Peace Corps: Interview

I had my Peace Corps interview today. It went well. I've been nervous during the past week but I felt amazingly comfortable during the interview. It helped that I recognized the recruiter from an information session I attended last fall. She was very nice, engaging, and helpful and I think that I nailed most of the questions—even if I did ramble a bit.

To anyone applying to the Peace Corps: check out the PeaceCorps2 Yahoo Group and Peace Corps for Women (Live Journal) for a list of interview questions and other helpful information. Most of my interview questions were the same ones listed on those sites--a lot of questions about past experiences of working with difficult people and in difficult situations, leadership experience and experience working in an unstructured environment. It also helped to have a list of prepared questions for the recruiter to show them that you've done your homework and are eager to learn and prepare.

I've been unofficially nominated for Latin American for Environmental Education with a departure date of January or February. It is unofficial because I don't meet the Spanish language requirements and the recruiter will have to double-check with the placement office to make sure that they will accept me as long as I gain solid Spanish skills before I leave. I'll find out my nomination for sure by the end of the week!

I really wanted to get Latin America, but I've tried to temper my hope of such a placement after being told by so many people that it is almost impossible to get Latin America without a Spanish language background. So, I became set on Africa and the possibility of learning French. But now there is hope which is nice. As I told my recruiter, as long as I'm not in a cold climate, I'll be happy wherever I'm sent (and even then, I can just buy a warm coat). I'll just be extra happy if I'm in a Spanish speaking country.

Assuming that I get the nomination, I'll need to sign up for some Spanish classes and request a series of medical and dental appointments to ensure that all the health paperwork is completed. I've heard horror stories about the health review taking several months and costing hundreds of dollars even for folks with insurance ($15 co-pay per visit really can really add up if you have to make 10 visits to get all the tests done and forms completed).

Thereafter, I'll await an invitation from the placement office. The invitation will let me know exactly where and when I'm departing—though it can always change. Assuming that I get all my paperwork in on time and I am cleared for service, the invitation will probably come in the fall.

I'm so happy that I've reach the next step in the Peace Corps application process, and I look forward to all the other hoops I'll have to jump through before I depart.


Anonymous said...

Hi- I have an interview soon, how long after the interview did you find out you were nominated for a country?

Hippo Q. said...

After my interview, it took no more than 1 week to get my nomination for a particular month (Jan-Feb), region (latin america) and field (env. education). I think that the turn-around is longer during other application periods--e.g., the fall when lots of college seniors apply.

You don't find out more specifics, i.e., your country and departure date, until you get an invitation (after the medical and legal review).

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just came across this page!

I had my interview last week, and was notified at my interview that I would be nominated :) I also got (vague) details about two different programs (region and tentative departure date), and got to choose the one I preferred. I received the official nomination in the mail a few days later (along with all those dreaded medical forms ugh ;)

Hippo Q. said...

That's very exciting. Good luck with the medical review. It can be a very long and tedious process. I can remember my doctor getting aggravated with all of the forms he had to fill out. But Peace Corps has to be sure that you are physically able to serve and it is always heplpful to know what's going on with your body as well. For example, I learned that I needed to decrease my cholesterol and take vitamin D supplements. So it is worth it!

Anonymous said...

Hi, so did you get into the PC?

Hippo Q. said...

I was nominated but not invited (as I didn't send in my medical forms--though they were complete). After Obama won the election, I decided to put Peace Corps aside so that I could stay on the Hill and be a part of effecting change here.

Peace Corps is still on my list, though maybe not until after I retire.

If you are thinking about Peace Corps, I say go for it. My RPCV roommates and friends all had life-changing experiences as volunteers.

Anonymous said...

weird question, but was there a drug test?

Hippo Q. said...

When I applied in 2008, there was no drug test. But I don't know if that has changed. Good luck!