The students had to use English to instruct their classmates how to make paper boxes.

Myself (right) and two other PCVs socializing with the University of Fianarantsoa's English Student Association

An infant sits on his father's shoulders as the Antambahoaka clan make a ceremonial march along the shore during Sambatra, a circumcision festival held once every seven years.

Name: Gabriel Krieshok
U-M Affiliation: Staff, Student

Where do you work?

International Center, University of Michigan

When did you serve in the Peace Corps?

2007-2009

Where did you serve (which country/countries)?

Madagascar

What were your main responsibilities as a volunteer?

English Teacher

Is there a specific person (or persons) who made a strong impression on you during that time?

My neighbors, colleagues, fellow volunteers, and newly-acquired lifelong friends gave me memories and experiences that are resolutely unforgettable.

What was one of the most memorable moments you had as a volunteer?

I taught (after some prodding) my high school students the U.S. national anthem, which removed any semblance of humility or reservation I was able to muster regarding my singing voice. They learned it quickly, outperformed me in moments, and demonstrated it at a school assembly with such vigor and pride that leaves me speechless to this day.

In what ways did your Peace Corps experience affect your life and/or career decisions?

Peace Corps gave me a glimpse to a path where a strong work- ethic, a commitment to an idea, and a little patience can go a long way.

In what ways did your U-M education, both inside and outside the classroom, prepare you for your Peace Corps experience?

In fact, it was (partly) through talking with a U-M alum while in Peace Corps that I pored myself into learning about the university and community as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer looking to leverage my skills and experiences in a place where they could be cultivated.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating going into the Peace Corps?

If you're considering joining Peace Corps, I would say to think about it, consider it, and do your homework. And then dive in feet first. You won't regret it.

What is the value gained from the Peace Corps experience?

So many of the benefits to Peace Corps are intangible, yet so many are equally seen and felt everyday. A person learns how to be independent, you learn how to live with yourself and know yourself and your limits. You learn what is important to you, and what may be fleeting. You learn to communicate, to be open, to be patient.

What lessons did you learn in the Peace Corps that you carry with you today?

I learned that washing my hands matters, that languages don't stop fruitful interaction, that I'm universally bad at basketball, and that our friends and family, wherever they may be, remind us why we continue to adventure...

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