Hello! My name is Emma Griffis. I am an American Peace Corps volunteer working at the Sofiyivka Professional Lyceum for the next 2 years.
I am 27 and grew up in the state of North Carolina. I received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of North Carolina, with a specialty in US History and Sociology/Gender Studies. After university, I moved to Denver, Colorado, and worked at an organization that helps women learn good job skills. In Colorado, I met my husband, Alex McHardy. Alex is a computer programmer who lived in Colorado for more than 10 years.
In 2005, Alex and I left Colorado and travelled around South America for 4 months. We went to Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Ecuador. We both really enjoy traveling, learning new languages, and meeting new people. After we returned to the US, we decided that, one day, we would live in a different country to experience life in a different culture.
After our big travels, we lived in North Carolina for almost 4 years. On the 16th of September, 2006, we got married at my parent's house in the mountains of North Carolina. We lived in a small town called Carrboro. Alex worked as a computer programmer for iContact. I worked for Family Violence and Rape Crisis, an organization that is working to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. My job was to go to schools and conduct classes about gender issues and violence. I really enjoyed teaching students about these important issues.
We applied to the Peace Corps in the fall of 2007. It was a long process until we finally came to Ukraine! At first, we didn't know that we would live in Ukraine. We told Peace Corps that we would live anywhere in the world. In spring of 2008, they asked us if we would like to live in Eastern Europe. We said, "sure!" In August, they asked us if we would like to live in Ukraine, and we said, "yes!" We didn't know very much about Ukraine, but we did a lot of research on the Internet. I read a lot of blogs by other Peace Corps volunteers about what it was like for Americans to live in Ukraine.
There are a lot of reasons why I wanted to join Peace Corps and come to Ukraine. I think a lot of people in America live in a "bubble," which means they don't really know what life is like outside of the US. Since all the countries in our world are connected, I think it's very important to know how people in other countries live. Also, I love meeting new people, learning about different cultures and customs, and traveling to new places! I am very excited about living in Sofiyivka!