Monday, January 25, 2010

And now the wait begins...

I called Kyle (the recruiter) back today, and I told him that I had decided that the English Teaching in the Pacific Islands would be my first choice. Kyle said that he would do his best to make it happen, and that he would probably call me back tomorrow afternoon or in the next few days.... One of the most consistent things that I've read about the PC online is that you have to be very patient with their application process.

After reading through PC wiki and reading about some of the Eastern European countries on Wikipedia, I got a little scared about being sent to countries with considerable political unrest to try to affect change. The PC wiki has an overwhelming amount of information, including what kinds of cultural stereotypes that female volunteers may have, and any discrimination that Asian-American volunteers may face. Even though most of these countries are developed enough to have reliable electricity and running water, volunteers there have to be prepared for temperatures down to -40°F in winter and up over 100°F in summer. That is a ridiculous range of temperature extremes. I also wanted to consider places where internet and telephone communication would be available, since my family would absolutely freak out if they couldn't keep tabs on me. Apparently mail isn't very reliable in many countries, and they recommend that families and friends who send letters or packages should also number them, to keep track of what arrives and what doesn't.

I also read through some of the Peace Corps journals where the volunteers were assigned to Community Development had become frustrated about the slow implementation of change or the lack of visible progress in their communities. Amanda (my friend who is currently serving in Micronesia as an english teacher) said that education would probably provide the most structure and resources to vounteers, which is good. I know its selfish of me, but I still want to have regular access to computers and internet, as well as electricity and running water. However, I know that many PCV's live in remote places that are behind in infrastructure and thus their housing accommodations may consist of thatched huts etc.

I just called the San Francisco Reigonal Office to try to find out if they had any Family&Friends sessions coming up. I really want my parents to go to some sort of informational meeting where they can get their concerns about safety, health issues, security, and the long-term benefits of the Peace Corps addressed by someone who's been there and gone through it. Its one thing for me to tell them or for them to read it on a website, but if they were to actually hear it from a returned Volunteer, they might be more convinced. The lady at the SF office said they didn't have anything, so she just referred me to the Northern California Peace Corps group and recommended that I contact them. She also pointed out that many PC parents have blogs to share their experiences with children serving overseas. But I didn't get that many hits when I Googled that, just the website (and what do you know, they don't have any PC parent groups in Pleasanton).


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