This is part of a series of Q&As with returned Peace Corps Volunteers who identify as first-generation college students and/or new Americans. Learn how they navigated the challenges of the decision-making process and service abroad.
As the old adage goes, history repeats itself. I was reminded of this the night I heard the Peace Corps was going to take the extraordinary action of evacuating all volunteers out of their host countries due to transportation challenges posed by COVID-19. As a member of the Peace Corps’ External Affairs team, this meant a delicate balancing act of communicating critical information while maintaining a sense of compassion during a time of high emotions.
I can still feel my stomach knot up when someone reads my name out loud for the first time. It takes me back to being a kid, growing up in a white, working-class suburb of Detroit and hearing the teacher take a long pause upon seeing my name on the attendance list.
On Friday, October 27th I swore in as a Peace Corps Volunteer! Our swearing in ceremony was wonderful and it included speeches made by volunteers in both English and Kyrgyz as well as volunteers dancing the Kyrgyz national dance. Overall it was an exceptional event!
Volunteer Tamara Burman works as a Community Economic Developer in Kyrgyz Republic. Her work primarily focuses on developing professional lifeskills of women and youth in areas such as tourism, handicrafts, leadership and English language.