Sunday, May 25, 2008

Peace Corps

Yesterday, Andrew and I talked about the Peace Corps. We're basically tossing around the idea of applying to volunteer for next year. To be honest, I really love the idea, and the possibility of learning a language to live and help out people in another country is extremely appealing.

There are some really good benefits for working with the Peace Corps. First, you spend three months training on a language and culture, and then you are placed (usually with a family) in another country to live and work for two years. It's mostly volunteer work. The government pays you a stipend to live off of, based on the cost of living in the country you're sent. Then, after completing the full two years of service, each volunteer is given $6,000.

Also, if you complete your two years in the Peace Corps, it's supposed to be really easy to get a job with the federal government. As long as you meet the qualifications of a position (degree, experience, whatever), you won't have to go through the competitive process for the job for a full year.

Furthermore, Andrew and I would be guaranteed to be placed together if we were accepted. We wouldn't have to worry about being alone. About 9% of Peace Corps volunteers are married, and (apparently) there are some projects in countries they only send married couples to. Hmm.

Of course, there would be a few concerns with leaving. One, I'm used to seeing my parents weekly. Not seeing my family whenever I want to will be very challenging. Two, Bailey's health is always a concern. I couldn't possibly leave her this late in her life. It would kill me to have her get really sick when I'm gone. Perhaps Andrew and I should wait a few more years when we don't have a pet? Also, career/jobs could be a problem. I don't think my company would give me two years leave for the Peace Corps (although I can definitely call on Tuesday and look into it). I've always touched on the idea of working for the federal government because of the benefits, so I could have a job opportunity upon returning. However, it would be a bit intimidating to come back home after 2+ years of being away, and then having to deal with the issue of finding a job.

I'm not sure. A lot of possibilities and worthwhile reasons to join the Peace Corps. A lot of emotional concerns to deal with, too, if we were to apply.

Do any of you know someone who's joined the Peace Corps? What were their experiences like?

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