May 07, 2024

Upon collecting her bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University, Emily Hizny ’24 will embark on a nearly 5,000-mile journey to North Macedonia for a two-year commitment to the Peace Corps.

Hizny said her desire to participate in the Peace Corps began with her Global Opportunities program, GO Tirolo, which was set in an Alpine region in northern Italy and southern Austria. She spent two weeks abroad exploring the region’s multicultural facets, engaging in agricultural and culinary activities, learning about sustainability and border concepts and interacting with local communities.

“I absolutely loved it. I absorbed so much from the experience and upon returning home, decided I wanted to go abroad again after graduation,” Hizny said. “My quest took me to the Career Development Center where the Peace Corps was recommended to me.”

While living in the southern European republic, Hizny will be assigned to a primary or secondary school where she will work collaboratively with a teacher there to teach English while also learning to speak local languages, including Albanian and Macedonian.

A creative writing and publishing & editing double major, Hizny learned she preferred working with people more than the solitary practice of writing after becoming involved in campus activities. As a Susquehanna student, Hizny was involved in Slam Poetry Club, FUSE (Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors), Sanctuary Magazine, and served as a student ambassador for the Admission Office. She also served as a teaching assistant for various English and creative writing courses.

“I loved the collaboration of my clubs and projects, and I’ve gained a lot of teaching experience while at SU,” she said. “Those experiences, combined with my desire to help people and learn new skills and ways of life, motivated me to explore the Peace Corps,” she said.

The Peace Corps was founded in 1960 by President John F. Kennedy. The organization brings together skilled, committed volunteers with host communities for service opportunities in more than 60 countries. Acceptance into the Peace Corps is highly competitive — only about 23% of applicants are awarded a position.

Hizny, of Princeton, New Jersey, chose to serve in North Macedonia because of its mountainous landscape, similar to the land she fell in love with in Tirolo. She was also intrigued by the country’s collectivist culture, which values the needs of the community over the individual — a way of life Hizny anticipated learning from.

“I’m looking forward to discovering the strength and wisdom within a collectivist culture,” Hizny said. “I hope that as I integrate into North Macedonia’s communities, I can grow more patient and empathetic as I stive to become a skilled and supportive teacher.”