Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
These days my life, I feel it has no purpose
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface
welpidunno submitted: Peace Corps question! Your FAQ is amazing, by the way. My older sister is considering applying for Peace Corps, but she has a complete deadly fear of snakes. I know most places you could be stationed would have snakes, though not all places. Do you have an idea of how accommodating Peace Corps would be to a severe phobia of the kind? Should she not even bother applying, or go the difficult way and be hardset on certain countries that have fewer snakes?
I think if your sister is determined to be in the Peace Corps, she needs to definitely be aware of the fact that her phobia will narrow her placement to only certain countries. I’m not sure how accommodating Peace Corps is to phobias, though I do know they try their best to accomodate for health/physical issues.
If she is serious about volunteering, she should be honest with recruiters. Although, I will be honest with you, they may see her phobia as a sign that she may not be completely suited for this kind of work.
It is always more difficult to be placed when you are picky about your placement, there is no way around that. However, there are several countries where I imagine snakes would not be as common (such as Eastern Europe, etc.) Then again, there are snakes even here in North America.
I wish your sister luck and I hope that things work out the best for her.
rovert submitted: I wanted to thank you for all the information you have about the Peace Corps, especially the interview section under the PC FAQ's. It was tremendously helpful! I had my interview yesterday, and I on my way to becoming an English teacher.
Thank you so much!
I’m really glad to hear you’re on your way to becoming a volunteer. That is incredibly wonderful! Good luck with everything!
crackcohcaine submitted: This is another question, but as I was going through your FAQ I came across medication, and I also came across the diet. You said that Ghana, specifically, had a diet that sort of lacked protein. Would you say that bringing protein supplement pills could possibly be an alternative to getting the recommended amount of protein?
Yes, definitely. A lot of volunteers had supplement pills like that, also protein powders they mixed into drinks. The doctors on staff are definitely helpful when it comes to things like that: suggesting alternative ways to keep a proper diet. I know for me, I felt like I was very low on iron- was tired, unfocused, etc. I went for some tests and they gave me some iron pills.
crackcohcaine submitted: I have two questions. Neither of them are really related in any way. I'm a senior in high school, so I still have a while to go and decide. 1) How was learning the language? Was it difficult? If I learned a specific language (say, like, Malagasy) would they send me to Madagascar if they could, simply because I knew the language? I read that's the case with a lot of Spanish speaking volunteers. 2) I am a vegetarian (as of right now, anyway). Will that interfere greatly with my chances of going?
Learning the language was not that difficult for me, though I’ve learned a few languages before so the process of learning a language was not new to me. I think it definitely depends on what language you have to learn, some are easier to learn than others. I would definitely not suggest that you learn a specific language in order to get sent to a country. For one thing, there is no guarantee which country you will be sent to based on your language skills. Sometimes French speaking volunteers are sent to non-French speaking countries. A lot of it depends on deployment dates and type of volunteer positions available. Additionally, in the Peace Corps you normally learn the language most widely spoken in your community. THIS MAY NOT BE THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE. For example, in Ghana there are over 60 languages spoken throughout the country. If you really want to learn Malagasy to learn it, then fine, but otherwise I’d say it’s a waste of time. Spanish volunteers are a special case because Peace Corps prefers them to be fluent. Again, local dialects will be learned once arrival but having fluency in Spanish is very important to those volunteer positions.
Being a vegetarian will not harm your chances. I knew many volunteers in my program. During interviews they will likely ask you about your eating habits (among many other things) and mostly they just want to make sure that you are aware that there will definitely be a change in your diet, wherever you end up placed. Some countries are more suitable for vegetarians and some are not. Also some cultures are very insensitive to vegetarians and may take offense to vegetarians while some may not. Again, it all depends.
iamnotgrammaticallycorrect-deac submitted: Hi! So (as you know) I just got placed, and I'm aware my location is probably incredibly different from where you were placed, but I'm just curious. What were your major safety and security concerns while you were volunteering? My mom is completely freaking out (which is understandable) but I would like some actual perspective. How often did you feel unsafe? How often would you say you were actually unsafe? Like I said, I'm sure Ghana and Guinea are incredibly different, but anything would help!
Yay! I am excited for you!
Safety concerns for me were pretty minimal. I did have a few incidents but my community was pretty good at taking care of me, and I reported it to our safety director and he took care of me as well.
Concerns were mostly about men. As a single white female I gained a lot of unwanted male attention. They would come to my house and bother me and Ghanaian men are very touchy. Obviously not all isolated incidents are something that Peace Corps is going to help with, but it’s something to be aware of when on your own. As far as repeated incidents, that’s when I got Peace Corps involved. Also common sense is always key, when in an uncomfortable situation, try to remove yourself from it. For me, I would go to another volunteer’s site and make sure that I was taken care of. I only had to do this twice (a guy kept coming to my house), and after Peace Corps was involved I felt secure for the remainder of my service. Because this is typical of the culture of Ghana, Peace Corps really had to step in to help with the situation. My counterpart was also helpful.
Other than these few incidents, I felt very safe in Ghana. It is a very welcoming country and everyone there is very nice.
I guess other safety concerns would be about transportation and things like that, but that’s pretty common in third world countries. I would definitely suggest looking to current/former Guinea volunteers to see how safe they felt in country. I know there’s a facebook group for Guinea volunteers.
Hope this helped!