Know My Velocity

My Peace Corps Experience in Ukraine

  • My name is Casey and I'm going to Ukraine with the Peace Corps to help develop non-governmental organizations. This is my adventure, and I'd like you to know my velocity.
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Making your home in a foreign land.

Posted by defyphysics on August 12, 2011

Thursday August 11th

I am sure I have expressed my total respect to anyone who has moved to a new country without the training and support I have received.  However, I want to dedicate a whole entry to the respect we owe to immigrants in the United States.  I can only imagine how much more bravery it takes, how much more challenging it is to get here, and how much more they must adjust to everything on their own.

I am lucky enough to be coming from the United States, where I know if I fail or can’t take it anymore; I can call family and friends and be home in no time, with even more comforts than I currently have.  Immigrants do not have this safety net.  When I came to this country, I knew a handful of words, but I had a also had some of the best language training in the world, lived with a family who fed me and taught me their culture, and I had classes that taught me how to succeed in a new country.  I struggled, but immigrants come into the country without any of that.  When I tell someone I am an American here, I am the center of attention, asked a barrage of questions, and offered more meals, support, and tours of the city than I know what to do with, even without speaking more than a few common words.  I know immigrants in my country often don’t get the same reception.

I’m not going to say Peace Corps service is easy, because it is not always easy.  I will say that  it is just as honorable for someone to come from America to a developing country in order to help do something bigger than yourself, as it is to come to America in hopes of providing for your family and raising them out of poverty, persecution and hardships.

In Ukraine, people travel to other countries or try and bring international people to their country in order to share ideas, learn new ways of doing things and gain an international perspective to help develop their organizations, government and business.  They need to reach out and look for influences from around the world in order to better their perspective of themselves and develop their country.  However, in the United States, we don’t have to look far in order to find a global perspective.  I can’t tell you how regretful I am that I haven’t invited someone new from another country to my home and fed them, shown them around their new town, and supported them in their transition to a new place.  I now know that I will do this when I get home, and I hope I can inspire more people to do so as well.  We owe immigrants a lot.  Most Americans are descendents of immigrants.  Also, unless you have lived somewhere where there are few immigrants from other countries, especially from as far and wide as the US, you’ll never appreciate what may be our biggest national treasure, our “melting pot” of people.

If you’re reading this, I dare you to invite someone you know that comes from another country to your home for dinner.  Cook them something from America, or food from your heritage.  Ask them questions about where they’re from, why they left, and how they got from their country all the way to your dinner table.

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One Response to “Making your home in a foreign land.”

  1. Jo said

    I appreciate this article so much Casey! When I was home I tried to communicate these words to others, but they fell on deaf ears, for the most part. I think immigrants are the bravest people in America and we, as PV Volunteers, have a unique perspective on that now.

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