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Author Topic: COS Trips  (Read 5701 times)

Offline shawn

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COS Trips
« on: December 05, 2013, 02:17:35 PM »
I'm getting ready to COS and just wanted to ask the RPCVs out there: what did you do for your COS trip, if you did one, and how did it go? Best and worst parts? I wanna hear your stories!
PCVL - Rwanda 2010-2013
NPCA Serving Volunteer Advisory Council

Offline Jeff

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Re: COS Trips
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2013, 03:02:14 PM »
I definitely did a CoS trip - and it was amazing.

Me and a couple other people flew from Ghana into London...spent 3 nights in London doing the tourist thing and seeing some shows on the West End, plus a trip down to Oxford.

The we trained up to Edinburgh, Scotland and spent two nights there before hoping on a train to Newcastle where we boarded an overnight ferry to Amsterdam.  Spent about four nights (I think) in the Netherlands with some friends we had met from there during our service, then took a train down to Paris for the night, then to Barcelona for the night.

Next day we met another couple of volunteers and all got on a cruise ship which stopped in a Madrigal, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal before heading across the Atlantic to Miami...

Was an amazing time and the cost-in-lieu covered most of it, actually.  Being on a cruise ship with 'free' food out 24/7 was not the best for keeping the weight I'd lost in Africa off.....

I think the best parts were people's reactions when they learned we had all been living in Africa for the past two years.  At one Ben & Jerry's in London the guy behind the counter had to announce it to the entire store when he had to ask why we were so excited to be eating ice cream!

Worst part...not sure.  Maybe actually getting back to the US, oddly enough...
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline Carol

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Re: COS Trips
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 10:27:48 AM »
We went to Spain and Morocco for three weeks.  We decided we absolutely needed something to look forward to since we would have no job, no car, no phones, no nothing when we returned to America.  That made the whole concept of leaving Africa so much harder. A nice vacation seemed to be the ticket that made us look forward to COS.

We rented a car for pretty cheap (about $15 a day) and had NO other plans.  It really worked out quite well.  Funds were short as is mostly the case when you leave the Peace Corps.  We spent a couple hours a day planning the next day and night - which is a very cheap activity to do.  You can still find beer and tapa's for a euro a piece - but you do have to look hard.  We visited 10 major cities and it ended up costing very little.

We went to Morocco in the middle and it was the awful part.  We had quickly adjusted to a Western lifestyle in Spain and going back to Africa, even northern Africa, was not a fun interlude.  We really wished we would have stayed in Spain instead. 

Of course we had to face the reality of home while in Spain - but everything seemed more doable with communication and transportation so readily available. 

I would strongly recommend some treat between Peace Corps and home.  Once you get home the pressure is on to get a job and a life and the ability to pack up and go seems very diminished. 

Let us know what you decide to do. 
Peacefully, Carol

Jennifer Spencer

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Re: COS Trips
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 08:08:29 PM »
SOOOOOO glad I did my COS trip.  I went to Nepal & India.  AWESOME.  Gives you a little break before you have to get back to the rush life of the U.S..  Definitely go.  When else are you going to have enough $ and freedom to go just like that?

Offline E Milliman

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Re: COS Trips
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 09:09:31 AM »
I took the long way home and am so glad I did!  I served in the Philippines and went first to Thailand with a fellow Peace Corps Philippines friend, then went on alone to Africa to meet up with a friend from college who was in the Peace Corps in Kenya.  It was really great to get to experience some new cultures, but also to see the similarities and differences of Peace Corps on a different continent!  Last I headed to Europe to visit friends.  It was really great to get to see them again, but more importantly it gave me a chance to go through my first world "culture shock" away from my family.  I was surprised at how strong the culture shock was coming back into a first world environment and Germans don't tend to consume as much as your average American :)  The trip was a great experience and a good way for me to transition back to the US, so when I did get home I could just enjoy my family and not be freaking out about how consumptive we are.

Offline koji

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Re: COS Trips
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 04:46:38 AM »
My COS "trip" was actually a COS year. I spent a year studying abroad in Turkey after Peace Corps. The readjustment allowance and cash-in-lieu covered a lot of my initial expenses that year. Plus, because I was already in Bulgaria I saved the expense of a flight from the US and was able to take a lot more personal belongings (like my bike) by train to Istanbul. It was an amazing year. I studied sociology and it was a great experience to be able to process some of my PC experiences in an academic setting.

Offline Joyce Emery

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Re: COS Trips
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 04:35:03 PM »
This is a moldy oldy itinerary
June 1965 - August 30, 1967 -- I was posted in Zamboanga City, Philippines
- Hong Kong
- Cambodia - Siem Reap and Angkor Wat
- Thailand -- Bangkok
- India (Calcutta/Kolcutta)
- Nepal
- India (Delhi)
- Iran
- Israel
- Turkey (Istanbul)
- Greece (Athens and surrounding area)
- Austria - Vienna
- Germany -- visited my brother in Stutgart
- France - Paris
- Boston -- end of trip.  I owed my travelling companion - $25 US

Offline Philip Deutschle

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Re: COS Trips
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2014, 01:36:26 PM »
COS trip...  One member of my group left on the first flight, another took two weeks to get home, and I ended up taking more than two years.  First, I stayed extra in Nepal to do some mountaineering around Everest (see my book, The Two-Year Mountain).  Then travels through India, Pakistan, and Jordan, before living on an Israeli kibbutz for three months.  Next Egypt, Sudan (before the civil war), bought a one-speed bike, and pedaled from the Nile to the Congo River in Zaire.  Sold the bike, and teamed up with a couple of Japanese adventures to buy a dugout canoe which we paddled down the Congo River 500 km, then through Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Tunisia, and hitchhiking through Europe to Denmark... and some how back to the States....  Whew!!!  It was 34 years before I made my way back to Nepal.  You can check out my documentary at http://kck.st/1iEuth2  Peace!  Philip Deutschle

Offline PeaceCorps1

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Re: COS Trips
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2014, 03:03:35 AM »
Heck no. I wanted to go straight home and reunite with family and friends. Being poor in a fishbowl for 2 years was enough. I wanted to get back to work and recoup my finances.
"If it were not for the reporters, I'd tell you the truth"', President Chester A. Arthur