12 Replies Latest reply on Sep 24, 2010 8:20 AM by SLK

    Peace Corps

    Mitch

      I'm looking for others who have participated in Peace Corps (while in later life) to hear more about your personal experience.  This is something I have always wanted to do & would like to hear from others who have done so.  I am 66 & still employed full-time but plan to retire in near future.

      So far, I am just starting my homework on the Peace Corp...To date I have read some materials and attended a Peace Corp Orientation meeting.  Have not completed the application yet.   "Mitch"

        • Re: Peace Corps
          AnnieC
          I was a Peace Corps volunteer in my 30s and there were quite a number of retirees in our "group" and in the country (Nepal)  while I was there. One couple was on their second posting. My observation was that the older volunteers got a lot of respect from their host country colleagues, friends and neighbors--and generally had a great time!  Life expereince can really be an asset in the Peace Corps. The one downside was healthcare. There isn't always very good healthcare in the host country, though PC is pretty quick to send volunteers back to the US for treatment, there is a lot of red tape.  I hope you continue to consider becoming a volunteer.
          • Re: Peace Corps
            RPCV
            Mitch, do you have a second language?  There were several "retirered" in our group in early 80's.  They were great and fit right in with the college grads but after language training none of them were able to capture Spanish to the degree they could stay, they were all reasigned to English speaking countries like Belize.  Have a great time when you are ready to go.
              • Re: Peace Corps
                Mitch

                2nd Language!!  That has always been a challenge for me (Part of the reason for my hesitation to date)!  Although I have advance degrees,  I have always had difficulty with languages.... I have 2 years of high school Spanish (with tutoring required) & 1 semester of college French.  Any advice on an effective language training program?

                  • Re: Peace Corps
                    teryng
                    Many universities have "study abroad" language immersion programs where you go and live with a family in a foreign country and you go to school 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, in a classroom learning environment. Then you go home to your new "family" and use the words and skills that you picked up. There are many of these programs in Latin American countries; my college, USF Tampa, has a program every summer in Costa Rica but you could probably just do a google search for "home stay language programs."
                      • Re: Peace Corps
                        Mitch

                        teryng,

                        Thank you!... This sounds like a really good idea!  I will explore this. MITCH             teryng said...



                        Many universities have "study abroad" language immersion programs where you go and live with a family in a foreign country and you go to school 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, in a classroom learning environment. Then you go home to your new "family" and use the words and skills that you picked up. There are many of these programs in Latin American countries; my college, USF Tampa, has a program every summer in Costa Rica but you could probably just do a google search for "home stay language programs."

                         

                                               

                      • Re: Peace Corps
                        hefenton

                        I had the same problem with foreign languages growing up - Japanese when my dad was stationed there, German while living in Berlin in the mid-60's, Spanish in high school, and, finally, French on my own. I just couldn't get them down. And then I joined the Peace Corps in my late 30's and learned Samoan without too much trouble. The difference? Living the language, being immersed in it day after day. Hearing it from sun up to sun set and into the night.

                        Don't let the fear of learning another langauge put you off. It will come to you. While it may be true that languages get more difficult to learn as we age there are some characteristics, I think, that make some better learners than others: a willingness to make mistakes and an ability to laugh at yourself are two of the most important. Good luck.

                        • Re: Peace Corps
                          peregrina313
                          Hi, Mitch-
                          There is a great company called Amerispan that has connections in countries all through Latin America. They feature homestays and usually 4 hr per day classes, all with 4-1 student teacher ratio or smaller. They are very reasonably priced and would give you a good feel for living in one of the PC countries.  They go anywhere from 2 weeks to months, depending how long you want.  You might want to try something like that before applying, to see if you would like it.
                            • Re: Peace Corps
                              I think Teryng has a good point. My son flunked every language course he ever took and swore that all he had to do was go live in a country and he'd get it. I scoffed until he ended up in (then) Czechoslovakia teaching English in a small town. After a year he was fluent enough to start a business with all the government red tape that required. On the other hand, I'm now in Korea trying to do the same thing when what I really want is a nice textbook complete with grammar charts. Different people learn different ways; we just have to find what's right for ourselves.(I see that this conversation is over a week old. Not sure why I'm just seeing it now. And no one but myself may see this.)
                          • Re: Peace Corps
                            seg101
                            Well, I'd prefer to go to an English speaking country. Do you have any say in your destination?
                          • Re: Peace Corps
                            ngregory

                            I'm currently 65 & still employed full time in So. Calif.  I served from '97 - '00 (stayed 3 years)  when I was 53 in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia and loved it.  I'm considering applying again when I am able to retire.  You may have heard, Peace Corps has a 50+ initiative now & is encouraging more retired people to serve.  We are a valuable asset to Peace Corps & I encourage you to start the application process.  It (sometimes) takes longer for the mature volunteers to "jump thro all the hoops".  You will become part of the Peace Corps community & make wonderful friends. Good luck!
                            • Re: Peace Corps
                              JaniO
                              Mitch, where did you serve?  My husband was in Peru in 1968/69.  We just got back from an incredible 2-wk vacation in Peru (I had never seen the country).  My husband's excellent Spanish skills, gained in PC training, were much admired by the locals.  You may have trained with my husband @ UCLA Berkeley?  The Peace Corp experience was perhaps one of the most formative experiences my husband has had in his life.