Monday, October 6, 2008

Peace Corps announced our sites last week, and I'll be living in northern Kazakhstan, which also happens to be southern Siberia. It'll be cold, but I'm going where I wanted to go.

I've mentioned before that this isn't the typical Peace Corps experience. Case in point: Yesterday, after school, I went over to a fellow volunteer's homestay and fixed their wireless router, webcam, and printer. Then, her host mom drove me home in a brand new car with a touch-screen audio system while we talked about interior design. It might sound like the Peace Corps isn't even needed here, but I think that I can help a lot in the educational system, both because native English speakers are rare here and because I think there's a lot to be gained, on both sides, by sharing ideas about teaching methodology. And, obviously, the middle class, which I think is vital to stability if you're a capitalist society (especially a new one), is still growing.

Today I'm teaching parts 3 and 4 of a 4-part lesson loosely based on the topic of family. I'm going to play a clip of a stand up comedy routine by Jerry Seinfeld about "old people in Florida" and have a discussion about differences between how the elderly live in Kazakhstan and the US. I'm excited, and I think it gives the students motivation, too, when the teacher brings materials that he/she prepared him/herself.

As for free time, we got together last weekend to watch the movie Serenity, which is a continuation of the science fiction TV show Firefly. There's a bit of a geek factor in our group, and I like that.