This is the second in series of interviews, all about Volunteering being a two-way street. We hear the term V-squared, a lot during our training in Peace Corps, which stands for volunteers creating volunteers; and as Peace Corps Volunteers our goal is not simply to encourage volunteering in America, but also in the countries in which we serve.
The boy below was one of the first Moldovans I met when I came to Balti and was my first intern here. His english is some of the best I’ve heard here, and it has been an enormous pleasure to work with him during my time here.
(Please give your name, age, where you were born, what school you are at/graduated from, where you work)
Igor, 19 years old. I was born in Balti, Moldova and I went to liceu N. Gogol in Balti. Right now I am in first year of college, studying marketing in ASEM(Academy of Economics studies of Moldova). I work for the first ever BBQ restaurant in Chisinau, Moldova as a marketing assistant.
What do you do in your free time?
Being a college student and working doesn’t really give me much free time, but when I do have it, I use to catch up on my reading, spending time with friends, and volunteering when I get a chance.
Tell us about the first time you met a Peace Corps Volunteer.
I first met a Peace Corp Volunteer in August 2013. A friend of mine was planning an event with a volunteer and asked me if I wanted to help. I agreed and we went for a meeting, and that’s the first time I ever met a PCV.
Has your perspective on volunteering changed?
My perspective on Volunteering has changed, because before I thought that volunteering is just something you do once a week for couple hours, after working with Peace Corp Volunteers I realized that it’s an entire process, where you need to dedicate your time, energy and basically yourself to the cause.
Has your perspective on Americans changed?
My perspective on Americans hasn’t really changed, because I lived in the United States for a year as an exchange student, so I have met Americans before.
How have Peace Corps Volunteers impacted your life?
Where do I start? In the last couple years PCVs have completely changed my life. They made me aware of who I am, what I am capable of and more importantly, what my country is capable of. They taught a lot of useful skills, convinced me to stay and help my country instead of moving away as I initially planned. And thanks to them I have found my first job. The truth is that only couple years ago, I was just going through life without a purpose, of a plan, but now it’s different. I am not the person I was three years ago, and I am glad.
If you could say one thing to all Peace Corps Volunteers what would it be?
What you’re doing is important, even if it doesn’t seem like that. Just keep in mind that you are making the world a better place. Or you could go with : If someone gives you a choice: rachiu (homemade vodka) or wine, always go for the wine.
If you could say one thing to all Moldovans about Volunteering what would it be?
Keep volunteering, because not only you are helping those in need, you are also helping yourself, by acquiring important life skills, and meeting a lot of new and interesting people.
What are your hopes for Moldova’s future?
My hopes for Moldova’s future? My only hope is that it reaches its potential, and becomes the country it could be, instead of the country it is right now.