How a California Boy Found Himself Moving to the Balkans

If you’re reading this then you must have just found out I will be leaving soon to become a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kosovo! (or someone who stumbled upon my blog because you’re interested in joining the Peace Corps yourself!) No matter the reason, I want to say a big thank you for taking the time to be here!

Whenever I tell people I have decided to join the Peace Corps it is usually followed by two things: I am congratulated… and then I am asked what the Peace Corps actually is and does. In short, the Peace Corps does a lot. The organization has a strong presence in all sorts of sectors (including economic development, health, youth in development, agriculture, education, and more) and in over sixty countries! However, what I’ll be doing is teaching English in the beautiful country of Kosovo! After people start to get a general idea of what the Peace Corps is they ask me why I decided to serve—but that’s an even harder question to answer. I’ve always loved learning about other cultures—about people, their languages, their food, their music, and their religions. I was an anthropology major in college because I could never learn enough about humans throughout history and the evolution of culture. When I graduated from university I wasn’t quite sure of myself—unsure of who I was outside of a structured school environment—but I knew I wanted to continue learning and growing and challenging myself in ways I had never considered before. I wanted to experience life in ways that would challenge my liberal, twenty-two year old, Mexican-American, and male perspective—and would also allow me to contribute to society in an impactful way.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on our beautiful country and what it could look like years from now. I have so many hopes and dreams for an educated, healthy, and prosperous America—and then I think about the countries and people out there who don’t have the same privileges and opportunities as I do and I want nothing more than to be a part of that change and growth in the world. I want to promote a better America and be a positive influence in the world. I know that change and progress begins from the ground up—and that’s why I decided to serve my country with the Peace Corps in Kosovo. It is my greatest privilege as an American to use this platform to help educate the youth of Kosovo and shape them into the critical thinking leaders of tomorrow’s unified world. And maybe… just maybe, I can help fulfill President John F. Kennedy’s dream of promoting world peace and international friendship along the way.

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