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Author Topic: Thinking, no applying  (Read 1846 times)

Offline LiveToServe

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Thinking, no applying
« on: November 20, 2015, 08:09:57 PM »
Hey everyone,
    So I'm a junior in high school and my life, I suppose you could say 'goal' right now is to serve in the Peace Corps for as long as possible before settling back to working with an international adoption agency. I've been reading up and watching YouTube videos, researching the Masters International(Although I think it will be hard to wait that long, I'm so ready to serve!) I just found this forum and I am so glad that I did as it allows me to connect to you.
       Anyways, I do have a couple of questions just to feel out the program more and I haven't necessarily been able to find information on the ones that I have. Can somebody explain the housing situation to me? As far as moving out of your hosts family homes and into your own? Also the PC allowance, any thoughts on how it's dealt out (as far as how much you have per area needed) and advice with it? Another thing! Pets? Thoughts, advice, yay or nay? And last but not least, being a junior in high school, am I getting a little ahead of myself? Maybe being a little too ambitious of things that I potentially don't need to worry about for roughly another 5 years (yikes, too long!) ?Thanks guys!
     
      LiveToServe
'The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.' -Ghandi

Offline koji

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Re: Thinking, no applying
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2015, 01:04:58 AM »
I think it is wonderful to have goals and dreams, wherever you are in the process to achieving them. I do think that worrying about the logistics about it at this point is definitely a little ahead of yourself. But if you want to daydream and make sure that you are developing helpful skills for when you are ready to apply- awesome. I think the youngest person in our group of 87 volunteers was 20... so, a few more years than you ;)

To answer your logistical questions- every country approaches the differently, to ensure volunteer safety and be respectful of the host culture. Some countries set you up with an apartment when you move to your permanent site after training, with the help of your counterpart. Others make it mandatory you live with a host family throughout your permanent placement. Others recommend a host family but allow you to find your own apartment after you have been there a certain amount of time, if you want. Your rent, whether it is with a host family or on your own, is sometimes paid directly by your host organization. If they cannot afford it, the PC gives you a separate allowance for rent, electricity, and water, based on the exact cost of your bills.

In most countries, the monthly allowence is deposited into a bank account the PC will set up for you. Depending on what your location is like, you may have to withdraw it all at once or you may just keep it in your account if you have a bank nearby. It is supposed to be the average pay that the people you are working with would make, but it is adjusted based on a cost of living survey completed by volunteers every year. It allows you to live rather comfortably if you adapt to the host country standards of living with occasional splurges. Volunteers that cook and eat like they would in the US, purchase new, brand name clothing, travel and party often find themselves out of money by the end of the month. Any travel for PC related work, such as conferences or helping another volunteer on an approved project, is covered by the PC, along with a rather generous per diem for travel days. Healthcare is also covered. So your allowance only has to go to your own food, extra supplies for work, clothing, hygiene, and entertainment.

You wont be able to take a pet with you from the US. At least, I have never heard of that. If you are, they would have to be in quarantine in your host country for a significant time, which can be stressful to pets. Quite a few volunteers adopt pets while they are in their host country, but then there is the issue of either finding someone when you go home to take care of them, or paying to get them back to the states, and, again, making them go through a long quarantine.

One thing you might want to check out now to prepare yourself for PC (it gives you great skills and looks awesome on the application) is AmeriCorps. They have short programs (from a month to three, usually during the summer) and year-long programs if you are considering a gap year before university. They also give a small bonus to help cover the cost of continuing education.

Offline LiveToServe

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Re: Thinking, no applying
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2015, 01:47:06 AM »
Thank you for your input! It cleared up some of the questions that I had for sure. I am looking into the AmeriCorps, I didn't even realize they were a thing.

      In developing helpful skills for when the time to serve comes, do you have any suggestions on skills that are helpful in the Peace Corps just in general?
'The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.' -Ghandi

Offline PCVolunteer

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Re: Thinking, no applying
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2015, 09:41:43 AM »
Peace Corps applications have been at an all-time high which means that it is only becoming more and more competitive. Each assignment posting will have Required and/or Desired Qualifications. You can definitely start looking at them throughout the year to see what you might be interested in doing. Once you have done that I would highly recommend you begin volunteering as much as possible. Many Peace Corps assignments require that you have a degree and/or relevant work experience, which obviously puts those right out of high school at a disadvantage- this is why relevant volunteer experience is always a plus.

It is never too early to reach out to a Recruiter in your area as well!

Offline koji

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Re: Thinking, no applying
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2015, 01:17:13 PM »
The skills really depend on what sector you will want to go into. However, language skills are always helpful. Russian and Spanish are the two very helpful ones that I know of, of course it depends on where you want to go, though. Any volunteer experience. Grass roots community service- so getting involved with your community and learning how to listen to what others are trying to do and form plans around it. Any time abroad--- if you can do a study abroad program to show how you interact with people of various cultures. If you can't study abroad, put yourself in different cultures in the U.S.

Other than that, tutoring, especially tutoring in English. Things that show leadership- like being a Resident Adviser if you go to uni or a camp counselor during the summer. Also, grant writing is needed in pretty much every sector.