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Profile: Regina Wei

Mongolia

Regina is the third child in her family to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer, so she was keenly aware of what to expect from a Peace Corps experience. "I had lived vicariously through my siblings. But, of course, living something is much different from hearing about it, so I knew it would be difficult. I knew emotionally it would be trying, but that's something I knew I'd just have to experience and work through myself."

The Peace Corps pre-service training helped Regina understand what to expect specifically once she began her assignment. "We were given Mongolian language training, cross-cultural training, and skills training. So as a teacher, I learned skills for teaching English as a foreign language."

Once her service began, Regina taught English in a secondary school and helped a group of women found a sewing co-op. "When we started, these women had no income, no skills, no job. I visited a few of them and they were living in what looked like bombed out buildings. No windows, no heating, no electricity, no water, nothing. I asked them what they had to eat, and they answered 'flour and tea.' That's all. We did skills training for six months and now they're able to make their own clothes and make a living on their own. Now, they make all sorts of things. Vests and European style clothes, children's clothing, and it's all become very popular, especially with foreigners."

As one might imagine, it's been a very rewarding experience for Regina. The experience has been exactly what she'd hoped and it's provided her with exactly what she'd hoped.

"I knew that I wanted to join the Peace Corps and travel and see what I felt after two years in a foreign country, and it has confirmed what I thought -- that I really enjoy learning about and working with people in foreign cultures. I know now that I want to travel more. I want to work with people more. I've been introduced to national and international aid organizations, and I've learned that I'm capable of doing work that can help people."

Regina Wei (Mongolia)

Regina Wei, an Education Volunteer in Mongolia, was interviewed in 1998. She has a B.A. in English and is from Bellevue, Washington.

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