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Has anyone tried the Peace Corps?
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woof



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aw shucks, and here I thought this was the easy road to spydom! Oh well. Interesting that you know that fact about not being able to go from PC to intelligence. Did you know anyone who tried to do that or was it just information you ran across?

My background makes me cautious of governmental groups but not to the point of paranoia. To me the practical aspect of the rumors is whether the local people think I'm a spy or if they accept me as I am. I figure if Pres. Carter's mother didn't see anything irregular, I wouldn't either.

I wonder about the pros and cons of the routes to a Master's that PC offers. Has anyone on this board gotten a degree one of these ways?
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natsume



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 338
Location: San Diego, California

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First post! Gotta start somewhere. That is exactly my question. Can anybody offer any comments/experience about getting a masters, particularly a TESL/Applied Linguistics Master, through Masters International?

I have done research on the various programs offered in California, with MI and also without, and it does not seem to me that the very best masters programs also offer the MI option. I am particular thinking of San Francisco State, which looks like the best program to me, but does not have an affiliation with the PC. Monterey does, but no way can I afford that. Which leaves Humboldt State and Cal Sate Sacramento, two programs I have heard nothing about from people who have done them. (SIT in Vermont looks fantastic, but again, the price tag is...unfortunate.)
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tedkarma



Joined: 17 May 2004
Posts: 1595
Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woof wrote:
Aw shucks, and here I thought this was the easy road to spydom! Oh well. Interesting that you know that fact about not being able to go from PC to intelligence. Did you know anyone who tried to do that or was it just information you ran across?


One of the forms that you sign when you join the PC is one in which to agree to be disqualified (I don't remember the exact verbage) from military, intelligence, and other such work for "X" number of years - though I don't remeber how many the "X" was. If I recall, long enough to discourage anyone from that path.

In my two years in Africa I only ran into maybe one person who thought I was linked to the government - and I don't think even he took it seriously.

It's a pretty modest life for a "spy" - I would MUCH prefer a James Bond-esque type lifestyle. I had nary a tuxedo in my closet during those years . . . and the champagne - just didn't flow. Sad
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mlomker



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

natsume wrote:
First post! Gotta start somewhere. That is exactly my question. Can anybody offer any comments/experience about getting a masters, particularly a TESL/Applied Linguistics Master, through Masters International?


There are quite a few threads regarding online options, but you may want to start a new thread with this question.

Online discussion: this thread.
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woof



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 11:28 pm    Post subject: Peace Corps Reply with quote

On a PBS talkshow this week a man from the Congo said that while the US government is disliked for its international policies, his people thought the missionaries and Peace Corps workers were nice and welcomed them into the country.
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Justin Trullinger



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 3110
Location: Seoul, South Korea and Myanmar for a bit

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently read "Confessions of an Economic Hitman," where the intelligence, or link to international imperialism accusation is made, yet again. I found the book, as a whole, to have been written in such a way as to allow deniability.

Do we have any documentable cases of peace corps links to espionage?

I-ve seen a bit of how other US government based aid agencies work abroad, and have known some PCVs, and I have to admit, based on this, I-d probably give the PC a miss. Not so much espionage, which I wouldn-t be any good at anyway, but just due to tendencies I-ve observed in terms of world view.

Nothing personal Ted, you seem as cool as hell. But while I don-t believe that most PCVs are spies, I guess I do find who pays your bills to be relevant. Here in Latin America, every year, many peace corp volunteers do many good works, while the US taxpayer pays to support the program. At the same time, other US organisations subvert the political system of many countries here, and again, the US taxpayer pays. When the IMF (international monetary F@CKERS) impose austerity measures aimed at reducing services to the poor, and debt service takes up most of some nations incomes, a lot of the profits wind up in the US.

Based on these arrangements, a lot of people see the PC as low budget window dressing or publicity (and it is low budget compared to other things) designed to improve the image of the US abroad, without actually making any meaningful reforms.

I truly respect the impulses that cause someone to join the PC. Absolutely noble. And I respect the work that many volunteers have done worldwide, which can absolutely transform life in some communities. But, I guess that I feel that you were used, Ted. Your noble impulses were only paid for because they helped to put up attractive wallpaper on a truly unjust system.

And yet, does that mean it would be better not to have done it? Certainly not for you, given that you consider it to have been life changing. Certainly not for the people whose lives you affected.

Still, I feel you were used, to serve causes that I doubt you agree with.

I haven-t got any answers, just a lot of questions.


Best regards,

Justin
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Demonicat



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 65
Location: Near Shida, Taipei

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an Ex-Peace Corps Volunteer (Mali, West Africa), I can honestly say that I was never CIA or anything like that, I just bred rabbits and taught tourism English. In fact, I can;t remember a single PCV in Mali who was a spy, as there would be nothing to spy on there. Most Peace Corps nations are not worthy of sending in James Bonds, they are poor impoverished nations that need help.
If anyone has any serious questions about the Peace Corps, I would be happy to answer them.
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sweetup



Joined: 21 Apr 2006
Posts: 8
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 5:32 pm    Post subject: peace corps grad degree--MI TESOL Reply with quote

woof, karinb, and natsume,

i, as well, have looked into the peace corps as a path to MA TESOL. i am in california too natsume and have found that the two schools that offer the peace corps degree, the MI TESOL (Master's International), are not the best known or highest rated universities. the best MA TESOL programs are not associated with the peace corp MI degree program (not including the outrageously priced private institutions such as Monterey Language Institute).

i was curious as to why this was the case. i asked uni professors, peace corps reps, and peace corps former volunteers. there was no clear answer as to why the peace corps MI degree is not offered at universities with higher reputations. however, i think there might be a variety of reasons.

1) on the one hand, there is some merit to class-time in a degree program. the peace corps MI TESOL degree requires a semester of classes before you deploy and a semester upon your return. essentially, with the MI program, you "miss out" on a year of classes (even with practicums, you still have uni support and scheduled meetings w/ profs).

2) on the other hand, if you're a well-known uni and can get 2 years worth of tuition out of students, why would you want to lose a year of money? the MI program only requires its candidates to attend a total of 1 year of classes. the two years you spend abroad in the peace corps, the uni gets NO $$. essentially, the universities who offer the MI TESOL give students a 2-year grad degree but only make 1-year's worth of tuition.
Why would a uni take the cut in income if they don't have to? It follows then, that only the lesser-known universities would offer such a program. For them, the MI TESOL probably increases they're enrollment and overall profit. Students who would never consider attending Sac State or Humboldt State just might be attracted by this special program.

Good grief. I think I might be talking myself into the MI TESOL! It is an awesome way to save cash. AND you get to be in the PEACE CORPS. How cool is that?

You figure, you can get additional instruction and classes and schooling and theory and all that any ol' time.

The MI TESOL path may be best for folks who's long-term goal is to spend a large amount of time (like, possibly forever) overseas. There would be a definite drawback for individuals planning to teach in the States (or Canada, i imagine).

Now. Let's get some MI TESOL grads on this forum to tell us what's really going on. Surprised
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natsume



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 338
Location: San Diego, California

PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks sweetup, you echo my own guesses as to why the more prestigious universities might not have MI affiliation, or, more to the point, why the less prestigious do.

Aside from its comprehensiveness, a large appeal of the SF State TESOL program, for me, is the opportunity for extensive practical experience in a high density ESL population. I can see how they wouldn't want to dilute their program by offering an MI degree, since it would take away much of the scope and breadth. If I decided I wanted to do the SFSU program, there is no way I would also want to do PC. It would just be too much. I'm kind of thinking out loud here, but I guess if I really want the most any masters program could give me, I would not do the MI option. I also am really not inclined to do an online program. In my experience, the classroom environment and community is far too vital to the way I learn.

It might not necessarily be about money. There are plenty of bodies waiting to get into the better programs. (Btw, I think most of the MI programs only give students a tuition break on one of four semesters, so they do make more then one years tuition. Still, I can see your argument. I think it is complex, and the $$ factor is surely a part of it.)

So, where are the people with the MI degrees?
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tedkarma



Joined: 17 May 2004
Posts: 1595
Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin,

I disagree with you heartily on many of the things you wrote above. You are interconnecting many things - that are not inconnected. It is a bit like conspiracy theory run amok.

But, if you believe so, okay - up to you. Go for it.

007 Shocked
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Justin Trullinger



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 3110
Location: Seoul, South Korea and Myanmar for a bit

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to be clear Ted, though I don't necessarily expect you, or anyone, to agree. I don't think you're, or were, a spy. I think that your peace corps activities, or anyone else's, are cynically funded in order to improve the image of a government that does at least as much harm as good in the nations that it sends peace corps volunteers to. That isn't really conspiracy theory. Certainly, the funding for the PC is no secret. Nor are other less beneficial programs funded by the same governmental body.

I did try to portray a certain neutrality in my post- I have had family members in the PC, and am not criticising them, or you. I didn't really say that anyone in particular shouldn't join the PC, merely that for those reasons, I personally would not. To me, it's pretty ambiguous, as I have no doubt that you did good things in the PC- but I also do not doubt that you served as a positive ambassador for a government which, regrettably in my opinion, probably doesn't deserve it just now.

If you are actually a spy, however, please drop by with a bottle of Dom Perignon the next time you pass through here, and I will be happy to tell you all the government secrets I know. It's hard to get good chapagne in Ecuador.

Saludos,
Justin
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tedkarma



Joined: 17 May 2004
Posts: 1595
Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin,

No offense taken, just wanted to express my disagreement.

Ted
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3351
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin, the case can indeed be made that the Peace Corps was created in part as a response to Communism. The USSR in the 1950s had sent many students, teachers, engineers, doctors, and other experts all over the world as a statement, of sorts, but also of course as a genuine way to help developing nations. There were no doubt "spys" and other intelligence operatives among the Soviet Union's thousands of global ambassadors.

But this was not at all the primary reason behind the formation of the Peace Corps. And, as an American, I can think of few other U.S. government organizations in which I would happily serve -- despite my general hatred for things governmental. I accepted generous grants and fellowships from the federal government for the study of Southeast Asian languages and for research abroad. Did I feel guilty accepting government money when my government was otherwise behaving badly? Was I bothered by the fact that the only reason the U.S. paid me to study those languages was that the government was prosecuting a war in the lands in which they were spoken? A bit. But I also figured that at least my tiny portion of the U.S. budget was going toward something potentially useful and positive.

One of my favorite spots on the campus of my alma mater are the steps in front of the Student Union building at the University of Michigan. There is a plaque on that spot commemorating John F. Kennedy's first mention of his idea of creating (what would later be known as ) the Peace Corps. On October 14, 1960, presidential candidate Senator Kennedy said, in part:

"How many of you who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world? On your willingness to do that, not merely to serve one year or two years in the service, but on your willingness to contribute part of your life to this country, I think will depend the answer whether a free society can compete. I think it can! And I think Americans are willing to contribute. But the effort must be far greater than we have ever made in the past.

Therefore, I am delighted to come to Michigan, to this University, because unless we have those resources in this school, unless you comprehend the nature of what is being asked of you this country can't possibly move through the next ten years in a period of relative strength...."


BACKGROUND
On October 14, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy spoke to the students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor during a campaign speech and challenged them to live and work in developing countries around the world, thus dedicating themselves to the cause of peace and development. That idea inspired the beginning of the Peace Corps....

Within weeks, 1,000 Michigan students had signed a petition calling for the establishment of the Peace Corps program.

No one knows why Kennedy decided to talk about the Peace Corps idea that night at Michigan. Quite possibly it came to mind because he had earlier asked Professor Samuel P. Hayes of the University of Michigan to prepare for him a paper on the possibilities of an international youth service program. More likely it was the unexpected sight of ten thousand young people waiting until long past midnight to see him and hear what he had to say. The response of the University of Michigan students was enthusiastic, and within a few days a group had formed an organization called Americans Committed to World Responsibility. This group actively promoted the youth service corps idea and sent a delegation to Kennedy to discuss the idea further. Meanwhile interest spread to other campuses, and Democratic campaign headquarters received a heavy flow of mail supporting the concept. It was clearly in the two weeks following his talk at Michigan that Kennedy realized he had connected solidly with the young people of the country with the Peace Corps idea.

On the night of November 2, in a major address at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, Kennedy put on record his intention to create a Peace Corps if he were elected President. Speaking about the inadequacies of the American foreign service in its various manifestations, Kennedy said:

"I therefore propose that our inadequate efforts in this area be supplemented by a Peace Corps of talented young men and women, willing and able to serve their country as an alternative or a supplement to the peacetime selective service, well qualified through rigorous standards, well trained in the languages, skills, and customs they will need to know, and directed by the I.C.A. Point Four agencies. ...

"This would be a volunteer corps, and would be sought not only among talented young men and women, but all Americans, of whatever age, who wished to serve the great Republic and serve the cause of freedom, men who have taught or engineers or doctors or nurses, who have reached the age of retirement, or who in the midst of their work wished to serve their country and freedom, should be given an opportunity and an agency in which their talents could serve our country around the globe."

The Peace Corps was designed to encourage mutual understanding between Americans and other cultures of the world. It was established by executive order in 1961 and was approved by Congress as a permanent, U.S. federal agency within the State Department later that year. Robert Sargent Shriver was appointed the first director of the U.S. Peace Corps in 1961. In 1981, the Peace Corps was made an independent agency.

The Peace Corps program was an outgrowth of the Cold War. At that time, President Kennedy said the Soviet Union, “had hundreds of men and women, scientists, physicists, teachers, engineers, doctors, and nurses…prepared to spend their lives abroad in the service of world communism." The United States did not have an equivalent organization that prompted individual citizens to work abroad and dedicate themselves to the development, progress and peace of developing countries and cultures. Kennedy wanted to involve Americans more actively in the cause of global democracy, peace, development and freedom.

Just as the idea of a large-scale peace or service force was not new in 1960, neither was the presence of Americans working in underdeveloped countries on a voluntary or low-pay basis. The International Voluntary Service, an organization funded by private contributions, began sending small numbers of young Americans to work in schools and hospitals in Southeast Asia and Egypt in the 1950s. And American missionaries, while not volunteers in any secular sense of the word, had for many years been working overseas, for low wages and often under conditions of hardship, teaching, building and running hospitals, and introducing better farming methods.

But despite this long background of ideas and example, people everywhere have always thought of the Peace Corps as John Kennedy’s. It has been called his finest monument, and from the beginning it was known in many countries where volunteers served as the Kennedy Peace Corps. In the crucially important sense that he was the first man in American public life who believed in the idea and who had the skill, power, and desire to implement it, the Peace Corps does very much belong to John Kennedy.
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Justin Trullinger



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 3110
Location: Seoul, South Korea and Myanmar for a bit

PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for an informative, educational read. Having been born more as result of the sixties than in time to have experienced them, I really didn't know that much background on the peace corps.

My comments were largely theoretical, as I really don't care for the model of giving with one hand, and taking away with the other. Especially when the giving, while highly visible, is much smaller than the taking.

But I meant no offense to those who are involved in the selfless giving side- I know you guys aren't the ones who are doing the taking. And I know that your work was real and meaningful.

I'm also aware that I've strayed from the original point, and will stop threadjacking and go home.

Happy weekend to all,
justin
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3351
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin, you never jack threads. You simply elaborate on them a bit! Your posts are always welcome, informative and honest.
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