15 Replies Latest reply on Jan 31, 2014 1:27 PM by Fiji

    Peace Corps

    MaryCarol
      So I'm a Peace Corps Volunteer...66 years old, a retired teacher, widowed two years ago.....and writing this from Indonesia.  I'm in the midst of an amazing adventure and I thought I would reach out to some of you other retired teachers who might be interested in learning more about how Peace Corps is actively recruiting folks like us.....I'm teaching English as a Foreign Language in a public madrasah and living with a wonderful Indonesian family.  My fellow Volunteers are mostly 20-somethings, but everyone of them is awesome!  
      So this is an invitation to chat if you're interested.  Sampai jumpa!  (Means "until later" in Indonesian!)
        • Re: Peace Corps
          combo
          I was a PCV as a twenty-something (and a young one at that).  I'm now 71.  For me, then, it was life changing.  Are you finding it life changing or can you more go with the flow and enjoy the moment?
          Connie
           
            • Re: Peace Corps
              MaryCarol
              Hi Connie!
              It's always fun talking to a RPCV....we who are going through the experience have great respect for those of you who already traveled this road. I think that so far maybe it's easier for me than for many of my younger peers....I  do go with the flow and enjoy the experience without expecting my contribution to make much difference in the great scheme of things.  I'm able to see the value for this culture of the way they do things instead of being so frustrated that it seems "wrong" which is what many of the younger Volunteers are going through right now.  They want to "fix it" and some of them are getting pretty tired out rolling that stone uphill.
              Where did you serve? What sector??? And if you don't mind sharing, how was it life-changing for you?
                • Re: Peace Corps
                  combo
                  MaryCarol said...
                  Hi Connie!
                  It\'s always fun talking to a RPCV....we who are going through the experience have great respect for those of you who already traveled this road. I think that so far maybe it\'s easier for me than for many of my younger peers....I  do go with the flow and enjoy the experience without expecting my contribution to make much difference in the great scheme of things.  I\'m able to see the value for this culture of the way they do things instead of being so frustrated that it seems \"wrong\" which is what many of the younger Volunteers are going through right now.  They want to \"fix it\" and some of them are getting pretty tired out rolling that stone uphill.
                  Where did you serve? What sector??? And if you don\'t mind sharing, how was it life-changing for you?
                  I was in the Philippines, 1963-65, in Laguna Province.  Mostly I worked with teachers on developing their ESL skills.  The experience broadened my view of the world so that I could think more like citizen in the world.  I learned to apprciate the cultural differences and becsme so interested in how the different integrated systems of belief, values and behavior that we call cultures actually workk so well.  This led me into graduate school in anthropology when I returned.  And I learned to be more patient -- I wish more of that had stayed with me.  At my patience peak, I could wait by the side of the dirt road for over an hour, waiting for a bus, with flies crawling on my legs and just be in the moment.  And i learned about going with the flow.
                  All of this came home with me, but in the home culture the new traits are hard to maintain at the same level
                   
                  What are you doing?  Teaching, community stuff?
                   
                    • Re: Peace Corps
                      MaryCarol
                      I'm coteaching with an Indonesian teacher about 20 hours a week...in Indonesia we all live with a family which really integrates us into the culture pretty quickly.  Indonesia is an early generation country and so we are only the 3rd group to have arrived since the 1960s when PC pulled out because of political unrest.  All of us so far are secondary team teachers working in one of three types of public schools:  a madrasah (which my school is and only teaches Islam along with other "college prep" academic subjects), a SMA which teaches all 5 approved religions along with other "college prep" academic subjects and SMKs which are similar to some high schools in the US which focus on hospitality or computers, or fashion, or whatever.  I'm also leading a few random seminars for teachers about student-centered strategies....my secondary project at the moment is involved with the underutilized public library in my village.  If you're on Facebook, ask to be my friend and you can check out my pictures....look for Mary O'Hara in Tuban, East Java, Indonesia.
                • Re: Peace Corps
                  NAKrueger
                  Hello - I've been thinking about apply for Peace Corp as part of my retirement strategy. I am turning 61 this fall. How difficult was it to get in? to fill our the extensive application? Are they any more flexible with older folks on selecting a location that might be more accommodating for those of us that are older than 20+?
                   
                  Nancy
                    • Re: Peace Corps
                      jeanharman
                      Yes - PC placement is very willing to work with "older" applicants - very flexible - they really want older volunteers! 
                       
                      Apply!!!  - it does not mean you have to go -- may as well explore the opportunity.  
                       
                      I worked at PC HQ for a short while - I really heartily endorse the experience.  I was a volunteer myself about 30 years ago - then worked in development for many years before retiring - then do a short stint as a PC employee. 
                       
                      J Harman  
                    • Re: Peace Corps
                      jeanharman

                      Not necessarily - but I can't say for sure.

                      The PC really does try to reasonably accom0date everyone who applies. 

                      Apply!

                      That is the only way you can find out!

                      JHarman

                        • Re: Peace Corps
                          bomoh1
                          In my last year of graduate school I applied to PC.  They let my application languish for 9 months.  They said they didn't think applicants getting PhD's were serious.  So, after I contacted them, they finally restarted it and I was given an assignment.  Unfortunately, it was during Reagan's 'Caribbean Basin Initiative' and many Caribbean countries were coerced into accepting PC volunteers that they didn't really request.  That was so Reagan could claim he didn't just send 30,000 troops to Honduras to jump into Panama in case the Sandinistas should win, but that the U.S. was sending economic aid, as well (as in PC).  When I discovered that I turned down the assignment, because I didn't want to represent hypocritical U.S. policy in any way.
                        • Re: Peace Corps
                          jeromek
                          After teaching for over 30 years, I am considering the PC.  Retirement will come within a year or two.  Could you share some information regarding your schedule?  Thanks.
                          • Re: Peace Corps
                            axnorwood
                            Hi all;
                            I'm 64 and applied to PC and early this year was invited to serve in Kenya. I had to pass on going - very hard decision, because of elderly parents, and other commitments at home. It's a long process applying but worth it to get the invitation. And you just don't know what they may see about your history that would make you a good candidate.
                            • Re: Peace Corps
                              Hi. Any idea how hard (or not) it is for a couple to get placed? Both my husband and I are computer types and have skills that are in demand but would want to be placed together. Thanks.
                                • Re: Peace Corps
                                  Fiji
                                  Hi.  I was a PCV in Fiji, just by good luck, back in the 1970's.  It was life changing.  Now I'm retired in Fiji.  Again, my good luck.  Fiji has been a part of virtually my entire adult life, even though I couldn't live here continuously for a lot of good reasons.  But the point is that I knew what I was getting into when I retired here.  As with everywhere, there are positives and negatives, but obviously the positives win with me.  As far as joining Peace Corps, unless you have serious reasons why it won't work, I'd say go for it.  PC wants volunteers, including couples, and YOU have the final say in accepting any assignment.  If you turn one down, they'll offer another without penalty.  So good luck with it.  It's a wonderful way to broaden your horizons -- at any age.  I promise you that it will be life changing.
                                    • Re: Peace Corps
                                      LEGRT
                                      I am considering the PC, but how does it effect your job and obligations, like a mortgage balance that is left to be paid. I am thinking of doing it at age 63. Do you have to have everything on cruise control or do you need to leave everything paid off?
                                        • Re: Peace Corps
                                          Fiji
                                          Hi, LEGRT --  I joined when I was a carefree 20-something, so I had few debts.  I gave my car (paid off) to my mother, and gave my landlord notice.  You will still be responsible for your own debts, although some things (like student loans) may be put on hold.  Peace Corps will not have anything to do with that part of your life.  And your monthly stipend will not likely accommodate your legitimate living needs plus your mortgage, so you'll have to work out something else -- such as renting to somebody with the rent being deposited to an account with automatic loan repayment.  That's a bit of a nuisance, I know.  However, the rewards of PC service will probably far outweigh such inconveniences.  Of course, that's a very individual thing.  I've always been very adaptable, which is extremely helpful in PC.  And I was invited to a very easy country -- nobody starving, no rampant crime or horrible disease, Americans (and almost everyone else) eagerly welcomed as guests, and so on.  
                                           
                                          have a
                                          By the way, probably the most useful decision I made for myself (even before leaving home) was to learn the vernacular.  That opened more doors for me than I ever suspected.  Fluency not required or even expected, effort hugely appreciated.  PC will give language lessons, as appropriate, and will pay for continuing lessons upon request.  My neighbours were great teachers, especially young kids also just learning their native language. (Give him PB&J on a cracker and have a chat.  Note the new words for today, then afterwards look them up in your dictionary.)  Now, 37 years later, I continue to learn the vernacular -- another dialect -- and it continues to reward me daily. Good luck in working out your own situation (paying debts without attention or stress), and in joining PC. Then set your temperament to "adventure" and have a great one!