The Peace Corps Process:

March 2009 – Info Meeting at CSU,

May 2009
– I get an email saying that if I submit my application by June 15, I’ll get priority consideration. I have already looked over the application by this point so I decide, why not?!

June 10
– submitted Application and Health Review online, piece of cake. It also helps if you have people who are on top of things write your letters of recommendation.

July 22-
July 28 – recruiter sends me three options to choose from. Peru is at the top of my list.

Aug 3
– A nomination is sent out along with a health packet to start filling out.

– Health screening at Veterans Affairs hospital (it’s free for Peace Corps volunteers here, good luck getting an appointment though, Many VA hospitals are way overworked as an influx of soldiers have started returning. It’s super depressing to see all of these people in line waiting for care. Makes me reconsider health care reform.

October – Finally get my VA appointment. Also find a Peace Corps dentist in my city who gives dental exams for free(find one near you at this site). I find out that I will have to get my wisdom teeth removed at my own expense. I start researching loopholes, cheap ways to do it. There aren’t really any 😦

Nov-December – I start considering whether I really want to incur this great expense to do it, I decide that where there is a will, there is a way! More research. I contact the PC office and tell them my situation. They say to mail in my medical kit and keep my dentist exam requirements until I figure out what to do.

Jan– CSU health office is closed for a good portion so I make no progress

Feb – Have my dentist exam, he said he could removed them but wants me to see an oral surgeon to make sure it will be an easy operation. I call the oral surgeon and my appointment is on March 10. My progress is at a standstill until then!

March 10 – I see an oral surgeon who looks at the giant hole where bone is supposed to be in my jaw. He tells me I have a benign cyst that has been eating away at my jawbone. I’ll need to have it removed along with my 4 wisdom teeth which adds an extra $500 to the operation, bringing it to $1,800. I don’t have health insurance so will be using Care Credit for health expenses. (It’s super easy to get approved for it and zero interest for 6-12 months) After the operation, I wont be able to chew solid food for six weeks while my jaw rebuilds! Peace Aint easy…Pass the smoothie!

March – Meanwhile, the rest of my medical packet is being evaluated by Peace Corps for clearance. Once it gets cleared, I’ll receive an invitation to a specific country! You can get medically cleared while your dental packet is still in process (thankfully!)

March 24 – Medically cleared! My online update says: “A decision has been reached regarding your medical review. Please look for a letter in the mail.”I am frustrated bc I have to wait on snail mail to see what comes next but i get another email from the Education Dept. in D.C. saying that they have received notification of my clearance and will begin looking at my placement. Apparently, two ppl are nominated for each placement (since many ppl change their minds) so I may get put somewhere else. I’m also supposed to send an updated resume with any additional work or volunteer experience.

March 24 – I get an email from the Education office asking for an updated resume and a final transcript if I have it.I sent them an updated resume since I haven’t graduated yet.

April 22– I get asked once again to submit an updated resume, a final transcript and my current address from a different person. I send my resume again along with my current address.

April 27 – I receive an email from the “Health Skills” test asking me more specific questions such as “How have you prepared for the Peace Corps” , “How do you feel about leaving your family”, etc. I send my responses the next day.

April 30 – I never heard back from any of the three people that contacted me for various reasons from the Peace Corps but today I got a “Status Update” notification in my email so I logged into my PC account and it says I’ve officially been nominated to a country….but I have to wait for it to come in the mail. Once I receive it, I have ten days to accept or reject the invite. I’m relieved that a large part of the process is over! I was a little nervous with all of the questions that I was going to have to wait much longer to know where I was going. I’m usually a patient person but I wanted to know if this was all going to work out or not because life is going to happen soon and I need some sort of plan so I wouldn’t be homeless when my lease is up in August! Now…I wait. (in excitement!)

May 3 – I get my invite in the mail. I’m going to Kazakhstan!

May 8 – After reading through the materials, I email Peace Corps and officially accept my invitation. Shortly after I send in my aspiration statement and updated resume to the Kazakhstan office.  I also apply for my Visa and Passport. Words of advice: You won’t know everything you need to for the Visa application. Call the number and they’ll tell you what to leave blank so they can fill it out when they receive it.

May 27 – 8:00 a.m. surgery! Wisdom teeth and cyst are removed from my mouth.  A week later I go for a follow up, my mouth is still sore (mostly from the cyst removal that was eating away at my jaw – I’m really fortunate that the Peace Corps made me remove my wisdom teeth. If i had never done the dental exam, I never would have known there was a cyst eating away at my now paper-thin jawbone!

June – Reading blogs of current Peace Corps volunteers like mad, starting to learn the Russian alphabet! 10 letters down!