As most of you know by now, all Peace Corps services start with a 2-3 month long training we call PST (pre-service training). Mine was ten weeks and it was full of education, exposure to Kosovar culture, and lots and lots of stress!
But stress aside, it all culminated into this life-changing moment… becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer!
The day technically started with me finishing packing (stuffing all of my clothes, books, and other random stuff into three bags) at 2 AM and waking back up at 5:30 AM! I showered, got all dressed up, and with the help of my amazing host dad lugged all three bags down to the center of my village for pick up to Swearing In!
We arrived in Prishtina a little late so it was go! Go! Go! once we finally got to the venue. Soon after arriving, we were given our Peace Corps pins!
And then we met the U.S. Ambassador Greg Delawie!
The ceremony started and I felt nothing but pride for my own, as well as my friends’, accomplishments so far. We heard speeches from our Director of Programming and Training, our Country Director, the U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, and the Kosovar Minister of Education.
Then, we took our oaths and officially became Peace Corps Volunteers!
I had the honor and privilege to deliver a speech at our Swearing In ceremony with my good friend, Michaela. I knew I wanted to deliver the speech since my first day in this country. And it was important for me to highlight our differences as Americans from my very first sentence. We talked about our differences, but also how united we are both because of and despite our backgrounds. And how welcomed and loved we have all felt every day in Kosovo since the very first step off the airplane in Prishtina. Oh! And probably the most interesting part of it all…we delivered it solely in Albanian!
After the ceremony, Michaela and I did small interviews with local news and then I proceeded to stuff my face with hors d’oeuvres! We had a little over an hour to hang out with our PST host families and say our goodbyes. (And in my case, take a ridiculous amount of photos)
I nearly cried twice that day. The first time was when I had to say goodbye to my host family; who I never expected to become so close with over the course of ten weeks. And again when I said goodbye to my Language and Cultural Facilitator, Valmira. She has been such a reliable teacher, resource, and friend to me here and I didn’t realize I would miss her so much already.
In all, Swearing In was a major highlight of my service so far. It proved to myself and everyone else that all our hard work over these past couple of months has been well worth it. And as I sit in my new home at my permanent site typing this, I can’t help but to be hopeful for the future of this community and country.
Thank you to Peace Corps for seeing the potential in me to be a successful volunteer and change agent over these next two years. I hope I can make you all proud.