Written before arriving in Benin
Here is a blog that I promised months ago… sorry. But here it is!!
Now, most people think that applying to volunteer for the Peace Corps is a breeze. I mean if someone wants to volunteer, why not let her right? But the Peace Corps application is actually quite vigorous. For me, I started preparing for the Peace Corps during my freshman year at TLU. I took French classes, studied in Paris for both a summer and a semester, took as many international studies classes as possible, accepted leadership opportunities, and did many hours of community service. What is funny is although some of these things (not all) were pursued to prepare me for the Peace Corps, the experiences turned into memories that I now hold closest to my heart. The application process takes about a year, so I began my application process in May of 2012. The applicant begins with starting and completing an online application that includes a resume, two essays, financial and legal history, and leadership and organizational skills that the applicant has acquired. Once the application is submitted, the applicant is asked to complete a Health History Form (which is used to determine if the applicant needs to have any specific medical exams after the applicant completes the interview and accepts her nomination). A few weeks after I completed my application and HHF, I received a package from the Peace Corps that included a Background Check form and a Finger Print form (this was in mid-July). Then comes the waiting… and more waiting. The words “Patience is a virtue” went through my head more that year than it has my whole life. When I received my package from the PC, they asked me to call my recruiter and he said he was in busy season with recruiting events, so if he had not contacted me by mid-September to call the office. So in late September, I decide to be proactive and call my recruiter. At that point, we set up an interview in late October (so I had about a month to prepare). My PC Recruiter gave me questions to prepare for and materials to read before the interview. I did two mock interviews with the wonderful staff at TLU… S/O to the TLU Career Development Office and the TLU Development Office. I do think that the interview process is extremely important, but future volunteers don’t freak out you will be fine. Just be yourself, be sure of your reasons for wanting to volunteer, and be able to connect specific past experiences with the situations you may face during your possible PC service. About a week later, I received my Peace Corps nomination. A PC nomination does not guarantee that an applicant will be invited to serve in the PC, but I think it means she has a pretty dang good chance. So again comes the waiting, from what I have read this is the same for all volunteers. I also have heard the “waiting” is to prepare the applicant for her two years of service as a volunteer. But take that as you wish. At the end of January, I was (finally) asked to complete a few more forms. These forms asked the applicant the living conditions with which she would or wouldn’t be okay. And about a week later, I received my “Invitation”! At this point, the invitee has a week or so to accept the invitation. After accepting the invitation, comes the tons and tons of medical tasks (this keeps a volunteer busy for months lol)! But after that, for me I think the most important thing is too stay on top of the paper work and spend as much time with family and friends as possible!