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Thread: Any advice on Peace Corps?

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    Default Any advice on Peace Corps?

    Hey, I've just been idly thinking about joining the Peace Corps lately (say, for the last 6 months or so - I make decisions really really really slowly) and I'm wondering if anyone has an experience, heard any stories, or has helpful comments or advice on that.

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    Senior Member Yeti99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by verity359 View Post
    Hey, I've just been idly thinking about joining the Peace Corps lately (say, for the last 6 months or so - I make decisions really really really slowly) and I'm wondering if anyone has an experience, heard any stories, or has helpful comments or advice on that.
    If you thought the JET application process was frustratingly slow, you haven't seen anything yet. I've applied twice; the first time I was flat out rejected, and the second time was held up of medical forms from my doctor. JET was my back up plan, and, well, here in Japan I be. Yahoo had a good Peace Corps group site, but I can't seem to find it. My only advice is to have a backup plan for it. Don't wait around for the Peace Corps, we're talking months, if not years, for getting through the application process.

    Also, know this is volunteering. You will receive money to cover basic living expenses in the country you're stationed in, but that's it. They will ask you about your financial situation, and if you have any debt, what you plan to do about it while you are away.

    I'm certainly not trying to discourage you; the Peace Corps was always one of my big dreams. However, just get ready for a lot of red tape and waiting. That said, good luck!
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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    Thanks, that's good to know. I won't put anything on hold for it. (^_^)

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    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    They warn you on the page that it usually takes 8-12 months to find placements, so you shouldn't be suprised by that.

    About financial things...Yes, you only get a small living amount while you're there, but that is what the JET payment is suppose to be as well - a small living allownece. So you should have no problem living off the amount. You also get over $6000 once you've completed your two years. This money is to allow you time to re-adjust to being back home after living abroad for a two years.

    I am also VERY surpised that Yeti didn't get accepted. The application can all be done online, and I got in right away, but while I was waiting for placement I got into graduate school, so I decided to wait with Peace Corps. If you have a B.A. and don't mind where you go, you should be fine...

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    Senior Member Yeti99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalliea View Post
    They warn you on the page that it usually takes 8-12 months to find placements, so you shouldn't be suprised by that.

    About financial things...Yes, you only get a small living amount while you're there, but that is what the JET payment is suppose to be as well - a small living allownece. So you should have no problem living off the amount. You also get over $6000 once you've completed your two years. This money is to allow you time to re-adjust to being back home after living abroad for a two years.

    I am also VERY surpised that Yeti didn't get accepted. The application can all be done online, and I got in right away, but while I was waiting for placement I got into graduate school, so I decided to wait with Peace Corps. If you have a B.A. and don't mind where you go, you should be fine...
    I made it to the nomination phase, I got tripped up on the legal & medical clearance. Had there been no snags in the medical forms, I would've departed in Nov. '06 (after some snooping around on-line, I found this group went to Lesotho in Africa). Basically, after submitting the forms and hearing nothing for three months, I got a call at the end of Sept. `06 stating all the problems they had, and all the paperwork I needed to fix. This was right around the time the JET application became available, and, as things worked out, I heard back from JET before the Peace Corps, so I took it.

    The JET pay is a lot more than the Peace Corps allowance. I wouldn't be killing my student loans at my current furious pace if I did Peace Corps. I know they have some student loan cancellation benefits, but it is only for specific government loans, and is only 30% of the loan.
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    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    Peace corp also has loan deferment, so you wouldn't have to start paying until you were done.

    And the pay with JET is much higher, but so is the cost of living. When you can live off of 70 cents a day, then a paycheck of $150 a week is really good.

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    OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE mteacher80's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    thats what it was like when i lived in china, i made 450 bucks a month, and lived like a king but wasnt able to save anything really and i worked extra jobs at night and weekends to pay for trips to other south east asian countries.
    ☆★REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES★☆

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    Senior Member Mindflux's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    I called peace corps and they said that they didn't want me because I didn't have any "volunteering experience"

    So I said "Well, excuse me, I'll take my degrees and go make some money then..."

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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    +1

    After JET it's probably time to get a real job.

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    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    Bah. After JET, I am going to Travel a few months, then Peace Corps, THEN job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalliea View Post
    Bah. After JET, I am going to Travel a few months, then Peace Corps, THEN job.
    that is my tentative plan as well.


    Peace Corps is something I've always wanted to do since a few of my HS teachers were enrolled. I've never been the ambitious type to make a lot of money; I fear success, yadda yadda yadda. The surprising part is that a lot of Peace Corps people go on to make decent livings (although I want to stay within the non-profit sector) as my two teachers were rich enough from their previous jobs that they were donating their entire yearly salaries to the Corps. But again, I want to have a career in the non-profit sector and in doing so I've put a lovely ceiling on how much I'll make come 10 years from now.

    Let's also not forget that Obama has talked about expanding the Peace Corps, which could (but not necessarily) mean an easier time getting in and a lot more placements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dayman114 View Post
    The surprising part is that a lot of Peace Corps people go on to make decent livings...

    Yeah, I heard something like that too. If you've been in the Peace Corps, you can get better access to certain government jobs, etc... I was kinda thinking that I could kill two birds with one stone by both living overseas again (very worthwhile just for cultural exposure) and by getting a boost up in later finding a career that might help me ten years from now when I suddenly have to support my parents, whose entire retirement savings went down along with AIG. Does anyone know if you can really get a good job for having Peace Corps on your resume?

    My current plan is, tentatively, to go into grad school after JET and get a teaching license, and then hopefully to start the Peace Corps application process. I love school and teaching and everything related to education, but I'm guessing it'll be hard enough just finding a job as a regular teacher in the U.S. at this point, let alone supporting more than one person on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by verity359 View Post
    Yeah, I heard something like that too. If you've been in the Peace Corps, you can get better access to certain government jobs, etc... I was kinda thinking that I could kill two birds with one stone by both living overseas again (very worthwhile just for cultural exposure) and by getting a boost up in later finding a career that might help me ten years from now when I suddenly have to support my parents, whose entire retirement savings went down along with AIG. Does anyone know if you can really get a good job for having Peace Corps on your resume?

    My current plan is, tentatively, to go into grad school after JET and get a teaching license, and then hopefully to start the Peace Corps application process. I love school and teaching and everything related to education, but I'm guessing it'll be hard enough just finding a job as a regular teacher in the U.S. at this point, let alone supporting more than one person on it.
    As far as I know the only people who get 'official' preference for government jobs are military vets and people who speak critical languages.
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    Senior Member Yeti99's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    Peace Corps service certainly helps getting jobs with the government, but it is by no means an overwhelming factor. I agree with u.g. about the vets and the languages aspect. If you want an easy way into the government, military service is a better bet than Peace Corps. However, certain parts of the government tend to look very highly on Peace Corps service. USAID is a big employer of RPCVs. I've also heard that between 5 and 10% of entering Foreign Service officers are RPCVs. A lot of RPCVs get involved in non-profits doing aid and development work.

    I think the whole 'RPCV's make really good livings' argument, though, has more to do with the personality of the volunteers than the actually service. Most are highly educated. They are willing to take risks, and move into a different world (moving to a rural town in say, Senegal, has much more headaches and problems than we experience in rural Japan). When they move back to the US, they combine their edcation, experience, any language skills,risk taking personality, etc. and end up making quite nice lives for themselves. I could be wrong, and this certainly doesn't apply to everyone.

    There was a guy in my old office who was a RPCV. His name was Drew. He served in Central America from 1989-91 (I belive it was Panama, if so, certainly an interesting time to be an American in Panama). He was in his early 40's. He worked in my office as basically an administrative assistant. Nice guy, but in talking with him, after the Peace Corps, he just bounced around dead end jobs in non-profits to the current dead end job in my office. He was quite smart, an idealist, but he lived in a trailer on his folks' land. He was using none of his education, language skills, or experiences in his current job. Again, I think it is his complacent personality working here, but it showed me the limitations of the Peace Corps (or JET, or any kind of exchange program) experience. Just because you did a highly prestigious program doesn't mean you can expect awesome job offers to come your way. You have to make your own luck and go for what you want. Otherwise, you'll be like Drew, taking all the leftover finger sandwiches home, shaving your head (missing patches, but not doing anything about it), and living alone in your trailer on mommy and daddy's land.
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    Али Димаев AliDimayev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalliea View Post
    Bah. After JET, I am going to Travel a few months, then Peace Corps, THEN job.

    ....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

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    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by verity359 View Post
    Yeah, I heard something like that too. If you've been in the Peace Corps, you can get better access to certain government jobs, etc... I was kinda thinking that I could kill two birds with one stone by both living overseas again (very worthwhile just for cultural exposure) and by getting a boost up in later finding a career that might help me ten years from now when I suddenly have to support my parents, whose entire retirement savings went down along with AIG. Does anyone know if you can really get a good job for having Peace Corps on your resume?

    My current plan is, tentatively, to go into grad school after JET and get a teaching license, and then hopefully to start the Peace Corps application process. I love school and teaching and everything related to education, but I'm guessing it'll be hard enough just finding a job as a regular teacher in the U.S. at this point, let alone supporting more than one person on it.
    I would recommend looking up universities on the Peace Corps website that have connections to the corps. A bunch of universities give scholarships to RPCV, and a bunch more have a program where you go to the university for a year, then finish your masters WHILE doing peace corps. Might save you some money, and help you get into a good school.

    About the government jobs...obviously, having the correct skill set is more important than being a RPCV, but it DOES help you. When government jobs become available, they open the jobs to applicants that are currently in certain government sectors. Peace corps are include with those groups. So they get first crack a jobs, but if they don't have the right skills, then they are out of luck.

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    SENIOR MEMBER Neb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    Peace Corp is for US residents only Anyone know of similar programs for Canadian residents or just similar international programs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neb View Post
    Peace Corp is for US residents only Anyone know of similar programs for Canadian residents or just similar international programs?
    http://www.vso.org.uk/

    It's run by the British government, but anyone can apply.

    From the website:

    Which countries does VSO recruit volunteers from?

    For Volunteer Jobs (1-2 years) VSO recruits volunteers of any nationality who live in:
    • The European Economic Area (The EU, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland)
    • The US and Canada
    • Kenya and Uganda (Kenyan and Ugandan nationals only)
    • Philippines (Filipino nationals only)
    • India (Indian nationals only)

    If you're not a resident/national of one of the above countries, you won't be able to volunteer with VSO.

    For Specialist Assignments (1-6 months), we currently only recruit volunteers who are residents in the European Economic Area.

    For Youth Programmes, you must be a resident in the UK.

    We strive to make our recruitment as inclusive as possible and our recruitment bases in Philippines, India, Uganda and Kenya promote South-to-South volunteering. But as a charity with limited human and financial resources, we have to give some geographical focus to our work. We believe it enables us to use our limited finances to the greatest effect.




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    Senior Member StressMathers's Avatar
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    The Peace Corps. is ideal for one kind of person and that is someone whose parents can provide a lot of financial support.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Any advice on Peace Corps?

    I've got a friend who did the Peace Corps in Botswana.

    The sad bit is, for all the trouble it brought her, her job was basically...well. She sat in an office all day begging for things to do, with little success. Sure, once or twice she got to go teach English or something, but it was pretty pathetic for the most part. She was not by any stretch of the imagination saving the world.

    ESID?

    I also do kind of have to critique the "the Peace Corps offers a basic living allowance, just like JET" argument. Like Yeti said, they're really worlds apart.

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