The timeline of my Peace Corps application

October 2013: I realized that Marseille was wonderful and magical and I needed something beyond it.  I had thought about applying to the Peace Corps before, but having just gone through an intercontinental move entirely on my own, I realized that I had underestimated my own power.

October-December 2013: Gather materials, write, rewrite essays, and fill out forms for my application.

January 2014: Turn everything in.

February 2014: I got an interview!  Schedule and prep, voraciously scouring the Peace Corps wiki for sample interview questions.  Check them out, here.

March 11, 2014: Interview over videochat with recruiter, assigned to me at random.  Turned out she had seen me speak about teaching in France at a teleconference at Pitt two months before– small world! The connection kept popping in and out, but at the end she offered me a list of countries for which I was eligible.  I picked Lesotho first, which departed in the summer.  She nominated me on the spot, but the program filled up the next day, before my nomination could be considered.  Indonesia it was!

late March, 2014: get fingerprints taken at the city Commisariat (police station) for the FBI background check.  They take pity on me and do them on the spot, for free.  Thanking my lucky stars.

June 2014: Curious to hear about the progress of my application, I send a note to the recruiter with the shortlist of why I am a great candidate for Indonesia specifically.

August 2, 2014: I receive my acceptance e-mail!

August 20, 2014: Appointment at the US consulate in Marseille, where I turn in my passport and visa documents.

September 15, 2014 – December 2014: Fill out my medical portfolio.  Again, thanking my lucky stars for living in France, where I have medical insurance that covers nearly all of this.  The only drawback is that I had to translate every document into French, then guide the doctors, gynecologist, dentist, and lab technicians through the documents to be filled out in English.  Lab results translated back into English for the Peace Corps, too.  Get that checked and approved by an official translator.

There were a few issues with my medical portfolio, so I was very glad I started early.

December 18, 2014: My passport documents were stamped incorrectly in France, which I find out in late November.  I have returned to the US and try (3 times) to get them filed correctly.  Turns out you just need to go to a Post Office, BUT BRING ANY INSTRUCTIONS THE PEACE CORPS GIVES YOU.  The first post office I visited, the clerk refused to believe that she could give me the signed and stamped envelope to be sent through FedEx.  The second one, I was prepared with printouts of my acceptance letter, Peace Corps’ instructions for mailing the passport and visa documents, including a phone number of someone at the Peace Corps Headquarters who could confirm this information.

January – February 2015: Assemble my bags, again voraciously scouring the packing lists of previous Indonesia volunteers, general packing lists on the Peace Corps wiki, and taking advantage of the Peace Corps discounts!

mid-February 2015: Conference call about departure with Peace Corps Indonesia officials and other prospective ID9 volunteers.

March 16, 2015: Staging conference in LA.  I had no problem having SWTSato Travel fly me from Boston, rather than my home of record.  I may have gotten lucky, but it was definitely worth a try.

March 17, 2015: Depart for Surabaya, via LA-Narita (Tokyo), Narita-Changi (Singapore), Changi-Surabaya.

March 19th: 2015: Arrive in Surabaya.  Begin Pre-Service Training!


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