My Application and Preparation Process:
2012: I attended an FFA summer camp in Washington D.C. During our visit to the USDA building, I listened to a employee present about her Peace Corps service as an agriculture volunteer. Instantly, I was hooked on the idea of Peace Corps.
July 2015: Signed up to be a Peace Corps campus ambassador. Through this program I met three wonderful volunteers who helped me learn so much about Peace Corps.I was a campus ambassador for the entire 2015-2016 school year at my university. I was asked back to the program but declined since I would be graduating in the middle of the school year.
Read more about the Peace Corps campus ambassador program here: https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/university-programs/campus-ambassadors/
April/May 2016: Browsing on the Peace Corps website, I came across the listing for Armenia. What immediately struck me was the opportunity to receive a TEFL certificate while serving.
May/June 2016: I spoke to my recruiter about the TEFL certificate and another volunteer who received her certificate. I researched other Peace Corps openings and began working on my resume and application. I spent SO MANY hours on my resume. I must have read it hundreds of times. At this point, I was unsure I would even be a candidate. I felt inexperienced but I really liked the Armenia position and since the deadline was in July, I figured if I got rejected, I could reapply for the October deadline. I also began AmeriCorps and graduate school applications. I told myself I would be just as happy with those, but I wanted Peace Corps more than anything.
July 2016: I turned my application in a few days before leaving for China. While I was in China, I found out I had an interview for Armenia. Yay! I was so happy but also nervous because I had to put off my interview until I arrived back in the U.S. due to bad Chinese internet connection. I was worried that they would fill the positions before I got back. When I got back, I did my interview.
August 2016: I got the email that changed my life! I cried and cried. I was so happy and honored to be chosen to serve.
September 2016: And then the not so fun part came. Medical tasks, passport applications, finger printing and background checks. It’s intense. At times, I felt like I had so many Peace Corps related things to do that I didn’t know where to start or how to balance it with school. If you are still in college right before your service, I would recommend taking a light course load your last semester because you will basically have another job or another class worth of stuff to do.
October/November 2016: I received medical and legal clearance and started to do more research about Armenia and also stalking current volunteers on social media. I also began buying things like my luggage that I would need to take with me.
December 2016: Online classes for TEFL certificate began. Also incoming volunteers are assigned ‘pen pals’ (volunteers currently in Armenia) to talk to about service. My pen pals were amazing and have answered probably a thousand questions. Bless them.
March 2017: I departed to staging in D.C. and then a few days later to Armenia!
April/May 2017: I completed my Pre Service Training and learning the Armenian language as well as how to teach English.
June 2017: I swore in as a Peace Corps volunteer and moved to my permanent site.
June, July, August 2017: This was the summer that wouldn’t end. After moving to site, TEFL volunteers have relatively little to do. I started clubs to fill the time until September, until the heat got to be too much to teach in. We also continued to take Armenian language lessons over skype two times a week.
September 2017: The start of school! At this point I felt like I had waited forever and ever to finally be in the classroom teaching.