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Application: The application is tedious and took me three months to complete. I started right after I graduated from college in May 2011, finished in August, but waited to submit because I wanted a recommendation from City Year in October. The Peace Corps recommends that applicants submit their application exactly a year before they want to leave the country. I was shooting for Fall 2012.

Interview: I interviewed with my recruiter, Lindsay, who is a Ukraine Returned Peace Corps Volunteer on October, 14, 2011. The interview lasted for two and half hours, but was the best interview I’ve ever had. Lindsay told me that she was going to move me onto the nomination process as soon as nominations opened up for English teaching or youth development. I was so happy and at ease that I didn’t have to wait a month to hear if I had made it to the next step or not.

Nomination: I waited, waited, waited and kept in touch with my recruiter. Other applicants ahead of me kept receiving nominations and there was a shortage of positions because of budget cuts. I thought I was going to be pushed to a Winter 2013 or Spring 2013 leave date. I was patient. Then, on January 20, 2012, I randomly heard from my recruiter. She said the Peace Corps received more funding for English teaching positions around the world. She nominated me for a Secondary English Teaching assignment with the Peace Corps located in one of the eight geographic regions, with an anticipated departure date of July-September 2012. SO happy, excited and relieved. I was finally nominated, leaving sooner than I expected and could be ANYWHERE in the world!

Legal Clearance: The Peace Corps looked over my legal paperwork – like speeding and traffic tickets – and cleared me in February.

Medical Evaluation: The Peace Corps mailed me a thick packet of medical and dental forms. I got a bunch of shots, lab tests and my wisdom teeth out all within the month of February. Finally, I sent my packets back to headquarters on February 24, 2012. The Peace Corps received my medical packets on March 12, 2012. On April 19, 2012, I was dentally cleared and the Peace Corps started to look at my medical documents. On April 23, 2012 I got a letter from the Office of Medical Services stating that I have not had my adult polio booster shot. Although my doctor showed them that I am immune, I have to get the booster if I plan to serve overseas. I got the shot on April 24, 2012 and faxed it on over.

Medical Clearance: Medically cleared on May 2, 2012 (about two months after the Office of Medical Services received my information).

Placement: I got an e-mail from a placement specialist on April 17, 2012 asking if I can change my availability date from July 2012 to the end of June. I agreed and she said she would start considering me for programs departing after June 15th and on. I submitted a Peace Corps English Teaching Questionnaire to my placement specialist on April 27, 2012. I submitted my updated resume on April 30, 2012. The Peace Corps must issue an invitation to serve at least eight weeks prior to leaving.

Invitation: My placement specialist sent me an invitation on May 10, 2012. Received it on May 18 and was invited to serve as a school teacher with the Schools and Communities Resource Project in South Africa!

I wrote a blog post pretty much every time something new happened in my application process. To read more, visit the category Liz’s Peace Corps Application Process.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for this. I’m at the early stages of considering putting in a Peace Corps application. Reading your blog is very helpful!

    May 6, 2012
  2. Todd #

    Hi Liz! This is a nice blog you’ve got set up. I’m going to have to make one of my own sooner or later. I’m in a very similar position to you, but I still have no idea when I’m going to leave. I applied towards the end of last summer, had my interview just two days before you did (in NYC), and was nominated on November 30 to leave for an October 2012 program to Sub-Saharan Africa for Secondary English Teaching. I would have been more than willing at that time to accept a much earlier date. I was done with all of my paperwork very quickly and I have been medically and dentally cleared for several months now. On March 22, I received an e-mail asking me to leave for programs in Mid-June. Unfortunately, I’ve been filling in as a long-term leave replacement teacher at a high school since February 1st. It wouldn’t be right for me to leave my students with only a week or two left to go, so I told them that June wouldn’t work, but I would be ready by mid-July. I’m not sure if they are going to be able to get me into a program or if I’ll have the summer off before I leave in the fall. It’s all so exciting, but I can’t wait until I see that update saying they’ve sent me an invitation!

    Best of luck to you.. I’ll comment again if I set up my own blog!

    May 17, 2012
  3. You must be serving now. As a former volunteer, I am sure you are reading more than before. Here are some suggestions-

    Peace Corps Books BY LAWRENCE F. LIHOSIT
    (AKA Lorenzo, Honduras, 1975-1977)
    Available on

    Peace Corps Experience: Write & Publish Your Memoir

    The ultimate “How-To” book for former volunteers & staff who have hesitated to tell their story. The author describes what a memoir is and offers tips on how to write, publish & promote.

    “Tell your Peace Corps story, but first study this book.”
    Robert Klein, PC Oral History Project, Kennedy Library

    Years On and Other Travel Essays

    The author describes how he hitchhiked along bleak Arizona highways, hacked a path through wooded Honduran mountains, avoided caiman while riding bulls in Bolivia and grizzlies as he hunted caribou in bush Alaska, ran for his life after getting involved in Mexican politics and more.

    2011 Peace Corps Writers’ Travel Book Award Recipient

    “The best and rarest of ex-pats: the Yankee gone native.”
    Tony D’Souza, author of Whiteman.

    Peace Corps Chronology; 1961-2010

    Includes all notable activities related to the Peace Corps in an easy-to-read style, in chronological order and lists all volunteers who died during and immediately following service.

    2010 Peace Corps Writers’ Special Publisher Award Nominee

    “This is a very impressive book.”
    John Coyne, Editor of Peace Corps Worldwide.

    South of the Frontera; A Peace Corps Memoir

    Following a job loss, a worn picture postcard ignites adventures leading to the Peace Corps Honduras. This is a vivid and humorous description of Mexico and Central America between 1975 and 1977.

    2011 Recipient of Commendation from U.S. Congressman John Garmamendi (CA, Dem)

    “A classic.”
    Craig Carrozzi, author of The Road to El Dorado.

    Whispering Campaign; Stories from Mesoamerica

    A collection of short stories with telling details- a taxi driver unscrews his license plate bulb before driving, a young American bewitched by a female shaman waving a necklace of dried herbs, the son of a salesman who dispels the curse of guilt, freeing the ghost of remorse and much more.

    2009 Peace Corps Writers’ Maria Thomas Fiction Award Nominee

    “As in Chinatown or Ballad of a Thin Man, they go directly to the gut. The mix is a rich one.”
    Allen W. Fletcher, author of Heat, Sand & Friends.

    February 11, 2013

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