Hannah Goes Fishing

A Fishing (and more) Blog

Peace Corps Update: Still Waiting

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Again, another blogging haitus (although I’ll give myself credit for only being absent a month this time).  My apologies.  I’m well into my second year of grad school, and with the temperatures dropping like rocks of a bridge, it’s all I can do to try and keep my head above water.  I feel fortunate that I still love my graduate work (even the dreary transcription process) and feel motivated to keep plugging away with each new interview or development within the fishery. 

But that aside, I wanted to update my readers on my Peace Corps application process.  My last landmark was finishing up my references, and I have confirmation that all were submitted by my wonderful and incredibly helpful reference volunteers.  Now that Peace Corps has those in hand, my next step is to schedule and complete a personal interview with my recruiter.  But, I have yet to hear back anytime within the last month, so I’m stuck waiting.

In the meantime, I was invited out to dinner with a group of friends this past weekend.  One couple, a friend of a friend sort of thing, have actually recently (this past spring) returned from their Peace Corps assignment in Jamaica.  They were kind enough to speak for several hours over dinner about their experience.  It was clear that though they’ve been back for a few months, they’re still adjusting to the experience they had and where it fits into their lives.  Jamaica is a very difficult place to be assigned due to the very intense, violent, and sexualized nature of the culture.  In short, a very difficult set of cultural norms to adjust to, and then readjust to upon your return home. 

They were able to give me some great advice when I shared where I’m currently at in my process: “Keep bugging ’em.”  They said their entire application process from submission to acceptance and deployment was about a year, and they know their application was fast-tracked as one of them was a Master’s International participant (apparently they get the royal treatment).  So, patience is the name of the game.  Good to know.

Update: Not an hour after writing this post, I received a call from my PC recruiter asking me to call and schedule an interview with her.  I kid you not.  I am now scheduled for an interview on November 21st (my second full day of being 25!).  They’ve also sent me an email expressing what I should do to prepare for the interview and how long it will take (about an hour to an hour and a half).  I’ve included an excerpt from the email below to help you get an idea of what they’re looking for during this part of the process.

Some of the topics we will discuss during the interview include:

  • Your motivation for joining the Peace Corps
  • Your expectations and concerns regarding working overseas for 27 months
  • Your leadership skills and your ability to work in an unstructured environment
  • Your overall flexibility regarding work assignments, geographic placement and departure date
  • Your questions or concerns regarding issues of diversity and circumstances such as current romantic relationships, and financial/legal obligations
  • Peace Corps’ drug and alcohol policy
Please take some time beforehand to reflect on the aforementioned topics in preparation for your interview. You may also wish to familiarize yourself with the general information that is available to you on the Peace Corps website (www.peacecorps.gov), possibly also attend an information session, or simply speak with returned Peace Corps Volunteers about their experiences during service. It may also be helpful for you to review the 10 Core Expectations for Peace Corps Volunteers.
While your identity in terms of race, ethnic background, age, sexual orientation, gender, religion etc. will have no impact on your acceptance into Peace Corps, you should realize that it may affect your experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Your regional Peace Corps recruiter is happy to address any concerns you have with regard to this and also provide you with additional resources or put you in touch with returned Peace Corps Volunteers from a similar background.
Lastly, please note that the Peace Corps’ background check will revealall arrests (e.g. suspended sentence, deferred judgment, dismissal, not guilty, reduced charge, mistaken identity or expungement). Thus it is important that you discloseall arrests, regardless of the final outcome of those arrests. Not doing so could result in rejection from Peace Corps.
Please approach your Peace Corps interview as you would any professional job interview.
So, lot’s to consider before I get on the phone. Thank goodness for the two week prep period!

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