February 13th, 2005

phoenix

Peace Corps

Last Wednesday, I submitted my application for the Peace Corps. People have been asking questions about this, so I figured I ought to fill in some blanks.

All of this, of course, assumes I'm accepted. I have no idea how competitive it is, and I haven't been able to find out with web searches.

I don't know when I'll go, but it won't be sooner than next September because I have a dear friend's wedding to attend at the end of August.

I don't know where I'll go, because applicants don't really get to choose. You do get to specify areas of interest, and that may or may not work for you. Obviously, I've specified that I'd like to go to a Spanish-speaking country, but I'll be able to talk in more detail about what I want when I actually talk to a recruiter. I wouldn't necessarily turn down an assignment to a non-Spanish-speaking country, depending on the country and the work, but it would be slightly less appealing.

What I plan to tell the recruiter is basically that, and also that, as far as work goes, I can do pretty much anything, but that I'm particularly interested in community development, education, health, working with women, etc.

As a volunteer, I get 3ish weeks of vacation a year, so people should keep that in mind in thinking about vacations and travel you might want to take in the next couple of years :)

Among the questions I have for the recruiter are:

How does political climate impact the Peace Corps experience?
What can a volunteer do if s/he finds that his/her work looks more damaging than helpful?
Can someone volunteer with the PC more than once?

I'm really, really excited about this, and I hope it works out. It feels like a good fit for my next step, and it may open a lot of doors, both expected and unexpected. It's filled with the unknown, which we all know I love, and travel, ditto, and challenge, ditto...

If it doesn't work out, however, I'm going to have to find another way to do a similar thing, probably by getting in touch with NGOs in Latin America. You all can be sure you'll be hearing from me if that comes up :)