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Author Topic: Questions galore (and more!)  (Read 2156 times)

Offline Thea

  • Posting Member
  • Posts: 2
  • PC Status: Applicant
Questions galore (and more!)
« on: November 03, 2014, 06:01:17 PM »
Howdy Peace Corps Forum,
I'm a high school student who has been dreaming of serving in the Peace Corps forever-ish. Shockingly, :) I have a few burning questions

1. I was born with an eye condition. I have to treat it nightly with this nonprescription ointment stuff that isn't considered a drug. The condition doesn't interfere with any aspect of my life except the fact that my eyes look funny when they're closed. I know that Peace Corps can be strict about medical issues. Would they reject me because of something medical just because it exists, or would it only be if I had a medical issue that would interfere with my safety?
2. If I want to begin service between spring and fall of 2020, when should I start my application?
3. Can I select location preferences based on factors other than specific regions? If I'm interested in a certain language, climate, or level of rustic-ness, will there be a point where I can voice that?

I hope to serve after I finish my undergrad degree by 2020, and before then I want to do everything I can to be a strong applicant and hopefully a good volunteer.
By 2020, I'll have done a bunch of service-y things that I'm really passionate about that I think Peace Corps would like. What are they looking for? What else can I do?
I've started these things: Raising more than 3 puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, volunteering at an after school program for youth who are refugees, two summers of sustainability-education focused service in internationally, volunteer peer educator for Planned Parenthood, in which I teach elementary through high school students accurate, comprehensive age appropriate information on sexual health.
I'm planning to do these things: International service with Amigos de Las Americas, teaching internship at a middle school, employment at a local fighting-hunger-through-gardening non-profit, employment with an internship about fighting injustice, and best of all, at least four summers of employment as a counselor at my beloved overnight YMCA camp! :D

What else should I do to be a prepared applicant?

In the spirit of service,

Offline shanna

  • Leading Member
  • Posts: 24
    • This Alien Shore
  • PC Status: PCV
Re: Questions galore (and more!)
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 07:34:07 PM »
I'll try to help out with the information I have from my placement officer, medical staff, and from my application experience but I certainly have no expertise. Hopefully other people can fill in the blanks or make corrections. So to the best of my knowledge:

1) You will fill out a detailed medical form. If your doctor indicates that you have a condition that needs to be treated then your placements are limited to sites that reliably provide access to your medication. If, as you indicate, the condition isn't serious (or better yet if you can go without needing treatment) then the Peace Corps can work around it.

2)The application system recently change. Before you could have, and should have, applied years in advanced. Now you need to apply within a year of your desired departure date. I tried applying earlier not knowing it had changed and was talked into leaving a year early rather than resubmitting my application.

3)You can select three countries and three jobs. There is also a place to make comments such as "I do not want to serve in China" or "I would like to be placed in a French-speaking country". You are allowed to be more selective than in the past and are encouraged to voice your opinion but don't be too picky. If you indicate that you want to vacation on a tropical island with wifi and air-con you are going to put off your placement officer. Your medical form will also ask you questions about climate, altitude and general ability to survive without amenities. These will be further addressed in the interview.

I would say to make yourself a competitive applicant gain skills working with people of another culture who don't speak English. Try to spend a long period abroad and learn another language. Teaching experience is very valuable. Look at the placement opportunities on the website and see what appeals to you. Then work towards gaining the requested skills. Make sure your experiences are for more than a few weeks. Show them that you can stick with something for an extended period. This will help you when it is time to get references too!

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Offline Thea

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  • Posts: 2
  • PC Status: Applicant
Re: Questions galore (and more!)
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 07:46:44 PM »
Thanks! That was very helpful.

Offline shawn g

  • Leading Member
  • Posts: 21
  • PC Status: Applicant
Re: Questions galore (and more!)
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2014, 11:24:36 PM »
You are very premature on asking when to apply. You shouldn't even start thinking about applying until at least 2019. That is way far off from right now. I think you are honestly going to drive yourself crazy if you start thinking about applying in 5 years right now. Just volunteer for the sake of volunteering. Focus on school and make sure you get that under your belt. It's very hard to get into the Peace Corp. Focus on getting that bachelor's, and then focus on applying. 5 years is such a long time. A lot can happen in 5 years.