As I was casually making dinner, I received an email from a Peace Corps placement specialist. I saw “Peace Corps” in the subject headline on my BlackBerry and jumped up and down. I’ve been waiting to hear something from headquarters — something, just anything! My application status online still says that the Office of Medical Services received my medical paperwork, but the status hasn’t changed to say that my medical documents are “currently being reviewed.” Usually, a nominee hears from placement after they have been medically cleared.
The placement specialist wanted to know if I could change my availability date from July 2012 to the end of June:
My reply? Of course!!! We graduate from City Year on June 8th. I said the earliest I could leave was June 15th to at least have a week to prepare. I’m in disbelief that I might only have a week to say goodbyes, pack and move out of my house in Los Angeles (the pure art of being flexible!)
As a former journalist, I know some good Internet stalking techniques. A lot of Peace Corps applicants, nominees and volunteers use the Peace Corps Wiki Website to post about anything and everything Peace Corps. The Website has a list of previous invitation departure dates and 2012 departure dates that nominees have already been invited to.
The only two at the end of June I qualify for as a secondary English teacher are in West Africa: The Gambia and Benin. I’ll be honest, I know next to nothing about these countries, but The Gambia is close to Senegal. I wrote one of my Peace Corps application essays on a family from Senegal I reported and wrote about during college; it was one of my favorite college journalism stories I reported! One of the programs leaves on my 23rd birthday, June 26th, and the other one leaves the day after. Fate? Maybe so, because it seems like this whole process has been fate!
Disclaimer: I still have to get medically cleared before I move onto this placement process. I know nothing is wrong with me medically, but there’s a chance I could have made a mistake when filling out the documents (although I looked over it at least 10 times before sending it).
Soooo… Will West Africa be my new home? Maybe, maybe not. The information I found online about programs departing in late June doesn’t mean those are the only programs that I could be considered for.
I cannot wait to find out where I will be! I hope the end is near!
-Ms. Warden, the soon to be secondary English teacher