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Peace Corps volunteer to speak at Lanier Library Oct 16

Published 9:03pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Lanier Library’s Brown Bag Lunch series on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at noon will feature Peace Corps volunteer and world traveler Alison Cook.
Cook began her traveling by visiting Scotland and England after graduating from Terra Ceia Christian School in Pantego, N.C. in 1995. After graduating from Mount Olive College, she took to the road again in 2002 and has been working abroad or traveling much of her time since then. She will speak of her travels and life in the Peace Corps.
Describing her motivation to work abroad, she said, “After Sept. 11, 2001, I wanted to serve my country but was not wanting to join the military. I researched ways how I can serve my country and make a difference in the lives of others. I found the website for Peace Corps and knew it was what I wanted to do. I applied in January of 2002 and was accepted in July of 2002 and left for Kazakhstan in October of 2002.”
After two months of pre-service training, Cook moved to Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan, where she served for two years as a teacher of environmental education and English.
“I got close to my host family and learned to speak Russian,” Cook said. “In December 2004 my assignment finished and I flew home. I worked with the school system for a while and then went to Granada, Spain in 2010 to earn my TEFL International TESOL Certificate.”
In 2011, Cook was asked to go back to Kazakhstan with Peace Corps Response to teach university level English.
“I taught for three months before being evacuated. Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. felt Kazakhstan was no longer a safe place for Peace Corps to serve so all 120 of Peace Corps volunteers and Peace Corps Response volunteers were evacuated,” Cook said. “I was then asked by Peace Corps Response to do a short assignment in the country of Georgia. I taught English with the Department of Ministry of Protected Areas and at Sataplia and Promethius Protected Areas from April 2012 to July 2012.
Cook said when she is not with Peace Corps or Peace Corps Response, she enjoys traveling overseas to see new places and meet new people. Her travels have taken her to England, Scotland, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Amsterdam and Paris, France.”
“I still keep in touch with my host family in Kazakhstan from my first assignment and my host mom has visited me twice here in the States,” Cook said. “When I am in the States I enjoy being with my family, friends, working with children, reading, writing, riding horses, antiquing and collecting Breyer horses.”
Cook is currently living in Tryon and working with Polk County Schools.
The program is part of the Lanier Library’s Brown Bag Lunch series and audience members are invited to bring their lunch. Coffee will be available. The program is free and everyone is welcome.
– article submitted
by Frances Flynn

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