Peace Corps Holidays: Macedonia

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Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. From now until January, we will highlight stories from Peace Corps volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas

Christopher Quintos will celebrate the holiday traditions of Macedonia, where he has extended his Peace Corps service beyond the standard 27-month commitment to continue serving as a community economic development volunteer. Below, Quintos, Chicago native, describes how he plans to celebrate the holidays in Macedonia and some of his favorite Macedonian traditions.

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Chicago native Christopher Quintos, far right, is pictured with youth in Macedonia, where he is a community economic volunteer.

“Last year, I contracted a cold that later turned into a five-week case of bronchitis/ sinus infection. Being sick and being away from home on Christmas for the first time ever made it a very difficult time for me. But this year, I will celebrate with other volunteers. Another Peace Corps volunteer who lives in my town is Jewish, and in the coming weeks I look forward to celebrating Hanukkah with him and other volunteers.” Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays: Macedonia”

Chicago ranks No. 4 among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas in 2015

Christopher Quintos, center, is a native of Chicago and currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Macedonia
Christopher Quintos, center, is a native of Chicago and currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Macedonia

CHICAGO – Chicago, including Naperville and Joliet, is among the top-ranked metro areas for producing Peace Corps volunteers in 2015. Today Peace Corps announced Chicagoland as the fourth highest-producing metro area, with 225 residents currently serving as volunteers worldwide.

Illinois also earned a spot on the Peace Corps Top States list, coming in sixth with 278 residents now in service.   Continue reading “Chicago ranks No. 4 among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Metro Areas in 2015”

Former Girl Scout finds similar values in Peace Corps

Schaeger_MacedoniaGwendolyn Schaefer, 23, of Hanson, Ky., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Macedonia Sept. 12 to begin training as an English education volunteer. Schaefer will live and work at the community level to make a difference providing formal and informal training and support to elementary school teachers in a co-teaching environment. She will work with co-teachers to model participatory methodologies, conduct workshops and provide classroom English language instruction.

“I decided to join the Peace Corps during my undergraduate career because as I studied international development I knew that I wanted to spend time before graduate school giving back to others and gaining practical experience in the field,” Schaefer said. Continue reading “Former Girl Scout finds similar values in Peace Corps”

University of Chicago earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings

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Peace Corps Volunteer Claire Manning in Macedonia.

CHICAGO – After a one-year absence, the University of Chicago has made a big jump in the rankings to rejoin Peace Corps’ annual list of the top 25 volunteer-producing midsized colleges and universities across the country. With 18 alumni currently serving overseas as Peace Corps volunteers, the school ranks No. 16, up 14 spots from last year.

Since the agency was created in 1961, 746 UChicago graduates have made a difference as Peace Corps volunteers. Continue reading “University of Chicago earns spot on Peace Corps’ annual Top Schools rankings”

Minnesota Peace Corps volunteer encourages cultural exchange with Halloween activities

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Peace Corps volunteer Sara Scholin with students in Macdeonia.

Peace Corps volunteers worldwide are teaching community members about American Halloween traditions, exemplifying the Peace Corps’ goal of promoting a better understanding of Americans on the part of people served. Below is an example of how one volunteer in Macedonia shared American Halloween traditions with her students.

Peace Corps volunteer Sara Scholin of Pine City, Minn., recently collaborated with two teachers from the local primary school in her Macedonian community to host a three-day Halloween celebration for nearly 500 students in fifth through eighth grade. During the celebration, students learned about the basic history of Halloween and participated in traditional Halloween activities. Continue reading “Minnesota Peace Corps volunteer encourages cultural exchange with Halloween activities”

Recently returned Macedonia volunteer ready for her next adventure: Recruiting Peace Corps applicants at University of Minnesota

Ready to make a difference? Click here to start your application.

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Marlys Shelby, with students in Macedonia

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, students planning for the future should take advantage of a unique resource on campus this year: university-dedicated Peace Corps representative Marlys Shelby. From her office in the Learning Abroad Center, 230 Heller Hall, Shelby is available to share her experience and accomplishments living and working abroad in a new culture, while helping students pursue their own path toward making a difference for others and themselves through Peace Corps service after graduation.

Shelby is uniquely qualified to discuss the personal and professional benefits of Peace Corps service. For two years, she was culturally immersed in her local community in Macedonia and worked as an English education volunteer, helping local teachers create lesson plans and activities to engage students. She also secured a grant to create a resource center with books and games and chaired a nationwide English-language spelling bee that brought more than 800 students to the capital to participate. Continue reading “Recently returned Macedonia volunteer ready for her next adventure: Recruiting Peace Corps applicants at University of Minnesota”

Chicago resident begins Peace Corps service in Macedonia

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Christopher Quintos, 25, of Chicago has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Macedonia Sept. 13 to begin training as an economic development volunteer. Quintos will make a difference helping to build local capacity and improve economic opportunities in his community.

“I have always wanted to join the Peace Corps,” Quintos said. “I hope to help my community in the best capacity possible.”

Quintos is the son of Diane Breslin and Emilio Quintos and a graduate of Marist High School in Chicago. He graduated from the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science. Continue reading “Chicago resident begins Peace Corps service in Macedonia”