September 21, 2004: Headlines: COS - Kyrgyzstan: Greeley Tribune: Iam Ruge will spend the next two-plus years teaching English in the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet country that borders China

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kyrgyzstan: Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan : The Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan: September 21, 2004: Headlines: COS - Kyrgyzstan: Greeley Tribune: Iam Ruge will spend the next two-plus years teaching English in the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet country that borders China

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.185.151) on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 2:58 pm: Edit Post

Iam Ruge will spend the next two-plus years teaching English in the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet country that borders China

Iam Ruge will spend the next two-plus years teaching English in the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet country that borders China

Iam Ruge will spend the next two-plus years teaching English in the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet country that borders China

Man begins journey with Peace Corps

Greeley Daily Tribune

Rebecca Waddingham
September 21, 2004

Ian Ruge of Greeley has lots of T-shirts.

Like most Americans, he probably has more than he really needs.

During the next two years, he'll find out what it's like to have only two.

Ruge, 24, left last week for 27 months with the Peace Corps, and the airline only let him take 100 pounds of stuff. His travel bags included shoes, mementos from home, a camera and, of course, a couple of favorite T-shirts.

"It's definitely been a weeding-out process," Ruge said over the phone last week, taking a break from packing. "It's hard to get that materialistic instinct out of your system."

He'll spend the next two-plus years teaching English in the Kyrgyz Republic, also known as Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet country that borders China. People there live a nomadic, minimalist lifestyle, and will wear the same thing for two weeks straight, Ruge said. His new clothing deficit will likely force him to do the same.

"The less I have and the less dependent I am on those things, the easier it'll be to fit in with those people," he said. "I don't have a lot of expectations. I just know it's going to be a completely different lifestyle. That's intimidating because there's a comfort that comes with habit."

Ruge signed up for the Peace Corps in February after graduating in December 2003 with a degree in English from the University of Nebraska. The Greeley native and Greeley Central High School alumnus said he's always wanted to travel, and decided there was no better time than now.

"I have the fewest obligations and the best health at this point," he said. "It might be the perfect thing to encapsulate all the ambition I have right now."

Of course, the international travel bug is already in his blood: His parents, Marian and Alan Ruge, met and married in Papua, New Guinea, in 1977. They were working for International Voluntary Services, a worldwide civil services group that had been the prototype for the Peace Corps in the 1960s. Before that, both had served in the Peace Corps -- Marian was in Morocco, and Alan was in Peru and later, the Solomon Islands. They married in Papua without ever meeting each other's families.

Marian Ruge isn't worried about Ian's new adventure and says she won't fret if she doesn't hear from him often, or at all. She and Alan are planning a visit sometime next year, though.

At first, she and Alan feared Ian was signing up because he thought that's what his parents wanted.

"But I think he really wanted to do it," Marian said.

It definitely seems that way.

The enlistment process includes several informational meetings, and plenty of junctures to choose a different program or back out entirely. But that was never an option for Ruge.

"Once I got deeper into the application process, it got harder to envision myself not going," he said.

Exactly where he was going, however, wasn't always as clear. Ruge had no clue where the Kyrgyz Republic was until he learned last week he'd be living there.

He flew out from Philadelphia with 68 other volunteers Friday, and once he arrives at his new home, Ruge will spend the next three months learning either Russian or Kyrgyz dialect. Then, he'll teach foreign language -- English -- to children in grade levels equivalent to American middle and high school.

You have to be pretty flexible and open-minded to join the Peace Corps, Ruge said.

"I feel it's like cliff diving," Ruge said. "You feel like there's a soft landing below you, but you're still terrified to jump off."

ABOUT THE PEACE CORPS

Right now, 7,533 Peace Corps volunteers and trainees serve in 71 countries in every region of the world. More than 50 percent of them work in education and health, especially HIV/AIDS services.

Peace Corps recruiters will visit the University of Northern Colorado's job fair, Oct. 4-5, at the University Center.

To find out more about joining the Peace Corps, go to www.peacecorps.gov or call (800) 424-8580.





When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:


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Story Source: Greeley Tribune

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Kyrgyzstan

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