First step in the process is sending in the application, which might seem fairly easy, however, the document is about 10 web pages full of information that needs to be filled out. Some of it is easy and only requires you to fill in personal information, while some of the questions are more in depth seeking longer answers or more exhaustive lists, such as work history, volunteer experience, and skill experiences. The end of the application is two essays which are relatively tiny by college standards but provide the first and only real chance to put down into your own words why you want to join the Peace Corps and how you feel you are qualified.
After the application has been reviewed and accepted as complete you are scheduled for an interview. During the interview the recruiter tried to get to know me as best he could and made sure to inform me of the application process where I stood in the process and how I ranked as an applicant compared to others. Some of the basic questions that he asked were to name experiences I have had working in an unstructured environment, my experiences working with people who had differences from me and how I handled that situation, my preferences for my assignment, geographically and skill area. Lastly the questions were aimed to establish my suitability as a candidate from my personal life issues, such as relationship status, financial and legal obligations, and any food allergies or preferences.
Nomination is the next step and is usually a general geographic area, such as Eastern Europe in my case, a general field of work, English teaching, and a estimated date of departure, which for me is June 2011. The nomination is not set in stone and even if I pass all of the other steps in the process I could still end up with an assignment which does not match up the one I was first nominated for. This is because of the of the....
Evaluation. After being nominated another Peace Corps worker other than my Peace Corps recruiter reviews my file with my application, my recruiters notes and the assignment I was nominated for. Using this information they establish whether or not I am acceptable for the position I was nominated to and if they decide I am not they can either decide to decline my application or give me another assignment which they believe I am better suited for. All of this occurs while I undergo the next step...
Legal and medical review. The legal review is basically a background check and also a financial check ensuring that I do not have any outstanding warrants or the like, and neither am I trying to evade debt by applying to the Peace Corps. So for me this part of the process is virtually nonexistent. The medical review, however, is not nearly as easy, involving a thorough medical checkup with a large amount of paperwork to be signed and completed by my doctor and dentist insuring my present health before volunteer service. Any medical complications that come to light from the review will not necessarily disqualify me, just limit my options of where I would be placed to accommodate my specific disabilities. Luckily for me I dont expect any surprises so hopefully this step will be soon be just as forgotten as the legal review.
After enduring all of the hardship described above the only thing left is to agonizingly wait for the Peace Corps to send the official invitation. The invitation will be specific to the region within the country I will be serving, the exact date of departure, an in depth description of the job I will be asked to perform and various other necessary information to keep me well informed and to prepare thoroughly for staging, which is the last step before boarding the plane and occurs in an American city with other Peace Corps Volunteers who are assigned to the same country and allows for all of us to get to know each other before leaving our American culture behind to train for three months in the assigned country...but I'll describe all of that (fingers crossed) when I receive a formal invitation.
Ok. Now that that is out of the way, back to what I was saying, nominated for Eastern Europe sets me up for six possible countries: Albania, Moldova, Macedonia, Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria. Even though there is always a possibility that the assignment I was nominated for might not be the one I am invited to, I am very excited. Mostly because Eastern Europe was my preference, English teaching was my preference and June 2011 was my preference. So basically, at the present moment, I have the best assignment I could have asked for and I am very excited.