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Author Topic: Interested in Applying to Peace Corps, Not Sure if my Credentials Will Help  (Read 3110 times)

Offline DasGeneral

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  • Posts: 4
  • PC Status: Applicant
Hey Everyone,

So as you can tell from my location, I'm currently living and working outside Hefei in Anhui Province, China. I've been living and working here for the past two years as an Oral English teacher at a small foreign language university, the Anhui Foreign Languages University. I'm finishing up my second and final year here in June and I'm putting in for grad programs involved with the Masters International program. I'm a little concerned about my credentials. I have a 120 hour TEFL and two years of classroom teaching experience at my university, I've been writing and teaching my own lesson plans for two years, all the usual jazz of a language instructor here. I've been involved with several campus clubs, including two of the English language clubs, and helped with a few of the speech contests and film/TV dubbing contests they put on every year as a judge and a coach for the students participating. I'm not exactly in an urban setting, my university is about an hour outside the outskirts of Hefei. We're surrounded by farmland and small Chinese villages, though that all is changing pretty quickly out here! I have a BA in History, most of the way to an MA in History I had to abandon due to some personal issues with my ex-fiancee about three years ago before I came to China, and I'll be enrolled in an MA program at the time of my application to PC.

I'm really interested in serving with the Peace Corps in Central or Eastern Africa as an English instructor or in some other Educational capacity, but I'm pretty flexible with posting if need be. My question is: Does my background of living and working in China for two years help with my PC application that I'll be starting in the fall? I'd appreciate some advice because the application process seems to be pretty daunting to say the least. Thanks to anyone who can give me some information or advice on this! 谢谢朋友们!

Offline Jeff

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It definitely will help - you've shown an ability to integrate and function in another culture, and an ability (I'm making an assumption here) to learn some of a foreign language.

Additionally, that is a decent amount of teaching experience, specifically in TEFL.

That being said, how far you get in the process and whether you make it to invite is really (in my opinion) somewhat of a timing thing.  While in my uneducated opinion you are more than qualified, getting the invite all depends on what the rest of the applicant pool looks like - both in terms of number of applicants for the positions you apply for and in terms of the level of experience and education they may have.  Of course, nobody will know that except the placement officers, and that not until after the closing date.

One good thing about this new process, is that it is VERY easy to reapply.  In a sense, reapplying here is more like just putting your name back in the hat; its very quick, and many of your submissions from the previous time can be reused once past the initial application.

It never hurts to apply, so I definitely would encourage you to submit an application and see what happens (assuming there are positions currently open you are interested in).  The postings for country openings and departures are cyclical, so if you don't see anything you like, its just a matter of waiting a few months until new openings are posted.
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline DasGeneral

  • Posting Member
  • Posts: 4
  • PC Status: Applicant
It definitely will help - you've shown an ability to integrate and function in another culture, and an ability (I'm making an assumption here) to learn some of a foreign language.

Additionally, that is a decent amount of teaching experience, specifically in TEFL.

That being said, how far you get in the process and whether you make it to invite is really (in my opinion) somewhat of a timing thing.  While in my uneducated opinion you are more than qualified, getting the invite all depends on what the rest of the applicant pool looks like - both in terms of number of applicants for the positions you apply for and in terms of the level of experience and education they may have.  Of course, nobody will know that except the placement officers, and that not until after the closing date.

One good thing about this new process, is that it is VERY easy to reapply.  In a sense, reapplying here is more like just putting your name back in the hat; its very quick, and many of your submissions from the previous time can be reused once past the initial application.

It never hurts to apply, so I definitely would encourage you to submit an application and see what happens (assuming there are positions currently open you are interested in).  The postings for country openings and departures are cyclical, so if you don't see anything you like, its just a matter of waiting a few months until new openings are posted.

Thanks! I studied Chinese for two years in college (forgot most of it by the time I got here_, but I picked up a decent amount over here and am semi-functional in conversational Mandarin. Do you think my personal background of having to leave a grad program will affect my chances at all? It was almost three years ago and two of those years have been spent abroad in China, so I'm hoping that will balance out any negatives on my part.

Offline Jeff

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Heh - I always laugh when people ask me about educational bumps affecting eligibility.  :)

I was academically dismissed from college, and stopped an associate's degree program halfway through, took only one graduate class before stopping (though I did get an A in it!), and I've been invited to serve four times.  My final GPA in undergrad was 2.01.  Seriously.

One invite was right when I (finally) finished undergrad, once three years after CoSing from that first time (I withdrew due to work opportunity), once last year (unable to stage due to medical), and just recently (all set to go if medical works out!).

All that to say, yes, your experiences and attitude can definitely balance out any negatives!

On a more serious note - I would add that in my experience Peace Corps is a 'whole of person' type of agency.  Just because you have x number of years of experience and are the director of y program for some high-level agency, does not mean you are going to get an invite.  On the flip side, just because you have had some academic struggles, or 'lack' something in another area does not mean you are NOT going to get an invite.

Peace Corps looks for a wide, representative sampling of American culture and people, and that includes people with all sorts of backgrounds, experiences, and challenges in their past.  That's why I always cringe when I see a post from someone who says, "I'm a perfect candidate, of course I'll get in.  I've never done anything wrong, just look at my resume!"

It's not only your paper accomplishments that matter in an agency like this.
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline shanna

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  • Posts: 24
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Hi! I'm also teaching in China now! In Shanghai though. I leave for Africa in June. My placement officer loved that I had experience living and teaching abroad and the TEFL was a plus. You definitely qualify but as other have mentioned sometimes highly qualified people get turned down and it isn't always obvious as to why. But I don't think you need to worry about that. As long as you interview well I think you have a good shot. You can always improve your odds by selecting anywhere/anything as a placement option.

Offline DasGeneral

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  • Posts: 4
  • PC Status: Applicant
Hi! I'm also teaching in China now! In Shanghai though. I leave for Africa in June. My placement officer loved that I had experience living and teaching abroad and the TEFL was a plus. You definitely qualify but as other have mentioned sometimes highly qualified people get turned down and it isn't always obvious as to why. But I don't think you need to worry about that. As long as you interview well I think you have a good shot. You can always improve your odds by selecting anywhere/anything as a placement option.

Haha, you guys get all the good stuff in Shanghai! It's good to hear that another China veteran had luck with the PC. I'm putting in for the Masters International program, so grad school and PC at the same time. I've never interviewed for anything like this so I'm walking into this totally blind.

If you don't mind my asking, are you teaching at a private language school, a public school, or a uni?

Offline Jeff

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I posted this in another thread, but just for ease...

Here is a link that is pretty much word-for-word what the interview was like for me.  There is some variation in wording as I was in a different sector than the original poster, but literally it was the same interview otherwise.

Hopefully help you prepare!

http://www.reddit.com/r/PeaceCorpsVolunteers/comments/2uolga/was_just_interviewed_heres_what_they_asked/
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline shanna

  • Leading Member
  • Posts: 24
    • This Alien Shore
  • PC Status: PCV

If you don't mind my asking, are you teaching at a private language school, a public school, or a uni?

None of the above! I home school primary school kids in preparation for international school. It's been an interesting experience. I taught for a year at a Korean private language school though.

Offline DasGeneral

  • Posting Member
  • Posts: 4
  • PC Status: Applicant

If you don't mind my asking, are you teaching at a private language school, a public school, or a uni?

None of the above! I home school primary school kids in preparation for international school. It's been an interesting experience. I taught for a year at a Korean private language school though.

Oh cool! I heard those private tutoring jobs are fun, but I heard horror stories about the Hagwons in Korea.