I will never forget when, in 2003, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, 20 Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in my hometown of Gulistan, Uzbekistan.
I was 18 years old and a student at the Gulistan Academic Lyceum High School, where I studied English only from books. Everything changed when my classmates and I first heard English from the mouths of native speakers, the Volunteers who arrived in 2003. From that point on, I spent several years learning English and participating in many other enriching Peace Corps activities.
These experiences changed my life forever.
Peace Corps Volunteers shared their American culture and values with us by celebrating Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and other important American cultural days. In turn, we taught them how to cook plov (pilaf, our national dish), and how to celebrate Nawruz and other Muslim holidays like Eid-al-Fitr…