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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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Daniel L.

“Because I returned to Peace Corps Mongolia after evacuating due to COVID-19, I find myself in the most unexpected places meeting again people I knew from years before. Seeing folks again reminds me of how connected we are.”

Headshot of Daniel, a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Mongolia

1. What got you interested in Peace Corps?

I got interested in the Peace Corps as an undergraduate junior while in China. I was there as a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholar when I met a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer working there. I wanted to spend more time in Asia, teaching and learning languages, so he suggested I apply. Shortly after I got back to America, I applied. I realized then that my thesis mentor was a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. So Peace Corps felt like the perfect path. Then, after the COVID-19 pandemic, I returned to service to continue the work we began. I extended my service after recognizing even more opportunities to serve!

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

As an English Education and Community Development Volunteer, I’m working primarily on methodology workshops, school visits, community organizations, and student leadership clubs. I work with a local government office, public libraries, volunteer programs, an inclusive education school, summer camps, and non-profits that support student exchanges. The many local agencies and community projects certainly keep me busy!

Peace Corps Volunteer Daniel L reads to children in Mongolia
Peace Corps Volunteer Daniel reads to children in Mongolia.

3. What strategies have you used to integrate into your community?

I integrate into my community first by showing up. While life since the COVID-19 pandemic has made remote work feel at times more attractive, one of the best ways to know what’s happening and how to help is to simply be around. I also practice local language, customs, and traditions, so I’m polite and professional.

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

A highlight of my time in service so far has been reconnecting with people from throughout the country. Because I returned to Peace Corps Mongolia after evacuating due to COVID-19, I find myself meeting people I knew from years before in the most unexpected places. It reminds me of how connected we are.

5. What have you enjoyed most about the community where you are serving?

I have enjoyed most the hospitality of Mongolian locals, coworkers, and staff. Any time I have a question, folks often have an answer. Collaborators accommodate our needs and help us effectively address the big picture.

6. What are some of the most important things you've learned from your community?

Some of the most important things I’ve learned from my community are to relax and value relationships with people over things. I still recognize the importance of good work. I just see more often now how it’s not always the most important part about being alive.

7. How do you spend time when you are not working on a project?

I spend time outside my project traveling. I love museums and mountains. I love writing and praying, too. Chronicling the places where I’ve been, the people I’ve met, and the stories we’ve exchanged calls to mind our many blessings received and shared.

Peace Corps Volunteer Daniel L riding a horse in Mongolia
Peace Corps Volunteer Daniel rides a horse in Mongolia.

8. What are you looking forward to in your remaining time as a Peace Corps Volunteer?

I’m looking forward to seeing more of the country in my remaining time as a Peace Corps Volunteer. There are so many more communities than I want to see. Still, in visiting even briefly, I know I can have an impact.

9. Once you finish your service, what will you do differently when you return to the U.S.?

Once I finish my service, I will enter graduate school with a more global perspective. I will have spent four times as long in Mongolia than in any other country outside the U.S. My deeper understanding of my host country and its neighbors will also continue to inform my foreign service future beyond school.

Peace Corps Volunteer Daniel L. with his counterpart after receiving award
Daniel receives an award with his counterpart.