Well, hello there! 🙂 So this is me blogging! I am very apprehensive about blogs but I really want to document my journey in the Peace Corps, so I figured it would be a good idea to start here! Also, Tyler has to do a blog for class while he is abroad so I figured it would be a good place for us both to be… anywho.
My story is this, my name is Amber and I have wanted to do the Peace Corps ever since my best friend Allison and I had talked about it in high school. Of course, it feels like yesterday and throughout time other obstacles and opportunities have appeared- marriage, graduate school etc. etc. But the want to be abroad and serve as a volunteer in the Peace Corps has always been there. Of course, throughout the ups and downs of the process, my desire as waned… as I worry about how my life will change or think about the changes I made when I moved to D.C. and how I don’t want to be uncomfortable again. But here I am, at the very* cusp of leaving…
I think a good place for me to start is the beginning… well of the application process, I’ll include Tyler’s as well so it is a but more cohesive. If it seems a bit cheesy at places I apologize, the Peace Corps process has been really integrated into mine and Tyler’s story as well. Here we go…
Did some research and found that the Peace Corps is generally for those who have an undergraduate degree… okay, so college, here I come :0)
Tyler and I met in an RA (Resident Assistant) meeting… he was wearing a Hillary Clinton shirt, which I thought was interesting and we chatted, I welcomed him to the Teter staff (again**– he had been an RA the year before) and that was that.
-Realized that going abroad and graduating on time was still a possibility!!! I had been taking Spanish, so Spain seemed like a great option! I wrote in my essay for my application that I thought going abroad would really help me for when I applied to the Peace Corps. Being able to have experience abroad, in a country where I didn’t know the language, and had to adjust both culturally and with language could be very beneficial!! (Also- Obama was elected 🙂 — thought Id throw that in there)
-Tyler turned in his first Peace Corps application.
-I applied for my first passport!!!
–Tyler had his first interview for the Peace Corps
This is about the time where we really began bonding over the idea of the Peace Corps. What kind of opportunities it brings, the chance of a lifetime- really- no other program like it.
Tyler finds out that because we are in a recession and the number of Peace Corps applications is at an all time high, that the program that he was qualified for, was full. Hooray*
-Working on my application– we called the recruiter that Tyler had been in touch with to see what the opportunities would be to be able to into service together. Finished my first application* and began to prepare to go abroad to Spain as Tyler prepared to go to Washington, D.C. to start his AmeriCorps service with Habitat for Humanity.
-We were informed that a couple has to be married for a year before they can join the Peace Corps as a couple.
-Ultimately, we are committed to one another, completely*. There is no doubt in our minds that with one another is where we are supposed to be… so what will the plan look like from here on out? What will we do for a year?
This is where many people might say- wait* you have only known each other for a year? How do you know? OR, wow you are really young to get married! You have the rest of your life! OR* other things that people have said…I am sure that we have heard them all. But this is where, I take the advice of those that have come before me- live life to its fullest, never second guess your instincts or even, don’t shoot yourself in the foot. When you have something that you feel is right* go forward with it. Of course, many have attributed this to my idealism but when you have a plan* you have a plan.
– my application is put on hold
-Tyler and I decide that graduate school is the best way to spend a year of living in limbo- the Master’s International Program with the Peace Corps is a way to do both graduate school and the Peace Corps. Generally, a student gets accepted into a graduate program, then applies to the Peace Corps and sends their acceptance letter to the PC. After a year or so of graduate school, then the PC service can count towards the degree … I am still trying to figure out some things- but here is the link…http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whyvol.eduben.mastersint
-Back to Indiana and time to take the GRE and pump out graduate school applications. I decide to apply to some online programs in Education and Tyler opts for public policy. We apply to schools in Washington, DC, Georgia and of course Indiana University.
We find out the schools we are accepted into and decide that George Mason is the best place for us and we will be living in Washington, DC.
We find out that our Peace Corps applications cannot be more than 2 years old by the time we leave- we have to entirely redo our applications and get them in as soon as possible.
We finish our applications for the second time around! Nothing can be moved forward until we are married.
Finally in DC! I will be working at George Mason in the Office of Student Involvement as a Graduate Assistant and Tyler will be working for the Environmental Protection Agency as a Budget Analyst.
Married! 🙂 In our first semester of graduate school and we send along our marriage certificate to the Peace Corps!
Waiting for a response…
-We have a contact! Our interview will be January 3 of 2011!
-Also at this time, I changed graduate programs– which could affect the process of the Peace Corps.
We are nominated! Time for the medical process!
After a lot of appointments, shots and bruised forearms- medical process is finished!!
WE HAVE BEEN MEDICALLY CLEARED!!!!!!
Final interview… we have been told that we will be leaving in March of 2012
-we receive our packet and begin to make preparations to stay another six months in D.C.
After some Arabic classes, a full semester of Graduate School, and a six- month lease, this is where we are today! Preparing for Christmas and New Years… spending a couple of months at home! It has been a long process but we are here and we are in it to win it! We are looking forward to the impending changes…*the VAST* changes that we will make… but we are in it together. It has seemed like a long process… with a LOT* 0f questioning (especially on my part) of whether this is the right thing to do… and although I don’t think I will ever know the answer to that question (if someone does- please let me know), it is important that right now we keep an open mind and cherish the moments that we have with friends and family. 🙂 2012… here we come!
p.s. I will try to make future posts a little more entertaining– this one is mainly to build a solid base! 🙂
Here is a joke for the mean time…
Why did the fifteen year old stay home from school?
-Because she had Bieber fever!! (thank you, Dana Rosenberg for that joke!!) 🙂