and grew up until I was ten in a small town Voronovitsa about 30 minutes out of Vinnitsa(which is 4 hours out of Kyiv)*... so im assuming your close since you said you don't go to L'viv a lot and cant see you being on the northern side close to Chernobyl and you said you were in west Ukraine... anyways, I was adopted to America when I was 10 almost 20 years ago now... so wanted to thank you for helping out my birth place :)

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

Cool! You're welcome, though I like to think that I'm just assisting them help themselves.

subconsciousEve7 karma

I've always been interested in getting TEFL certified and teaching English abroad to those who want to learn. I have also looked into Peace Corps as an option after college. The only thing I've constantly been curious about is, why does Peace Corps spend their resources teaching natives of different countries English instead of recruiting educated natives/those who speak their language and teach them more practical studies like math, science, advanced grammar in their own language if necessary, etc?

Is the idea that it's a give and take? They learn English so native English speakers can teach them advanced studies (math, science)? I feel like it would take a while for them to learn English to the extent that they could learn and understand technical jargon needed for those subjects; that it could lead to minimized use/erasure of their own language; and that after learning English for let's say 6 months, they will become proficient but not fluent enough to study, and the only benefit from the program is they now speak English in a non-English speaking country?

Could you give me some insight on how you guys within the program see it?

Edit- I might not know enough about the program, and maybe they do some of these things that I assumed they don't, but id like to know

vyshyvanka_tuesday13 karma

Well, PC does teach other subjects like math and science, but not in Ukraine, where TEFL is the mission. Education is the largest sector in PC. My mission in Ukraine is to teach english because that is what Ukraine wants. PC tailor's it's mission to suit the country. We don't just come in and say "Here is what you will be learning."

I would say that English is a VERY practical skill. It is the language of the world, and can help young people get jobs. Ukraine already teaches English in almost all schools. The year I arrived was called by the Ukrainian government "the year of English." We work to assist them. Most of the students I work with already know basic english. I team teach with a Ukrainian teacher. She works on grammar, I do speaking and listening mostly. Peace Corps also has programs to teach teachers, to build sustainability.

I'm a secondary school teacher, but we also have university teachers working in the PC. I have a friend who teaches courses in business english, another who works with law students.

Does that answer your question?

subconsciousEve5 karma

Oh okay, I guess I didn't realize they asked the country what was needed and specialized their programs with respect to each country. I always figured it was like, "here is what we (an outside country) think you should learn, but it's more beneficial than harmful, so don't question it."

Never thought bad towards Peace Corps, since I have been considering applying after I graduate, but I did feel iffy about that. Thanks for clearing it up.

vyshyvanka_tuesday4 karma

No worries. A good book to read about them and their mission is "when the world calls"

imnot_arealdoctor6 karma

Connor!? The last time I saw you was in South Orange, NJ back in 2011. Very happy to see you doing great things, brother! I could recognize that smile from across the globe, even 7 years later. Love! Tim

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

Hey Tim!

Ialsodonthaveaname5 karma

What kind of juicers are available in Ukraine? Do I need to wash my clothes by hand?

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

Some volunteers do wash clothes by hand. My school has a washing machine fortunately, so I bring mine there to wash.

cheesecake-gnome4 karma

I'm going on vacation to Lviv and Kiev next month! What are some good places to either eat or grab a drink if you've ever been to those cities?

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

Kyiv: Musafir Lviv: house of legends. Pravda is also cool.

_orthodox_magician4 karma

How’s your contact with Orthodox Christianity been?

vyshyvanka_tuesday23 karma

Pretty minimal, but good. When I told the local priest my name he said "John Connor! Terminator!" He is pretty cool, and always smiles when he sees me.

iLiftHeavyThingsUp4 karma

How extensively does the current conflict in Ukraine affect the daily lives of your average Joe Citizen based on your daily interactions?

vyshyvanka_tuesday6 karma

That's impossible for me to answer accurately. I don't speak about about the war much with people here. I'm non-political. A lot goes over my head. I can sometimes forget about it, because it is not going on around me, and most of Ukraine is at peace and looks just like anywhere else in Europe. The war is confined to a small region of the country. My friends and family visited me and the topic never came up, because to an outsider the war is not so noticeable. But again, a lot goes over my head, and I can't really speak for Ukrainians, so I'm not the best person to ask. I have met IDPs (internally displaced persons).

I focus on teaching my students.

Brady21234 karma

I have been looking into doing PC when I graduate from school next year as my school produces a ton of PC volunteers!

How has being in the Peace Corps affected your personal relationships? How hard have you found it to be away from friends and family? Do the benefits outweigh the costs.

vyshyvanka_tuesday2 karma

Skype helps. Sometimes it's hard, but all together, I've loved my time in the Peace Corps. I've never seriously thought about leaving before my 27 months were up.

kutties3 karma

You are teaching English in Ukraine, but I’ve also heard of peace corps sending volunteers to more remote areas without internet and simply saying not much influence of western culture. Do you think those people need involvement of peace corps and partly loose their culture? (No critics, just want your POV)

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

I'm sorry, could you rephrase that question?

kutties5 karma

Sorry for my bad English. Do you think that involvement of the peace corps is always a good idea? To westernise less developed countries

vyshyvanka_tuesday13 karma

Don't worry.

Our job is not to Westernize less developed countries. Our job is to give technical assistance, help countries meet the need for trained men and women, and promote international friendship.

Jackdaws711 karma

To expand on Connor's remarks, Peace Corps is always invited in by the host country. The USA doesn't just send volunteers to random countries which we think "need" our help. PC is invited and then we discuss which sectors are most relevant to the development of the country. English is a universal business language at this point and everyone has more opportunities who speak it. Some countries just need additional man-power to help with agricultural projects etc.

It's not about "westernization" it's about country development.

vyshyvanka_tuesday4 karma

this

AGlassOfOrangeJew3 karma

current SIS student, what's up. did you feel that your education prepared you at all for your time in the Peace Corps?

vyshyvanka_tuesday4 karma

Hey, SIS rocks! Well, that's a hard question. I think that cross cultural communication was a great prep class for the peace corps (you guys still have to take that right?). I also think AU taught me to appreciate other cultures, and work to understand the world around me. So, yes, I think I got a valuable education from AU, and it served me well in the Peace Corps.

NoviceElectromancer2 karma

Hi! It looks like we might end up having remarkably similar career paths, so I'm very glad/grateful you did this AMA.

I'm a high school senior who has considered Peace Corps work and eventual work in the US Foreign Service as his career dream for around four years now. This fall, I'm going to be attending Knox College, a small liberal arts school that has the original Peace Corps Preparatory Program, for a major in International Relations.

I was, cough, wait-listed by American.

I have a little set of questions for you, if you'd like to respond to them:

  • Do you know anything about the Peace Corps Prep program? If so, do you think it's an efficient way of preparing undergrads for the peace corps?

  • Do you know a lot about the relationship between the Corps and the Foreign Service, particularly if RPCVs are looked favorably upon in the FS applicant pool? For the record, I'm likely planning to do grad school in between the PC and taking the Foreign Service Exam.

  • Do you know of any other careers that dovetail well with Peace Corps work/an IR degree, if my Plan A doesn't work out?

  • I've always been very outspoken, and public online and in person about my uh, more radical political leanings, and I've been quite politically active. Do you know if this might cause some issues in the future concerning background checks, for when I seek work in the public or nonprofit sector?

  • Finally, any language-learning and/or college advice, tips, and tricks in general?

These are tons of questions, so don't worry about if you can't respond to them at all. Thanks!

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

I know next to nothing about Peace Corps prep, sorry.

You'd be better off asking in /r/foreignservice. As for the FSOT, I'd recommend taking it now. It's free, and it's a good idea to give it a try, as it often take multiple attempts to get in.

It all depends on what you want to do. A lot of RPCVs go to USAID I'm told.

Well, as long as you are not hurting anyone, and can work in a nonpolitical environment, it should be fine. Though you are giving me pretty vague info here.

College tip: Go to office hours, become friendly with professors.

Hugs_for_Thugs2 karma

Как живёшь?

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

Как живёшь?

Dobre.

_i_am_root2 karma

Hi! I’m a Russian Studies major, and I know I want to do something along the lines of teaching English abroad! Where is the best place to start looking/get certified?

vyshyvanka_tuesday2 karma

I'm not certified. I also can't really tell you, if depends on what you are interested in. I've loved working in Ukraine, but that's just me. Best of luck to you!

blackhole0772 karma

Hey Connor, glad to see you're doing well! I guess my only question would be have you gotten any time to brush up on your Japanese since you've been in Ukraine? I'm pretty sure you're busy, but I figured I'd ask anyway. Hope you're enjoying yourself man!

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

I do! Japanese is my hobby. I try to do a 30 minute lesson with Pimsluer everyday, also memrise and genki work. I also teach two students Japanese who want to learn.

blackhole0771 karma

Nice work man! I still remember the effort you put in to learn the language back at Nanzan, and I'm glad to see you're still on top of things!

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

Hey thanks man!

conservio1 karma

What is your favorite thing about Ukraine?

What other pgrigrans did you consider?

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

My students. When I have a good session with my honor students about critical thinking, it makes everything worthwhile!

I also considered Ghana, Morocco, and Macedonia.

Tigerfairy1 karma

Did you have to get your TEFL certification first? Do they help you get that?

vyshyvanka_tuesday5 karma

Nope. I never taught english before the Peace Corps. If you have it it certainly helps though. I don't teach alone though, I work with a Ukrainian teacher, and we team teach.

deathbyduckie1 karma

What Peace Corps things do you do? What is your purpose on that side of your time in Ukraine?

vyshyvanka_tuesday5 karma

I'm an english teacher. I also work on several side projects. The other week I brought several volunteers to my site, and we had a seminar for the students about racial and gender inequality.

zonk31 karma

Have you met any ballet dancers yet? Ukraine is very famous for the best in the world; I hope you get to attend a performance in Kyiv or Odessa at some point.

vyshyvanka_tuesday2 karma

I haven't met any, but I went to an opera in Odessa.

Trogdorrules1 karma

Apple or PC?

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

I use an Apple.

ieatconfusedfish1 karma

How selective is PC? Like if 100 people apply, how many would get in?

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

I really can't answer that accurately. Different programs have different numbers, and I don't even know those.

Sir_holy_bears1 karma

Wow, I was just looking at different programs to apply to this morning! Crazy coincidence. The timeline for being a PCV is so daunting, and I worry about missing the unplanned events that might happen over the span of 27 months, like births, deaths, weddings, etc. Do you feel any regret being away from your family for so long and missing stuff like this?

Also, regarding your specific program, are you responsible for writing lesson plans? Did you get your TEFL certificate ahed of time or are you earning it through PC? I'm between English Educator programs and agricultural/environmental programs.

vyshyvanka_tuesday2 karma

A bit, but it comes with the job.

I'm not TEFL certified, and not on track to get it. I think some programs offer it with completion of service, but I'm not sure. I make lesson plans with my counterpart, and we teach them together.

WizardSleeves1181 karma

Hey my friend! Don't know if you're still doing this ama as it's 5 hours old, but I was curious about something.

What is it like being in the reality of Ukraine and then listening to the hyper-political dialogue around Ukraine when you come out? For instance I work with a Ukrainian expat and one day I asked her what she thought about the situation there. I was surprised by what she said because I had my head so deep in the political commentary around it and was expecting some simplistic pro-Russia or anti-Russia sentiment. You know what she said? "It's horrible. So many of my people are dying." No politics. No mention of Putin or anyone at all. Just the reality of bloodshed.

What do you think about this? What does this say about our culture politicizing tragedies? What is it like going back and forth for you?

Thanks so much!

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

Still here! Peace Corps is not political.

Ciscoblue1131 karma

Have you seen any effect of the nation's civil war and current Russian intervention?

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

Peace Corps is non-political.

Ciscoblue1133 karma

Sorry I meant my question to be has the war ever effected your work and students?

vyshyvanka_tuesday2 karma

My work is has next to nothing to do with the war, so no. Again, I have very little understanding of how it affects my student's lives. I do know that there is a draft for men though.

Unco_Slam1 karma

How do you pronounce that?

vyshyvanka_tuesday4 karma

The title? Dobre den. (good day)

0ldur1 karma

Hi I hope I'm not late, how long did it take to learn Ukrainian? I am learning Russian it in my own ( but will be starting learning it through a university this coming fall ) and was wondering how difficult it was for you since they are similar (Cyrillic and Slavic).

Thanks!

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

Not too late. I never fully learned Ukrainian. I know enough to move around, but can't hold a super conversation. It doesn't help that a lot of people speak a mix of Ukrainian and Russian here.

I've been here for about a year and a half. Zero experience to the language prior.

Josad1 karma

Is the PC in Ukraine spread out across the country or does everyone in the program stay in a central location?

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

Very spread out. Usually a volunteer will be the only one in their Raion (about the size of a county)

Getalliwant0 karma

Do you know Peter Hessler?

vyshyvanka_tuesday1 karma

Sorry, I don't.

sumonetalking0 karma

Do you know Dan Schauer?

vyshyvanka_tuesday2 karma

Nope.

TheDenOfLoreShow-3 karma

What university did you graduate from? What area of Ukraine are you teaching in? If you’re in Ukraine and aren’t knowledgeable about Russian influence, what is your perception of the media and news and how they present information in general?

vyshyvanka_tuesday6 karma

I graduated from American University. I teach in western/central Ukraine. I really couldn't say. I wish Americans knew more about Ukraine than just the conflict, because it is such an interesting culture.

TheDenOfLoreShow-6 karma

What was your major? Honours? I’m Slavic I know the culture very well. I also know linguistics very well. So I’m curious.

vyshyvanka_tuesday3 karma

International realtions, with a minor in Japanese. I actually do teach Japanese here to two 7th graders who want to learn.

potsnomfif-3 karma

Do people in Ukraine typically have smaller heads than in America?

I’ve just received an order of shirts from there and my head does not fit through the head holes. Not a problem I’ve ever had before and shirts are XL so was wondering if maybe error?

vyshyvanka_tuesday2 karma

Ukrainians have the same size heads as I do last I checked.

asb116-4 karma

Is Russia as bad an actor as we all suspect it to be?

vyshyvanka_tuesday8 karma

Peace Corps is non-political.