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Peace Corps member to share experiences

Landlocked and bordered by Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay is one of South America’s most isolated countries. Plagued by a long history of war, poor governance and widespread poverty, it’s not a place where most would choose to spend their time. Vashon native Ian Crozier just spent 28 months there.

Crozier will give a talk about his Peace Corps experience in Paraguay next week.

“It’s a big world, and Peace Corps is a good way to experience things we’d never see or be exposed to otherwise,” he said.

Crozier, a 2005 graduate of Vashon High School, joined the Peace Corps after studying International Affairs at Lewis and Clark College in Portland. From February 2011 to May 2013, he lived and worked in rural Paraguay with a focus on education and library development projects.

“I trained local teachers in using interactive techniques and didactic materials to help improve educational outcomes,” he said of his work.

After a year at his initial placement in a remote northern community, Crozier was relocated due to security issues, the nature of which he declined to discuss. Despite this disruption, he was able to continue his work and that of the volunteers before him in the new town, culminating in the opening of a library where none existed before.

Crozier says he had long been interested in volunteering abroad, and he was interested in the Peace Corps specifically because volunteers serve for about two years, time he said was needed to get to know and really become a part of a community. Volunteers with the agency are also allowed to defer student loan payments during their term of service, a benefit that makes it an attractive option for many graduates.

“It wasn’t easy,” Crozier said of his time there. “But it was a good use of my energy. Coming back has been an adjustment. I would love to visit Paraguay again, hopefully in the not too distant future.”

Ian Crozier will offer his presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Land Trust Building.

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