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Kenji Yamada


Albania (2007-2009)


Peshkopi, Albania



I love wikis. I hope this wiki really takes off. It would increase our effectiveness to share information this way, openly and across the board. Applause to whoever started it.


Personal background

I was born in Tokyo in 1983. My dad is from Osaka, Japan and my mom is an American of mostly English and Irish ancestry. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and majored in Linguistics at the University of California, Davis.

When I lived in Davis, I produced a political opinion show on Davis community radio for a year. I'm trying to get a community radio project going in Peshkopi now, and I've finally found a few people who seem interested enough to put some time into it.

Peace Corps background

During pre-service training I lived in the village of Kuqan near the central city of Elbasan, where there were also four other trainees. My PST host family was great and I still visit them from time to time. After PST I lived here in Peshkopi with another host family for the required 4.5 months. They were nice, but we didn't click quite as well. I haven't visited them since moving out, but we say hi when we see each other in town.

Living conditions

I live alone in a one-room apartment in the center of my town, with running water, a mini-fridge, western toilet, electric stove, gas heater, and dialup internet for the approximate equivalent of 60 cents an hour. Life is pretty comfortable for me materially speaking. One hardship, I have to go to the capital, Tirana, (about a 5-6 hour trip) if I want ketchup.


I co-teach two classes of fourth-year students and two of first-years every day M-F at the local foreign language high school. Classes are only a little over 20 students each, and we are working with a pretty good textbook (Opportunities, published by Longman).

I also work with a small group of grade-school English teacher on Saturdays and Sundays. A lot of them are taking an English course from the University of Tetova in Macedonia (we are very close to the Macedonian border), so I help them with that a lot.


My official counterpart is the Educational Inspector for Foreign Languages for the qark (region) of Dibër. He's around the age of my parents, maybe a slight bit younger. He speaks French and Italian fluently and I'm helping him learn English, while he helps me learn French. We get along great.

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