“I am Moldovan but a piece of my personality is American…” – Meet Nadia

Meet Nadia, one of my wonderful language tutors. I usually see Nadia’s smiling face about once a week where I practice my Romanian and get help with any questions and the grammar issues I have. Nadia is 34 and lives here in Balti, she is originally from Soroca. She studied English Philology from the State University of Moldova, Chisinau.  Currently, she is an English teacher, and also helps students such as myself with Romanian as well. I have enjoyed getting to know Nadia over the past couple of months so I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit and her experience with volunteers…

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your family:
My family is not big. We live in Balti. My husband’s name is Radu. He is a graphic designer. I have a son, Vladut. He is 6 years old. I have also a sister, Victoria. She lives in Chisinau, she plays the violin, and is very successful in this. I am proud about my family.

What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
I like dancing zumba, reading books, and of course spending time with my family.

Tell us about the first time you met a Peace Corps volunteer…
It was in 2008 when I became a language instructor at Peace Corps. I remember how nervous I was, struggling to understand what Americans say. Fortunately I felt comfortable very soon listening and speaking to them because they all were very nice and patient with me.

Has your perspective on Volunteering changed?
Yes it has. I began to appreciate a lot the people who decided to be volunteers, understand their values and try to introduce them into my own values, to do something good and valuable for somebody and enjoy their happiness.

Has your perspective about Americans changed?
I didn’t have anything to change, just strengthened my good opinion about them.

How have Peace Corps volunteers impacted your life?
The experience I had getting to know them is very precious for me. They taught me about their way of life, culture, values. I am Moldovan but a piece of my personality is American, because I tried to learn from them good things, what our people need to improve, I mean way of life or mentality, and I am glad that I began to think differently the things that helped my life be better.

If you could say one thing to all Peace Corps volunteers what would it be?
You do a great job, guys. Thank you all!

If you could say one thing to all Moldovans about volunteering what would it be?
Being a volunteer is important. It helps you get new experiences and make the lives of people better.

What are some of your hopes for Moldova’s future?
I hope one day it would be a country with much more opportunities for people to study, work, and have fun, so that nobody will have to work abroad and be away from his/her family.

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“…because it does make a difference” – Meet Natasha

Natasha was one of the first few locals I had met when I made my visit to Balti during training. She met up with us during my tour of the city since she was best friends with one of my work partners. Aside from speaking excellent English, she welcomed me warmly and with lots of energy.

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Natasha is incredibly sweet and cares deeply for those she knows. I have enjoyed getting to know her over the past few months and seeing her step outside of her comfort zone. She is a hardworking 21 year old who has lived here in Balti, Moldova all her life.  She currently is the coordinator for “Salut, Balti”, which is a local volunteering initiative here in the city. I am so impressed with her creativity and attention to detail. I had her answer a few questions about her life and working with Peace Corps Volunteers. Take a moment, drink some tea as you read this and enjoy getting to know Natasha…

Tell us a bit about yourself…
“I was born and raised in Balti. In 2011/2012 I was an exchange student in USA, which greatly influenced me, helped me to become more open-minded and flexible regarding life around me, my decisions and my relations with other people. I love writing and English language and this is why I study these areas online now and  I’m going to pursue a degree in English and writing starting this fall. I love my family, airports, tea and desserts, I like the color yellow and enjoy reading. I love Moldova, and growing up I learn to appreciate my country more and more.”

What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
“I like spending time with my family and friends. As for a hobby, I like decorating and being crafty.”

Tell us about the first time you met a Peace Corps volunteer…
“I briefly saw Peace Corps volunteers in spring 2012, but back then I didn’t really know anything about them. A real meeting was in summer 2013, when my friend introduced me to a new Peace Corps volunteer in my town and since then Peace Corps volunteers have become a part of my life.”

Has your perspective on Volunteering changed?
“Yes, my perspectives did change since then. Before I was associating volunteering with States, but now I don’t connect it with any place, it’s just what you do no matter where you are.”

Has your perspective about Americans changed?
“My perspective about Americans didn’t really change, because I lived for almost a year in US beforehand. The Peace Corps volunteers that I know are not different from the  people I’ve met there.”

How have Peace Corps volunteers impacted your life?
“Peace Corps volunteers in my town helped me to continue working on myself, getting more and more out of my comfort zone. They helped me to find amazing volunteering opportunities. They keep developing my translation skills. Because of Peace Corps volunteers I have my job now and I also work with a Peace Corps volunteer. They are also some of the closest friends for me!”

If you could say one thing to all Peace Corps volunteers what would it be?
“Keep doing the great work, because it does make a difference.”

If you could say one thing to all Moldovans about volunteering what would it be?
“Be more open to a change.”

What are some of your hopes for Moldova’s future?
“My hopes for Moldova: better economy, stability with Transnistrian part of Moldova, and a changed mentality.”