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Author Topic: Selecting your Country of Service  (Read 4400 times)

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Selecting your Country of Service
« on: December 23, 2014, 03:33:08 PM »
How do you feel about this new policy? Where would you choose to go if you ever reapplied?
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur

Offline shanna

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 11:51:22 PM »
I really liked that they offered a chance to select a country for service but ultimate ended up selecting "anywhere" and letting them decide where I was most needed.

LittleJo

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 03:04:42 PM »
Shanna I think what you did is the best way to go. From everything I have heard about the new process, selecting where you want to go does not speed things up at all. In fact, I've read comments here and on FB that many good folks were not selected because where they wanted to go was either filled or they were not competitive enough for that country. They ended up having to re-apply. Unless I've misunderstood, I think the new way is not so great.

Offline Jenny

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2015, 04:10:36 AM »
I think this is an interesting addition to the application process. I applied in 2010, before I was done with undergrad (hadn't even started undergrad actually was hoping there would be room for me based on my AmeriCorps experience) and I remember thinking then it would be nice to at least give some input of place you might be extremely interested in.

On this application I chose 'will go anywhere and do anything' as my first option as there are 3 options. But then I did take the second two options to chose areas I personally am specifically interested in serving. And we all have those. Event the people who genuinely mean they will go anywhere have personal preferences as to areas they would like to live for two years, they just might not care as much if those preferences are fulfilled. I think everyone has imagined their peace corps experience also. Most of us know better than to rely on those imaginings as the way it will be, but for some reason whenever I've imagined my Peace Corps experience I never saw a jungle atmosphere. That does not mean I'm opposed of course, it just means somewhere in my subconscious I have not selected jungle terrains as someplace I imagine myself serving.

When I did AmeriCorps NCCC, my program headquarters in Denver had a system where teams got to choose the projects they worked on for each 8 week period. Other NCCC headquarters assigned each team their projects without much choice or say in the matter. Of course running into different teams from various headquarters while out and about doing projects, us Denver teams were often accused of having it easier because of those choices.

The thing is, we only go to choose from the projects that were available anyways, and if other teams had picked "the good" project we wanted, we went to the next project.

I've seen Peace Corps new move described as "voluntourism" on some other sites, and some older members seem a bit envious (in some cases at least, I'm sure most are adults and understand that it is not a huge deal), but the thing is, when I submitted my application it did not have an option to work for two years in Paris at the Sorbonne. I did not have an option to live in the Mediterranean working as a tour guide....I had service related options in developing countries.

I have also read so many blogs and watched so many youtube videos, and it seems like anyone serving or anyone who has served should understand that what you are assigned as a title might not be what you end up doing exactly and that jobs are what you make them anyways.

All that being said, I think the addition of preference selection makes sense for a few reasons. First it will be a good way to weed out people who are being unrealistic or maybe just want a vacation to the Carribbean. It is also realistic to assume anyone committing to two years might have some preference as to where they would like to be for those two years, and if the volunteer has great reasons (advanced knowledge of area, University studies on area, fluency in language...)for wanting to be there it could really benefit both the community and the volunteer.

I also think those really serious about serving will have selected "go anywhere do anything" for at least one of our options (my top option), however there should be no harm in at least being able to identify certain areas of the world that interest you. I'm pretty sure my two areas I did select are not high on most volunteers priority lists anyways, my interest in those areas are personal and if I have a chance to engage in those interests via my time in Peace Corps; great! If not....well I'm just interested in serving.

Offline koji

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 08:17:36 AM »
As I recall, the old application did have space for you to put regions or specific places you were interested in, and why. They had us rank climate, job, country, and language as to what was most important. (This was 2008/9 for the application, left in 2010). 

The thing that seems troublesome about the new process is that it looks like your application gets entirely kicked out of the system after you are deemed not a good fit for one country. (Not 100% sure, but that is what I am understanding). Then, you have to actively reapply. I know I was under consideration for at least two programs before I was accepted to one, and it all happened without me being overly aware of it or participating.

I think I would have found it discouraging to have to reapply until I found a fit, and I would wonder if my skills matched anywhere.

Offline Jenny

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2015, 08:39:10 AM »
Hm
I don't recall having that kind of input in my application in 2010, but I could absolutely be wrong as it was a while ago now and I only made it so far in the process before I was informed I needed to finish my Bachelors first. You are probably right about the ranks then.

So, as far as being kicked out of the system and needing to reapply as you suggested if you are not deemed a good fit for a specific country you  selected do you know how that works for someone who selected 'go anywhere do anything' as their top choice?

I understand you applied under the old system and are not a recruiter or representative, but that made me wonder....I did choose two countries because I had 3 boxes I had to fill out. If I am not deemed a good fit for other of those two countries I would hope that it would default to letting them choose for me instead of having me reapply again seeing as I was upfront about being able to go anywhere.

I'm beginning to wonder now if maybe I should have just selected 'go anywhere/do anything' for the first box and left the other ones blank....

Hmmmm....

Well thanks for your input, if anyone else has any information on this and could help me out I would appreciate it.

Offline koji

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2015, 11:01:36 AM »
Sorry, Jenny, I don't know how the new system works... everything I was saying was just how i pieced together. Hopefully someone with experience with the new system will chime in :)

Offline Jeff

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2015, 02:03:18 PM »
Having gone through pretty much all the iterations of the application at this point (gotta love PC medical!), one thing that's interesting is how the preferences part has evolved.

WAY back when when I did my first stint as a PCV, we could highlight preferences...where we would like to go.

The second time through, in 2008, the same.

Then in 2013 when I went through it, it asked where you preferred NOT to go.

My most recent time through, in 2014, it was under the new system and you selected where you wanted to apply to.  Definitely a big change over the years.

As to my opinion - I see it both ways.  I NEVER would have chosen West Africa when I first did Peace Corps, yet it was an amazing experience.  I also liked the fact that if you didn't get selected for your preference, you were just thrown in the pool for whatever you matched...not getting an invite was NOT the end of the road for applicants.

Now, I do like that I have some control over where I will be considered for as, having had two PC-related experiences in a single region, I'd really like to serve somewhere else.  That being said, I DON'T like that if you don't get selected/invited, then you just have to reapply completely.

I understand the voluntourism stance regarding the new application, but I actually feel like now it is less that way, and more applying for a 'normal' job...

Just my $.02.
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline Jenny

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 11:23:20 AM »
For anyone wondering what I was wondering above I did find some information.

In the new system we have three options as far as country selection. Each option we can choose a specific country and the job assignment we would like. There is no selecting regions, just the country.

If you would like to just be considered for anything even if you are not selected for a country you list you need to put "go anywhere do anything" as your FIRST option (which I did before even knowing that, and I am certainly happy I did). If you do that you will be considered for all available options. Then the other two boxes can be used to show areas you might be interested in as well.

There is also a box to add any notes such as "Leave date is more important than location" or "Willing to wait to use specific language skills in specific area..." Things of that nature, however there is only a 300 character limit, so it is not the place to go into detail about what your dream position and location would be.

However, as I said, from what I have come to understand rereading emails I received after filling out those forms, as long as you put "go anywhere I am needed" as your first option you will not have to reapply if you are not accepted into one of the other two locations/programs you selected.

Hope this information can help any future applicants. As people around here seem to understand, this information could change if the application system changes again, but for now that is what I have come to understand.

Offline akiramd12

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2015, 02:33:29 PM »
I'm an invitee for the Tanzania Education Program leaving July 2015. I'm currently going through clearances.

 I did my research and heard about how long the process was going to be, and didn't want to lengthen it by making THEM find a program that fit MY resume. I did like I would do on a job search and chose the positions based on my skills.

I knew I didn't want to be primarily an English teacher and I LOVE science but I want to eventually go to med school. So my best bet was teaching science or being a health volunteer. There were only 4-5 countries looking for Science Educators at the time and a HUGE amount looking for health. I eliminated the health programs based on whether I felt that I would qualify against what they were looking for and eliminated any countries that did not accommodate for certain health issues (I had a past medical issue that would need monitoring). I ended up getting it down to 3 science teaching programs and 3 health programs. From there I did some serious research (mostly finding blogs that I skimmed through to see the kind of work would be done) and ending up with Tanzania being my top choice because I would be teaching science AND would have a secondary project specifically in health or girls empowerment, plus the volunteers sounded like they enjoyed the program and it kind of imprinted on me lol. After you submit your app, they ask for your top three programs and I THINK it went 1) Tanzania Science Volunteer, 2) Ghana Science Volunteer and 3) Botswana Health Volunteer. They then sent me an email a week later saying I would be considered for Tanzania.  A month or two passed and I was selected for an interview and I KID YOU NOT, got an invitation less than 24 hours after the interview. Pretty good Christmas gift.

Advice: Research your country!!! One of the questions that I feel helped me get my invite was why I chose Tanzania. I told them about how I read up on the program and the country and how beautiful it was and how I liked the work that they were doing and my plans for when I get there (if accepted). It shows that you are taking pro-active part in selecting where you want to lay down roots for 2+ years.
Chantel
Science Education Invitee
Tanzania - July 2015

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: Selecting your Country of Service
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2015, 03:39:10 AM »
I agree that some of the old heads are jealous that we could not have chosen our countries. lol
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur