Back in high school, a friend of mine corrected my pronunciation of the word "corps" (the dropping of the s is anything but intuitive) when I tried to tell her that the congressman I was campaigning for had spent two years in the Dominican Republic as a member of the Peace Corps. Fast-forward a few years and I am now a few months away from serving two years in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer myself.
I had by this point become really interested in the government, an interest that would grow and evolve throughout my high school and college careers. Whereas I was originally more interested in campaigns and the work of politicians, my interest has shifted to humanitarian aid and the ways in which the government gets involved through numerous government agencies.
This is my long-winded way of saying that, although I did not seriously consider applying to the Peace Corps until about a year ago, I now realize that, academically and professionally, I have been working up to this for a long time. I recently graduated with a major in Peace and Justice Studies with a concentration in Human Rights. I've also dedicated the past three summers (and my entire Senior Spring and summer) to an education non-profit working with under-served children and young adults in Boston. My studies, research, and work experience have (hopefully!) prepared me to do this work.
I will get more into my reasons to join the Peace Corps some other time. For now, I felt it was appropriate to start this new blog by giving you some insight into my application timeline.
2/1/2018 - Applied to be an English Language Higher Education Facilitator in Panama
1. Completed application
2. Received candidate reference number
3. You have 48 hours to complete your Health History Form (HHF) *
4. Received a list of countries where the Peace Corps can provide medical support for Type 1 Diabetes (Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, Kyrgyz Republic, Macedonia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Thailand, and Ukraine)
* I had already completed the Health History Form on a previous application (which I withdrew because I would not have been able to appropriately prepare by the departure date), so I did not have to do that again. You don't have to fill it out again if you reapply within a year
2/20/2018 - Placed under consideration
4/23/2018 - Application was placed under consideration for other programs
4/26/2018 - Skill Addendum - Education
This is an in-depth survey meant to expand upon your skills and experiences in a specific sector. It must be completed within two calendar days.
5/2/2018 - Application was placed under consideration for the Spanish Literacy Promoter- Primary School position in Dominican Republic
Fun Fact: There seems to be some lag between the moment something gets updated on the Peace Corps Applicant Portal and the moment you get an email about it. I remember checking the portal when I got the Skill Addendum email and I believe it already said I was placed under consideration for this position (6-7 days before I got this email).
6/6/2018 - Interview Request, References, and Fingerprint Packet
Interviews are conducted through video chat and last about 1-1.5 hours. The interview is very thorough, but they do give you interview pep tips before-hand so you should feel prepared.
I was at this point informed that my references (whose names I had submitted when I originally applied) had just been reached out to.
Lastly, I received the fingerprint packet in the mail (to be completed post-invitation for legal clearance).
6/22/2018 - Interview + References
The interview lasted a little over an hour. The interview was very thorough, so I definitely recommend spending enough time preparing for it. At this point I was informed that my references had yet to be submitted and asked to reach out to them.
6/26/2018 - Notified that all references were submitted
I sent an email to the Placement and Assessment Specialist regarding my references and she responded to confirm that they had received all my references. Although they ask you for three people who could serve as references, they only need two responses to complete an application.
8/16/2018 - Formal invitation to serve
The email was a formal invitation to serve in the DR pending medical and legal clearance. They give you three days to review all assigned materials (such as medical, safety and security information and the PCV Handbook) and accept/decline the invitation.
Here's to the start of something new (if you immediately started singing HSM, we will be great friends - drop me a comment).
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