February 13, 2003 - Oskaloosa Herald: Jonathan Pernick heading to the Ukraine in the Peace Corps
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February 13, 2003 - Oskaloosa Herald: Jonathan Pernick heading to the Ukraine in the Peace Corps
Jonathan Pernick heading to the Ukraine in the Peace Corps
Read and comment on this story from the Oskaloosa Herald on Jonathan Pernick who at 38, just quit his job as a business professor at William Penn University and is heading to the Ukraine in the Peace Corps. Pernick said, he doesn't expect any of the hardships that are stereotypically associated with the Peace Corps. "When most people hear Peace Corps, they think of college students living in huts and digging ditches in Africa," he said. That may have been the case when President Kennedy launched the Peace Corps in 1961, but it's not true today. "The modern age of the Peace Corps is very un-Peace Corps-like," Pernick said. "It's more like the Posh Corps. You get paid, get a house or apartment, a phone, Internet, computers. "Actually," he said with a laugh, "I'll be more of a modern-age business missionary." Read the story at:
Not your typical business trip; Professor quits job to join Peace Corps*
* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.
Not your typical business trip; Professor quits job to join Peace Corps
By SALLY FINDER-KOZIOL - The Oskaloosa Herald 02/13/2003
Jonathan Pernick sits with his Peace Corps volunteer handbook and special Ukraine book, his bibles as he prepares for two years of overseas service as a business facilitator.
Jonathan Pernick figures it must have been divine intervention. Pernick has quit his job to join Peace Corps, and help Ukraine adjust to market economy.
The William Penn University business professor was sitting in a nearly deserted Hunter's coffeeshop off the Oskaloosa square, sipping coffee and taking some time for personal reflection.
Then he heard the magic word - Ukraine.
"I couldn't believe it," Pernick said. "I turned around and asked if I had heard right."
He had. One of the coffeeshop employees was talking with her boss about making a trip to the former Soviet republic, her homeland.
Pernick's mind also was focused on Ukraine - and whether he should quit his job at Penn to pursue a dream of serving in the Peace Corps in that eastern European country.
"It was too weird," he said.
Pernick, 38, went home to write his letter of resignation.
While his exit from Penn was sudden, Pernick's fascination with the Peace Corps didn't just brew up one day in the time it took to drink a cup of java.
"I started thinking about it when I was in grad school," Pernick said. He was working on a master of business administration degree at the University of Florida, where the Peace Corps regularly conducts recruitment efforts.
"I flirted with the idea," Pernick said. "Then I got a job offer from RealNetworks. The big bucks and the perks lured me in."
However, after two years with the Internet media pioneer, Pernick and the other members of his Seattle media group were laid off - victims of the slowing economy.
Pernick was now unemployed, and once again toying with the idea of Peace Corps service.
"I was pretty intent on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do," Pernick said. "I have two business degrees, and I wanted to do business development in an eastern European country.
"I felt like I could truly make a difference using my skills in that area," he said. "And since my family emigrated from there in the late 1800s or early 1900s, it also would allow me to explore my history."
Pernick took his goals to a Peace Corps recruiter in Seattle, who looked at his qualifications, had him write three essays on why he wanted to serve in the Peace Corps and then asked him a "barrage of questions, kind of like a job interview."
The recruiter liked Pernick's answers, nominating him for a Peace Corps position in the Ukraine. But that didn't mean Pernick could pack his bags. First, he had to get a passport and fill out a stack of forms.
"It's all part of a fairly lengthy process to
get your security clearance, medical clearance and psychological clearance," Pernick explained.
After going through that entire process - and writing still more essays, Pernick thought he was a step away from Peace Corps service in Ukraine.
He was wrong.
"I got a letter back that I was slightly overweight according to the body mass index," he said. "My doctor said it was crazy, but I had to undergo more bloodwork to check my cholesterol and all that."
His cholesterol level turned out to be healthy, but his Peace Corps hopes were once again ailing when the medical office took too long. Pernick missed out on leaving with the group that headed for Ukraine last fall.
The Peace Corps offered him other assignments, but Pernick didn't want to settle for Somalia and was wary of Afghanistan.
"I put them on hold," he said, "and wound up coming here to work as an assistant professor of business at Penn."
Everything was going well, Pernick said, as he fell into a new routine. Then came the e-mail that would change his life.
"They asked me if I was still interested in the Peace Corps," Pernick said. "The idea became more and more appealing."
And so, with an apparent nudge from above, the decision was made. Pernick received his staging kit this week and will soon leave for Chicago, then depart with his group for Kiev, the Ukraine capital.
Pernick's group includes about 50 people, age 21 to 65, who will serve as business facilitators and environmental experts.
"It's a nice blend of individuals," Pernick said. "One man in his mid-50s gave up corporate life for the Peace Corps, and there's an attorney from San Francisco who's pretty much doing the same thing."
Pernick has gotten to know these future co-workers - plus current and past Ukraine volunteers - through an Internet user group.
"It's a great forum," he said. "I've picked up a lot of information - little things that you don't think of.
"I know now that I need to bring suits - they don't do business casual over there," he said. "I also found out that I should bring Playtex gloves because I'll probably have to wash clothes by hand. And then there's the use of alcohol - there, you're supposed to go out with the boys and drink vodka."
What he hasn't picked up from the Internet group, Pernick will learn during a 12-week training period after he arrives in Kiev. He will live with a host family, who will help him learn the complicated Cyrillic language, and also attend training sessions about the Ukraine culture and the best methods for teaching in that environment.
Once that training is completed, Pernick will be placed in a business development position with a non-government organization.
"You move to that city, find an apartment and get settled in," Pernick said. "Then you're on your own. From there, it's run like a real job."
Although he doesn't know specifics, Pernick said his job will involve helping Ukraine convert to a market-based economy.
"People are chomping at the bit to learn," he said. "It's exciting."
Pernick will be expected to become part of his new Ukrainian community and live on a Peace Corps salary equivalent to the average Ukrainian salary, about $200 a month.
While that might sound incredibly low to an American, Pernick said, the cost of living is much lower in Ukraine.
"You can buy a CD over there for $5; here it's $16 or $17," he said. "An ice cream cone is 20 cents."
In fact, Pernick said, he doesn't expect any of the hardships that are stereotypically associated with the Peace Corps.
"When most people hear Peace Corps, they think of college students living in huts and digging ditches in Africa," he said.
That may have been the case when President Kennedy launched the Peace Corps in 1961, but it's not true today. The Peace Corps now serves 136 countries with programs ranging from teaching English as a foreign language to training health workers, from promoting environmentally friendly farming practices to helping entrepreneurs.
"The modern age of the Peace Corps is very un-Peace Corps-like," Pernick said. "It's more like the Posh Corps. You get paid, get a house or apartment, a phone, Internet, computers.
"Actually," he said with a laugh, "I'll be more of a modern-age business missionary."
But that doesn't mean forging a new life in a foreign country doesn't come with a few fears.
"The unknown brings the greatest anxiety," Pernick said. "Plus there's my parents - anything they can throw in front of me to deter me, they will."
Family is a concern, he admits, especially his grandmother, who is 86 years old.
"I'll be over there two years," he said. "You don't know what will happen in two years."
He will be able to communicate with family and friends via e-mail, telephone and letters, and can bring a little bit of home to the Ukraine - 102 pounds of home, to be exact. Peace Corps volunteers are limited to 102 pounds of luggage in one carry-on and two stow-away bags.
"For me, it's not so bad," Pernick said. "All I have with me is what would fit in my car when I moved from Seattle to Osky.
"But I do have to decide what books to bring with me," he said. "And I know I'll be missing American music. I have 4,000 CDs at home, and I'm in the process of encoding them all to Windows media. That way, I can put 24 hours of music on one CD."
With his musical security blanket in tow, Pernick feels he's pretty much ready for the Ukraine. Actually, it's returning to America that has him worried.
"Coming home is my greatest anxiety," he said. "I've been overseas before for shorter periods of time, and when I come back I'm always struck by how brash American society is - it's hard to readjust to that.
"Plus, when you come back, you're an unemployed worker," he said. It will be back to unemployment checks and job hunting.
However, Pernick added, the Peace Corps does give returning volunteers a readjustment package of about $7,000, plus six months' worth of health insurance, job training and priority hiring status in the federal government.
"I think my experience there will make me more valuable as a business instructor when I return," he said. "Still, there's a lot of trepidation. I was about to settle down, finally, in Oskaloosa and at Penn.
"I wake up and think, 'have I done something stupid?' Then I get all excited and motivated again," he said. "That's the emotional tidal wave I go through every day. I just want to get over there and get started.
"I really believe," he concluded, "that I can make a difference."
For more information on the Peace Corps, visit the Web Site at www.peacecorps.gov.
©Oskaloosa Herald 2003
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By Anonymous (bb219-74-77-238.singnet.com.sg - 126.96.36.199) on Monday, September 18, 2006 - 4:07 am: Edit Post|
i want to see the sites of ukrain universities and their requirements for forien students . acctually i want admission in any bussines university.
please give me details.
PLZ GIVE ME UNIVERSITIES DETAILS OF UKRAIN FOR FORIEGN STUDENTS