Anyone here been in the peace corps?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by wishful, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. wishful

    wishful In the Brooder

    Jan 2, 2010
    Tacoma, WA
    I never know where to post things like this - is this supposed to be in random ramblings? Not sure. Anyway:

    Has anyone on BYC been in the peace corps? What was it like? I'm halfway through college majoring in environmental studies (well and German, but I don't imagine that'll be too helpful) and am thinking about going into the peace corps once I graduate. Probably either an environmental or agricultural/food security project. I've looked around on the site a lot but I was thinking it'd be helpful to talk to other people, since the "what is it like?" question is obviously going to be answered mostly positively about how it's a life changing experience and all that. I know that, but what about the other side?

    I think my main questsions are as follows, though if you have any other things you think are important to know before applying or going overseas, let me know. [​IMG]

    Is language an issue, or do you get sufficient training to manage until the day-to-day immersion kicks in and starts teaching you?

    How alone are you, when you're there? Like do you have a supervisor or anything, or they kind of just drop you off in a village and expect you to figure it out yourself?

    What was your reception by the people in the communities you worked in?

    How isolated are you from your American family and friends? Did you have internet or a phone or anything, or are you pretty much dependant on letters to keep in touch? Obviously that'd depend on the country you go to, but just in your individual situation, what was it like? I'm guessing pretty much completely technology-less, but figured I'd check.

    And I guess the final question would just be how was your overall experience? Are you glad you went, or do you regret it, or was it neutral?

    Thanks [​IMG]

    Edit: Oh also, it says it's competitive - did you find the application process hard? How much experience/qualifications did you have when you applied? If anyone applied and was rejected, what were your qualifications at the time? I'm trying to find some relevant work experience now (for this but also just 'cause doing something related to my future career would be a lot more helpful and fun than working in the cafeteria as I did last year) and not having tons of luck at this point but hopefully shall find something better shortly.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2010
  2. hoosier

    hoosier Songster

    I can't answer many of your questions.
    My nephew recently finished serving two years in Peru. His first year was terrible. The area he was assigned to was full of people that hated anyone different from themselves. The doctor and nurse that had sent for him left shortly after he arrived due to the attitude of the locals. The previous Peace Corp person, a female, was removed for her own safety. His life was threatened several times (usually while the men were drunk). He was told to just stick it out until his time was up. Even his host family refused to call him by name - they just referred to him as Gringo.
    His second year was a completely different experience. He loved the area and the people.
    He had internet access.
    Sorry, but that is all the info I have.
    Good luck to you.
  3. wishful

    wishful In the Brooder

    Jan 2, 2010
    Tacoma, WA
    Thanks for your reply. That sucks that his first year was so horrible. I'm glad he made it home safely - it sounds horrible to be in that sort of situation. What changed the second year? Was he moved, or somehow the people changed their minds about him? If the first, do people normally move after a year? I was thinking it was two years in the same place, but I guess I don't actually know.

    Edit: Anyone else...?
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  4. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Songster

    Jul 3, 2009
    I applied for the peace corps but by the time I was approved (LOOONG process) I went with a program called Teach Hungary. It now has a different name, something about eastern europe I think. It was the MOST awesome experience. I wouldn't trade it for the world. TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL now when you can. I met many people that were in the peace corps and they all loved it to varying degrees of course. I've been to 40+ countries. My mom said do it now, it's a lot harder with two kids and a mortgage. At the time I thought if you want to travel you will find a way but now I have two kids and a mortgage... She was right. Meeting people from other countries, making friends with them, it makes the world a lot friendlier place. And helping people with your specialized skills aint bad either!
  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits...

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Quote:Why would they even keep going there??... What a waste of resources..
  6. BC_Farms

    BC_Farms Songster

    Jan 20, 2010
    Enfield & Chaplin CT
    This is info I have from friends going into the Peace Corps:

    - They went through training for a month or so that included intensive language training
    -They have access to the internet and mail, but they don't seem to have much time to go on the internet, or it may go in and out (but I know that they do blog, go on facebook, skype, etc)
    -They are placed with host families (or sometimes in their own hut), with a group of other Peace Corps volunteers.
    -I've heard that it was both the best and worst experience of their lives. Definitely challenging but rewarding.

    One of my anthropology teachers went into the Peace Corps twice...once to somewhere in Africa as a nurse, once with her husband after she was married to China (and gave birth there!). She loved it, and worked in hospitals or clinics. My environmental science teacher went into the Peace Corps too, to Vanuatu and worked with agriculture. His degree was in environmental science and I know he did a lot of work in research labs with seed viability etc.

    It's very competitive, I know of people who applied and didn't get in. I would try and get as much volunteer and job experience as possible. Doing workshops at environmental events would be a good idea. Get involved with a group on campus and help do something for Earth Day if you haven't already. They are looking more for professionals now, so the more work experience the better. Use every school break to do something different and relevant. "Green technology" is big too, I would try to take a specific course or workshop on that.

    ETA: I wanted to go into the Peace Corps for years but now my life has taken another path. I don't know if I'll end up going or not, if I do it'll be as an Occupational Therapist if they even take those. [​IMG] GOOD LUCK!
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  7. hoosier

    hoosier Songster

    Quote:He was moved to a different area of Peru. I don't know if it was originally scheduled that way or if they decided to move him after the first year was up.
  8. hoosier

    hoosier Songster

    Quote:Why would they even keep going there??... What a waste of resources..

    I wondered the same thing. He said they were just looking for hand-outs, not a hand up.
  9. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    I applied and got into training, but I wasn't able to pick up languages well enough. I have an unusual accent and to american ears it's vaugely "british colonial", but when using German or Farsi (the two languages they tried to teach me) I could read well enough, but not pronounce clearly enough.

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