Growing with the Peace Corps

Feb. 28, 2024

A story by Peace Corps Viet Nam Language and Cross-culture Coordinator, Quy (in the middle of the first row in the photo above), about her journey with Peace Corps.

When I was in the US, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, including my supervisor, host parents, and teaching assistants. I remember on a light rainy day in Glacier National Park in Montana, I asked them:

- How can I become a part of the Peace Corps when I am not a US citizen?

- Maybe when the Peace Corps is in Vietnam, you can…

After that, I embarked on different journeys in my life. I have never asked where they have led me since in every small step of life, I always try my best because I believe "If the path is beautiful, let us not ask where it leads". (Anatole France), then finally came the most beautiful moment: I became part of Peace Corps, as the Language and Cross-cultural Coordinator (LCC). Looking back on my two years here in Peace Corps Viet Nam, I realize I have grown professionally and personally through all the humble experiences I have gained.

In Peace Corps Viet Nam, I learned to LISTEN, to LEAD and to LIVE in the moment. My LCC fellows from different parts of the world, training specialists from Washington D.C, colleagues in Peace Corps Viet Nam, and especially my supervisor taught me important skills to hold space for someone, be present for someone, and lead yourself before leading others and most importantly to learn by doing. I am allowed to make mistakes and to boldly make decisions as my supervisor always encourages me “Let’s do it. As with all things Peace Corps we will learn by doing and we can adjust the process for the next round”.

Quy
Quy speaking of Ao Dai - Vietnamese traditional dress in the inaugural Swearing-in ceremony of Peace Corps Viet Nam

Whenever I'm having trouble with an idea, there are always messages from my LCC fellows from other posts, "Let’s call today Quy", "So tell me...", "But get enough sleep, drink enough water, Quy. Your health is very important!". They always connect me with new colleagues who are experts on the topic I am looking for. I realize that I have travelled all over the world "online" to learn and I was amazed at how the connection, generous support and care have helped me grow as a Peace Corps employee and as a person, a human being. Of all the accomplishments I've received, perhaps the biggest one was when my dad said, "My daughter reacts less and listens more now J" – he asked with confidence – "Isn't it great that my daughter has personally grown in her professional career as well?”

I don't know where my path will lead me next, but I'm sure I'll continue to do my best to make the most of this journey. Each small step has helped me contribute a small part to the meaningful service of Peace Corps Volunteers in Vietnam, to carry the message of friendship between the two countries and, and to build a better version of myself.