In the beginning of 2015 as I was nearing the end of graduate school, I thought BIG picture and asked myself, “What type of life do I want to live 5 years from now?” “10 years from now?” These questions prompted me to think critically and wrestle in deep, emotional, and vulnerable prayers to God.
Life as we know it is scripted – you are born, go to school, graduate, find a job, get married, have children, and blah blah blah blah you know the rest. I didn’t want this to be me, life is supposed to be an adventure lived to the FULL!
Working international has always been a desire of mine and knew the possibilities were endless if I dedicated the time to do some research. So that’s what I did, I researched different programs – teaching abroad, fellowships, and possible PHD programs.
I first heard about the Peace Corps sometime in grade school. I think I saw a commercial on television advertising it and assumed it was specifically for old people and thought maybe I could do that when I got older, not sure how I conceptualized ‘old’ back then, haha!
Sometime in the winter of ’14 my friend Syreeta told me that her supervisor at her internship served in the PC and went to the Philippines! I was caught off guard because I didn’t know there were opportunities for social workers in the PC (*cough cough side note: Syreeta’s a punk and was supposed to apply with me*). Around the same time, my other friend Faye was preparing her life to serve summer 2015 in Fiji through the PC. After graduating from PLU in 2011 I desperately wanted to apply but knew the timing wasn’t right, maybe now was my chance.
As I scooped out the Peace Corps website I was immediately drawn to their values – recognizing the individual differences of others, embracing cultural diversity, confronting social injustice, and empowering others these are values I cherish and hold dear to my heart. Immediately I knew this would be the perfect program for me and knew I couldn’t pass this opportunity up!
As I sought out advice about ‘plans after grad school’ I quickly realized I was being influenced by too many voices. So I decided to ask God for direction – I prayed specifically in my conversations with people if someone brought up their experiences serving abroad (without my prompting of course) I would go ahead and apply to the Peace Corps. And here we are today. This is a dream come true and I couldn’t do it without God and His incredible blessings.
April 2015 – Started the Peace Corps Application
End of May 2015 – Completed Application. Placed under consideration for Mongolia departing May 2016.
June 25, 2015 – Interview
August 2015 – Received an email from the Placement Specialist letting me know that Mongolia decided to cancel their Youth Development request.
August 2015 – Placed under consideration for Swaziland, Africa.
October 2, 2015 – Invited to serve as a Youth Development Volunteer in Swaziland!
November 2015 – Mailed in my legal kit and passport photos/application.
November 2015 – Reached out to other PCV’s (Peace Corps Volunteers) through social media.
November 27, 2015 – Medical and dental tasks uploaded to the Portal.
February 2016 – Medical tasks completed.
February 11, 2016 – Medically cleared!
February 2016 – Wrote myself a letter to help me in my moments of despair, isolation, and the times when I’m homesick while I’m abroad.
April 21, 2016 – Conference Call
May 18, 2016 – Booked travel to Philadelphia for Staging
June 13, 2016 – Depart to Philadelphia
June 14, 2016 – Peace Corps Staging/Orientation
June 15, 2016 – Shuttle to NYC for a nonstop flight to Johannesburg. Then drive to Swaziland and start Pre Service Training.