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Peace Corps Volunteer
2 years, 3 months
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Up to 12 months
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3-6 months
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Bailey H.

“I can definitively say that my Response service has advanced my public health career in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined!”

Headshot of Bailey, a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Moldova

1. What got you interested in Peace Corps, specifically the Response program?

The Response program in Moldova was a great opportunity to reconnect with my former Moldovan colleagues and host family. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, I was evacuated as a Volunteer and had to leave so much behind. Having the opportunity to see my colleagues, friends, and family again was a huge factor influencing my interest in the Response program. Also, the Response program was the next best thing for my career path. I wanted to gain more professional experience in organizational development and apply my public health skills in the real world. The relationships and professional opportunities were all the motivation I needed to join the Peace Corps again as a Response Volunteer!

2. What projects are you working on with your community?

Currently, my partners and I are working on something called “Project CAPABLE” which stands for “Center for Autism Program Advancement & Building Learning Excellence”. It’s a project that will build the organizational and human capacity of staff and parents at a social daycare center for disabled children. Through this project, we will implement several sensory trainings, provide respite activities for parents, and procure educational resources for children at the daycare center. We started the project in late January 2024 and hope to finish it in mid-April. So far, the project has been fruitful for staff, parents, and their children. I can’t wait to measure and report the project’s impact and results!

Peace Corps Volunteer Collaborating with Moldovan Teacher 2018
Bailey H. collaborating with Viorica, a Moldovan teacher, in 2018

3. How have you leveraged your previous professional experience and skills in your service?

The knowledge, skills, and attributes from my Master of Public Health degree from the University of Arizona have had a tremendous impact on my Response service in Moldova. For example, I was able to conduct a needs assessment at a social day care center which informed the planning, implementation, and evaluation phases of Project CAPABLE. Furthermore, I was able to draft a program assessment for a non-profit providing online emotional support services for distressed Moldovans. I think my previous professional experience proved advantageous in guiding and facilitating such activities in the community. Without having such experience I might have required more time beyond that typical of a Response service.

4. What is a highlight of your service so far?

Honestly, the highlight of my service so far has been reconnecting with Peace Corps Moldova staff and re-experiencing the warm and rich culture of Moldovan heritage. Moldovans provide unique comfort and hospitality, the likes of which I’ve never experienced before. It was amazing and exciting to see how much Moldova has changed during my three years of absence. I can say that Moldova is more productive, brighter, and developed than ever before. Being able to bear witness to such things in Moldova has been a shining light. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Moldova!

Peace Corps Volunteer Bailey H. teaching health education in Moldova in 2018
Peace Corps Volunteer Bailey H. teaching health education in Moldova in 2018

5. What are the challenges of a Response Volunteer experience? What strategies have you used to meet those challenges?

Response service is definitely different from the typical 2-year service. From my experience in Moldova, the largest difference has been living in the capital city, Chisinau, rather than the small and medium sized towns I lived in during my 2-year service, such as Capriana and Sorca, respectively. As is evident in any other country, living in the city is more expensive than the town or village. Consequently, I’ve had to be more frugal with my readjustment allowance, but I’m still happily making ends meet. Another challenge I’ve faced as a Response Volunteer is the short time frame of service. After a brief orientation with the Peace Corps Moldova staff, we had to dive straight into the workload to get things done. Having the language skills and cultural competency of my Response service country absolutely helped overcome this challenge

6. What skills are you developing, and how do you think those skills will help you in the future?

I’ve learned so much during my Response service, both professionally and personally. Working as an organizational development consultant has strengthened my skills in strategic planning, coordinating project activities, and managing program activities, just to name a few. These skills will significantly help me apply public health practices in my community at home and abroad. I can definitively say that my Response service has advanced my public health career in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined!