Changing hats: From Trainee to Volunteer



As I write, I sit at my now permanent site listening to a group of men singing in unison outside my apartment window.  Situated in the Northern most part of Mongolia is my province with plenty of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, reindeer {I never seem to leave this detail out} and a community of 30,000 that I have begun to get to know. I already feel at home here in my provincial center. {Hey, I can find peanut butter here so I am not complaining}




And you can’t beat that view…

You may wonder why my posts have been sporadic. What has happened between my first account at my training site to now moving 650 Kilometers to my new home? Most importantly: On August 12th a lovely group of 60 trainees took an oath and swore in as official representatives of the United States. We can now call ourselves Peace Corps volunteers and are living among 21 provinces sharing our professional skills and commitment to the work.

Mongolia Map

The next few blog posts will highlight life going from a PCT (Peace Corps Trainee) to PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer). Life could not be more different. The transition can be difficult for some and so I will discuss what I learned since leaving PST one month ago.

Training had a way of allowing you to completely go off the grid. Which I took gladly. Fast forward to now, my days have become less scheduled and routine but have been replaced with meaningful work and cross-cultural connections and friendships. I have been completely immersed and for the past month I feel like I have been placed in overdrive trying to make connections at my new workplace and becoming comfortable in this new environment. But I’m slowly finding my niche.



The life of a PCV varies from person to person. That is development work in a nutshell. It varies. Everyday is different and some days can be both challenging and fulfilling leaving you feeling both overwhelmed and successful.


Common question from my friends state side.While I am not teaching students everyday as I have in other countries, I have the unique opportunity to work in both a Secondary School and at my local Department of Education. I plan development workshops for my English teachers and those throughout my community and province.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer I act as a resource for my Mongolian teachers through trainings and direct support for their professional development. This in turn is to help current and future generations of students to development their language competency. I mainly work with students by co-teaching with my counterparts and planning weekly extracurricular activities.

So my daily tasks are simple: Learn the language. Be a resource to my local teachers and students.


Development Training for local teachers

I will leave you with a small blurb from my work and the often unexpected happenings that come with it. A week before the start of the school I was asked to attend a training session for local English teachers. I sat attentively and listened as the training proceeded-mainly in Mongolian. Talk about brain over load. Can your brain become exhausted? The next thing I knew I was being asked to give a presentation about “Speaking Activities.” I asked, “Right now?” and my counterpart said, “Yes, of course!”

Well, when in Mongolia right? I proceeded to give a 20 minute presentation to my colleagues using activities that have been used in my previous classrooms. And that was that. This has happened on a number of occasions and so far I haven’t fallen flat on my butt. So that’s progress right?

Until next time. Enjoying the work.




2 thoughts on “Changing hats: From Trainee to Volunteer

  1. So beautiful to see some familiar faces in your English teachers training photo!! I hope you get to meet some amazing souls 🙂 enjoy every moment (even the really frustrating and difficult times)


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