“I feel very comfortable with the language now,” said Cahill, who studied French in high school and college. Cahill teaches English to fourth- through 11-grade students at Zolochiv School No. 4, which has an enrollment of about 270 pupils.
“Just the other day I, along with another American volunteer in California and two other Ukrainian college students in Kiev and Kharkov, just finished an application for a grant for a summer English and volunteerism camp,” Cahill said. Work on plans for the camp, called CACTUS for “Community ACTion Ukrainian Style,” was conducted via computer video conferencing across three time zones and from four different locations, he said.
Cahill was a history major and studied education at Hartwick, a private liberal arts and sciences college in Oneonta that enrolls about 1,500 students. He graduated in 2012.
Currently five graduates are Peace Corps volunteers, Hartwick College officials said, and about 105 graduates have served over the years.
Mark Davies, associate professor of education at Hartwick, said Cahill visited the campus in January while on break and spoke with some students about his Peace Corps experiences. Davies said he hasn’t been worried about the safety of Cahill, who has stayed in touch.
Cahill is a level-headed young man with high moral standards and focused on making a positive difference inside and outside the classroom, said Davies, who was his college adviser. And whenever meeting people, Cahill focuses on knowing them individually as human beings, he said.
“It wasn’t much of a surprise when he decided on the Peace Corps,” Davies said. “He became a wonderful ambassador for the United States.”
Peace Corps recruiters will be visiting Hartwick College and the State University College at Oneonta in mid-April.
Cahill said joining the Peace Corps filled his goals to teach, travel and help other people. He applied for a teaching assignment “anywhere,” he said, and found out graduation day in May 2012 that his post would be in Ukraine.