The Light - An Alumni Publication Winter 2014/2015 - Page 20

Faces of YFU Each edition of The Light will highlight the stories and adventures of our alumni. If your life has been influenced by your exchange, let us know at STEPHANIE ROACH YFU Program: Japan, JUSSE, 2007 Education: Lutheran High School, San Antonio, TX Trinity University, Bachelor of International Studies and Chinese Studies Occupation: English Teaching and Teacher Trainer Volunteer (Education Volunteer) Peace Corps Cambodia Home: Koh Kong, Cambodia My Experience Teaching in Cambodia How the lessons learned with YFU impact my work with Peace Corps. In many ways joining the Peace Corps was a natural extension of my YFU experience, something I had been chasing since I returned home from two life-altering months in Japan. My responsibilities may have changed from student to teacher, but my priorities are still the same. In Cambodia, I’m learning the language. This time around I am appreciating more how communication can go beyond taking care of basic needs like saying “I’m hungry,” and “Where is the bathroom?” Communication opens up avenues of mutual understanding and respect; values important to the Peace Corps and to YFU. I’m living with a host family which, unbidden but comforting, brings back memories of staying with the Shirokawa’s (my YFU host family) and going to the Ofune Matsuri together as a family. Staying with Mai Toat, my mother in Cambodia, in a remote village with her large family has its challenges but also comes with rewards. I didn’t get the fried-rice I thought I had ordered at the restaurant; “No problem,” Mai Toat said, Top: Roach in the middle of her homestay family/extended family at the local Wat celebrating Pchum Ben, one of Cambodia's most important festivals. 20 | The Light • YFU