My top pastime in the months leading up to my Peace Corps departure was reading blog posts about what Volunteers do every day. I was fascinated by each one’s individual story, about how different their lives were from mine at home.
As a result, I couldn’t wait to discover what my life would be like when I arrived to my site. I was a Business Development Volunteer, placed in a village of 10,000 to work alongside a local NGO. In the spirit of sharing, here is a day in my life as a Community Economic Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine!
8am — Alarm goes off
8:05am-8:10am — Roll around in bed
8:15am — My second alarm goes off, and I actually get up this time
8:20am — Head downstairs to make a cup of coffee
8:30-8:45am — Drink coffee while checking social media
8:45-9:15am — Get ready for work
9:15-9:35am — Walk to my office from my host family’s house
Where I live is pretty isolated from the rest of the village, so my commute to the “downtown” area is about 20 minutes.
9:35-11:00am — Plan one of my weekly English Clubs
This involves deciding which topic to study, designing activities, making flipcharts for those activities, and creating a promotional flyer announcing the topic, date, time, and place of the week’s English club for the village Facebook group.
11:00am-12:00pm — Skype meeting with other Volunteers
I’m in a group of other PCVs that all work with community foundations in Ukraine. We’re researching a program we could potentially implement to improve community needs assessments in our sites. Aside from talking about work, we catch up on how we’re doing. It’s therapeutic to talk about the good and the bad of service with other people that understand.
12:00-1:00pm — Work on a graphic design flyer for a environmental awareness project my organization is spearheading
Here’s the finished product:
1:00-2:00pm — Build Organizational Capacity Assessment Google Forms questionnaire to send colleagues
The intent of this survey is for my co-workers to think critically about our marketing strategy, resource mobilization, project design and management, staff development, and other aspects of our operations. The next step will be to create an action plan with our priorities based upon everyone’s responses.
2:00-2:30pm — Stop by the village grocery store
2:30-2:50pm — Walk back to my host family’s house
3:00-3:30pm — After changing into some comfy clothes, I eat lunch
3:30-4:30pm — While my baby host sister takes her nap, I do a Yoga With Adriene video, relax, and watch Netflix
4:30-5:30pm — Work some more from home
Because so many of my co-workers have full-time jobs and devote their free time to the NGO, many of them are now actively online and wanting to chat about some of our upcoming programs and events. Usually, we all work online from home, especially when it’s cold out.
5:30-6:00pm — Help host mom with cleaning, dinner, etc.
This is the time of day that my host mom and I hang out and I help her around the house, or cook dinner for everyone that night. We normally spend more time doing this kind of stuff, but today I had to be in the office longer.
6:00-6:45pm — Eat dinner with host family
Tonight, we have borscht and curry beans.
6:45-7:30pm — Hang out with host family after dinner
After we eat, I play with my 2-year-old host sister before retiring to my room for the night.
7:30-8:00pm — Talk to family over FaceTime
Because of the time difference between the U.S. and Ukraine, it’s afternoon at home. It’s usually the best time for my mom and I to catch up over video chat.
8:00-9:00pm — Chill, watch some YouTube videos, write, get on social media
9:00-9:30pm — Shower and brush teeth
9:30pm — Say good night to my host family (in Ukrainian, of course!)
9:30-10:45pm — Read one of the paperbacks I brought from the States
Right now, I’m loving The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See!
11:00pm — Turn off the lights in my room and fall asleep shortly afterwards
This was a pretty typical day in my life, if any day as a Peace Corps Volunteer can be considered “typical.” There were some days that I had meetings with my counterpart at her house, or we had team meetings in the evening at the office. Sometimes, I even had conferences to attend in Kyiv.
Every day as a PCV brings new blessings and challenges. Live in the moment of each day, because you’ll look back in disbelief at how many new experiences you had!
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or contact me. Thanks for reading, and until next time!