January 16, 2014: Application Submitted.
When I applied to the Peace Corps, the application process involved completing an incredibly extensive online application for which I had to relay information about ALL of my volunteer/professional experiences, answer questions about my health history, provide three references, submit information about my student loans, and complete three short-essay questions. It took me about 3 weeks to complete the application to my satisfaction. In July 2014, the application process was overhauled so it now only takes only about 1 hour to complete.
January 29th, 2014: Granted an interview.
February 7th, 2014: Interview with Penn State’s Peace Corps Recruiter.
The interview with the Penn State Peace Corps recruiter was very casual and lasted about 1 hour. I was asked about my interest in the Peace Corps, about past experiences/skills that I thought would be help me in the Peace Corps, and finally I was given some scenarios to talk through. The interview is meant to be an opportunity for the recruiter to learn more about you, and for you to learn more about what types of things you will experience in selected to serve. At the conclusion of the interview I was able to ask some questions, and was told that I would be nominated to the next step of the application process.
March 21, 2014: Received Medical Request for further information about my allergies/asthma
March 25, 2014: Received nomination from Regional Recruiter for the Education Sector
Beginning of April: Received Legal Kit in the Mail
April 11, 2014: Legal Kit (fingerprints) received by the Peace Corps
June 16, 2014: Submitted further Asthma/Allergy medical forms to the Peace Corps Medical Office
August 5, 2014: Received Medical Pre-Clearance
This same day, I also received a call from a new Peace Corps placement officer who asked if I was still interested in Central/South America. He had something departing around May that he thought I would be qualified for, and so he said he would get back to me soon with something.
August 26th, 2014: “Placed under consideration” for a Community Based Environmental Educator Position in Peru
The email said I would be notified either way by January 15th, 2015, and if invited to serve, I would leave in May of 2015. While this meant a lot more waiting, I was happy to have a definitive date by which I would know my fate.
September-December: Lots of waiting with no contact from anyone in the Peace Corps. This was a very stressful time full of self-doubt, sadness, and questioning my life.
December 31, 2014: Received a message from the PC Medical Office requesting a meeting over the phone.
January 2, 2015: Phone call with my Peace Corps Nurse
During the interview, the nurse assigned to my application told me that I was going to receive an invitation for service (I got really excited). However, before I could receive my invitation to serve I had to write a brief statement acknowledging that I am aware of and fine with serving in areas that could trigger my allergies/asthma (I was more than happy to write up a quick message and submit it to the medical office).
January 2, 2015: Received my invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru.
I was ecstatic when I received my invitation e-mail. I immediately told my family and three of my best college friends (Charles Carmichael, ….., and …..).
January 6, 2015: Accepted my invitation to serve and made it #Facebookofficial
Immediately upon accepting my invitation, I was bombarded with medical/dental forms to complete as well as many PDFs and files to read.
January 7 – February 12, 2015: Completed/submitted medical, dental, and legal tasks
Medical tasks: physical exam, boosters to normal vaccines, yellow fever vaccine, blood tests, etc.
Dental tasks: full dental exam with x-rays. (I got my first cavities ever and had to get 2 fillings)
Legal tasks: Submit passport/visa application, complete online training and forms for the Peace Corps
February 13, 2015: Official Peace Corps Final Medical Clearance!
Mid-February, 2015: Joined the Peace Corps Peru 25 Facebook group and started talking to the other volunteers in my cohort
Mid-March, 2015: Started using Duolingo with my fellow volunteers to practice my Spanish.
April 6, 2015: Received Staging Email with travel details to DC and our flight information to Peru!
April 22, 2015: Language Proficiency Interview with PC Peru Staffperson
April 23 – 28, 2015: Visited a college friend in California.
April 30 – May 3, 2015: Visited family in Ithaca, NY before departure.
May 3 – 5, 2015: Final preparations before departure.
I packed, unpacked, and repacked several times over these few days.
May 6, 2015: Departure for Peace Corps Perú staging in Washington D.C.
My dad and my sister drove me to the staging location in Washington D.C. and we had a heartfelt goodbye before I checked my belongings and went ahead to meet some of my fellow Peace Corps Perú trainees. Staging is an event that is basically a preparation for departure to Peace Corps service. We did some activities to get to know each other, filled out some paperwork