Throughout one’s entire college career, they are thinking about the future, and what they see themselves doing in their respected field. That is what one student here at Millersville named Tyler Bagi was doing, until he was opened up to an amazing opportunity to do a selfless act to help others.
Tyler is a senior Secondary Education Major, and has recently been offered a position in Macedonia working for the Peace Corps. He first heard about the Peace Corps from a family friend who served in West Africa, but said was very hesitant at first after hearing that he would serve for 27 months.
After doing research about what the Peace Corps has to offer, he finally decided that this is what he wanted to do. When he got the acceptance email, he was grading papers and he said he instantly got a huge grin on his face and that it was an “amazing feeling.”
When he applied for the Peace Corps he had the option to choose where he would like to serve. For his number one choice he put “no preference, and then put down Mongolia, Macedonia, and Kyrgyzstan as his second, third, and fourth choices. He chose these countries due to their interesting cultures, histories, and geography. Tyler ultimately got placed in Macedonia.
Macedonia is a country located in the Balkan Peninsula, in Southeast Europe, and is bordered by Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania. In Macedonia, they are a parliamentary republic government system, with the official language being Macedonian. The Peace Corps opened this countries program in the year 1996, and to this date has had 685 volunteers, with 120 currently serving.
This program however was suspended a few times due to conflict in surrounding countries, but was later reopened after it was found to be safe to send volunteers to.
In Macedonia Tyler will be co-teaching English in secondary schools. Besides teaching English Tyler said, “there is an outdoor leadership camp for youth from traditionally conflicting ethnic groups that I’d love to help with.” When asked whether he feels prepared about his journey, Tyler responded that he, “feels as prepared as he’s going to get,” and that the pre-service training in Macedonia, which is the first three months, will really acquaint him with the everything about this country.
As far as expectations that Tyler has, he said that he is going into this not expecting to change lives, because he is not sure how much one volunteer will impact things. He also said that he is trying to not think about how his service will play out.
Once his 27 months of service are up, Tyler stated that, “I think I’ll come back appreciating all the things we have access to in the United States, such as constant running water, universal plumbing, reliable heating in the winter, and many other things.” He also said that he will, “learn to appreciate and treasure the culture and the people of Macedonia, along with neighboring regions,” and he will also be returning with many recipes from the local cuisine.
When asked how his experience in the Peace Corps will affect his future Tyler said, “Peace Corps service is going to mold me into a much better social studies educator,” and that his service may lead to more opportunities to continue his work there either with a State Department, or another overseas organization.