Here are just a few of the questions I’ve been asked since I’ve announced I was accepted into the Peace Corps.
Where are you going?
I will be serving in Indonesia.
What are you still doing here/when do you leave?
I don’t depart until March 9, 2017. The Peace Corps gives you a long time to prepare your life to be gone for such an extended period of time. I first will fly to Los Angeles, California and will leave for Surabaya, Indonesia from there. After arriving in Surabaya, I will then travel to Kediri, Indonesia where I will be for my PST.
How long will you be gone?
My program lasts about 27 months. I leave March 9, 2017 and return May/June 2019. (Unless I decided to stay for a 3rd year, we’ll see!)
So what exactly will you be doing?
I will be teaching English in a middle or high school.
Where in the world is Indonesia?
Indonesia is a country in the made up completely of volcanic islands located in between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It’s south of countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It’s the world’s largest island country, with more that 13,000 islands. It’s also the world’s 4th most populous country.
If there’s over 13,000 islands, where will you be?
My assignment will be on the main island of Java. Java is the geographic and economic center of Indonesia. It contains the country’s capital, Jakarta. Java is situated in between the islands of Bali and Sumatra. As of now, I don’t know exactly what city I will be living in. I will find that out after I’m already in Indonesia.
Did you choose Indonesia as your country of service?
No, I did not specifically choose Indonesia. When applying to the Peace Corps, you choose a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice for the countries you’d like to serve in. I chose Costa Rica as my first choice, and for my second and third choices, I chose the option saying I would serve anywhere in the world that I was need as long as I would get to teach English.
What’s the weather like there?
Indonesia has two seasons; wet and dry. I won’t get seasons like winter and fall. The average temperature throughout the year is 28 C (or about 82 F). The dry season lasts from about May to September and the wet season is from October to April.
Do you get paid?
Technically, I do. But not in the way that you might be thinking. I will receive a monthly stipend, but it will only be a living allowance (aka food, housing, etc). I will be paid similar to that of my local counterparts, so I will be living within the same means as them.
Where will you live?
I will be living with a host family for the entirety of my service. I don’t know where that will be until after I’m sworn in as a volunteer. After that, I will receive my site placement and have more information on that.
Do you just get thrown in right away and start teaching?
Luckily, no. I have a 10-week training prior to the actual start of my service. This period is called PST, or Pre-Service Training. During this time, I will be placed with a temporary host family and will be receiving TEFL, cultural, as well as extensive language training.
Why did you decide to join the Peace Corps?
In 2013, I spent a week in Nicaragua with my community college. While we were there, we were teaching English to kids who’s parents worked on the coffee farm/eco-lodge where we stayed. It was a program called Outreach 360 (I would highly recommend for anyone interested). That experience motivated me into seriously consider joining the Peace Corps.
So…..what actually is the Peace Corps?
The Peace Corps began on March 01, 1961 as an international service organization through the United States. The concept of the program was actually first discussed by John F. Kennedy on the steps of the University of Michigan Union in Ann Arbor on October 14, 1960. (GO BLUE!) Peace Corps has been present in 141 countries and over 220,000 volunteers have served. (Over 2,200 of those volunteers have been University of Michigan Alumi!) Peace Corps sends Americans abroad to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level toward sustainable change that lives on long after service ends—at the same time becoming global citizens and serving their country. The work they do is generally related to economic or social development. The Peace Corps mission to promote world peace and friendship is fulfilled with three goals:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served
- To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans