Pertinent Perspectives on PCV Preparation

Disclaimer: I am not a Peace Corps Recruiter but here are some of my experiences that have helped me as a PCV.

1. Working at an Overnight Summer Camp

I worked at Interlochen Arts Camp for three summers (MISS YOU GUYS!). We were on 24/6. Sometimes we didn’t get days off. PC is 24/7, sure you’re not busy every second of every day. There were emergency situations and lots of logistics to work out. We also made sure to have fun too. Also, PC is like summer camp. Everything is more intense, stress, bad news, romance (can’t speak personally for that one,). Doing mundane tasks. Helping people out. Making people feel welcome. That’s all part of the job. Also, dealing with people. If you do not have decent people skills you may find PC to be a very difficult experience.

2. Going to College Away from Home

I went to school 400 miles away from my house. I couldn’t go home every weekend. I missed lots of family birthdays and other celebrations but I made me make my college town my home. I was spoiled enough at Illinois to have a fantastic Hillel and I never had to worry about where I would go to pray for Rosh Hashanah or where I would eat the Passover Seder. U of I is a strange place because 80% of the students are in-state, and 80% of those are from Chicago and it’s super easy for them to go home regularly during weekends. 

3. Not Being a Picky Eater

Burkina is not known for its enticing culinary delicacies. The food here isn’t bad, but it can be very difficult transitioning from a “foodie” in the US to eating Tô and sauce every night. If you are super picky about food and a lack of variety, it may be difficult.

4. Identify Coping Strategies. Then Identity More Coping Strategies

It’s good to have hobbies that make you happy. For me that’s playing my ukulele and viola, cooking, listening to BBC World Service, sipping tea with your neighbors. If your method of relaxation involves electronics, it might be best to start looking at others.

5. Having Some Sort of Teaching Experience

PC works in capacity building. Simply put, capacity building = teaching. You are teaching someone to do something. You are training a trainer to train others. That is teaching. If you have private lesson experience, tutoring, classroom teaching etc that’s great! PC requires volunteers to come up with multiple strategies for implementing projects and training host country nationals. 

 

 

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