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Glenn Anderson, Peace Corps volunteer in Lviv Polytechnic: when volunteering is more than work

24 Jun 2019, 10:23
Iryna Martyn, Audytoriya weekly newspaper

For more than two years American Glenn Anderson has been working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lviv Polytechnic. During this time he fell in love with Ukraine, especially Lviv. Glenn wears embroidery shirts, the Coat of Arms of Ukraine at his neck, and the inscription on his bag says «If not now, when? If not us, who?». During this time, Glenn has so loved Ukraine that he is not sure whether he would want to return to his native Orlando after the end of his volunteering period.

Getting to know Ukraine

Glenn is an extremely positive and sincere person. It is noticeable from the first seconds of communication with him. During the conversation, he speaks some words in Ukrainian and understands some of my phrases. He likes to go to the Carpathians, where he also memorizes the words of the local dialect. When there was a chance to rent a bandura – he willingly learned to play it. Mr. Anderson has loved Ukraine with all his heart. He has loved its culture, customs and people.

For the first time, he came to Ukraine 20 years ago with parents who were religious missionaries and founded a children’s shelter in Sumy. When he returned to Ukraine as the Peace Corps volunteer and again arrived in this city, he noticed that it became more patriotic, as well as all Ukraine, while at the beginning of its independence Ukrainians were trying to find out who they are. During these two years and a half Glenn has been to Kyiv, Chernihiv, Mukachevo, Odesa, Vinnytsia and Ivano-Frankivsk. And everywhere people are proud of the fact that they are Ukrainians.

In Lviv Polytechnic

In Lviv Polytechnic, he has lots of different work to do. For example, together with a teacher of English he organizes and conducts classes for students. He also works in three English clubs – for students, academics and other employees. Glenn jokingly says, «My job is to speak. People love me to speak». Last year, he organized two English clubs for schoolchildren. This year, together with one more volunteer he started trainings for academics from other universities. He also organizes Summer and Winter English Camps for academics and their children at Polytechnic-4 Recreational Camp in Zozuli village. Other volunteers help him.

Lviv is like a second home

After two years Peace Corps volunteers can continue their work in Ukraine for another six months or a year. Glenn continued to volunteer for as much time as possible – for a year. He says that most of his colleagues did the same. This is the largest number of volunteers who wished to stay in Ukraine during the entire time of the Peace Corps activities. Glenn feels comfortable in Lviv. Even when for a short time he travelled to Poland or America, he missed, as he says, his second home.

The Department of Foreign Languages also became as a family to Glenn. To his birthday colleagues prepared a photo album with all the bright moments of the volunteer’s stay in Ukraine. In a welcome speech, the Head of the Department Nataliia Mukan wrote: «... our life is a train that quickly runs from station to station, at each of which passengers get on and off. We do not even notice some of them, but others enter our compartment and fill our lives with new thoughts and feelings, new experience and reflections. And I think this second option is about you, Glenn».