Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Has anyone tried the Peace Corps?
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
 
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Newbie Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
travelingirl68



Joined: 25 Feb 2005
Posts: 214
Location: My Own State of Mind...

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:51 am    Post subject: Aaah, those Peace Corps days... Reply with quote

Reading your experiences Ted, has brought back a lot of my own memories - and made me thankful for my very thoughtful and skilled recruiter!

I too was a bit older than the average volunteer at 32, and having worked in Non-Profit management as well as being a Corporate Trainer for over 12 years, it was frankly discussed that the best fit for me would be teaching English at the university level. The very concerns that you expressed about the reality of working in business or NGO's - concepts of time and 'getting things done', and about the length of time it would take to get 'ramped up' and actually (if ever) have an impact would have frustrated me to no end!

As far as physical discomforts, I was also fairly lucky. While some of my fellow volunteers spent two years with no indoor plumbing (which isn't so bad in summer, but getting up on a -20 night to walk out to an ill-constructed outhouse to do your business while trying to work with layers of clothes, gloves, etc. was certainly no picnic. The 'bucket baths' in chilled apartments, and hand washing everything (it took me a long time to get used to sheet washing in small basins!) were also learning experiences! I am thankful that I made it to Kaz in an era when electricity was a pretty regular thing, but I heard stories from my students of the 1990's being a decade when the power would be out for months at a time.

Having never been a drinker/party girl, and being at a different point in my life than most of the other volunteers did make things a challenge at times... As Kazakstan is the 9th largest country in the world, many of the people that I had established a great rapport with in training were sent to locations that were a 3 day train ride away from me.

Being an unmarried woman at 32 was always a topic of conversation for the locals - especially as a woman at 25 is 'over the hill' and doomed to a life of misery. (I hope that I dispelled that myth, if even to a tiny degree!) The sense that I was always part of a dog and pony show for the university and English department, being forced to attend events, parties, etc. (always on short notice!) and constantly being compared to former volunteers: "Well, when Paige was here, she did it this way... When Ron was here, he did it that way..."

Having the Kazakstani secret service tapping into my phones, asking my colleauges and friends about my every move (there were a few people in each category who would faithfully give me reports of their 'monthly interrogation sessions'), and following me around on occasion was a bit unnerving the first year. Not realizing that you don't say "whoa!" to stop a horse in Central Asia (I think that might actually mean 'GO' to them! Smile as my first wonderful gallop across the steppe ended in getting thrown. Aaah, that first year!

The one thing that PC Trainers will tell you over and over from the first day of training stateside when they are asked questions is: "it depends" - and really, it does - each person has somewhat different experiences based on who they are, where they are in life, where they are posted - and NO ONE is without different times of frustration, disappointment, loneliness. I do think that when you have finished the first long year, the second one almost always is better, and the time flies way too fast!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
jules128



Joined: 28 Apr 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
To be effective, I needed a car, bought one out of my own funds. I spent, over the two years - a fair amount of my own personal funds to assist myself in being effective.


Two things that were repeatedly drilled into us were

1. we were FORBIDDEN to drive a vehicle and
2. try to live like the locals and not spend our own personal money to live beyond those means. thats kinda hard really but how were you able to drive? did you have to get special permission?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
tedkarma



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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well . . . it was 1989.

Re: a vehicle -
Our country director - in a previous country - had experienced the death and crippling (yes, I'll use that non-pc word!) of a few volunteers on motorbikes and hitchhiking - so we had a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Near the end of my service we had a new director - who did give me some serious trouble. But she showed up only about 90 days before I left.

I did live like the locals - in fact, if you recall my previous postings - the accountant and company manager I was training - and the volunteer designer for the company - all lived far above my standard of living.

NOT all people in every country - "locals" we might call them - are dirt poor.

This is, (you can tell by my tone!) one of my major issues with the Peace Corps. I didn't join to have a "poverty experience" - I grew up poor in one of the most impoverished counties (at that time) in America.

Many of my PCV counterparts DID join as wealthy liberal kids - to have a "poverty experience". This is partly why I couldn't relate well to them. But, also something I never really liked about the PC. I went to do a job, did it, did it very well, related well to my coworkers (who all had nicer cars than mine BTW) - made friends - and went home. No problem!

As we've all mentioned before - everyone's experience was different!

Hope I didn't/don't sound too pissy! But - it was the most frustrating issue for me during my service. Don't get me wrong - I don't think we should go and flaunt wealth or live over the standard of our peers. I didn't.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jules128



Joined: 28 Apr 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, I didn't catch that it was 1989 Embarassed I believe motor vehicle accidents are/were the #1 cause of volunteer deaths which is why it was drilled into us that we couldnt drive. Sure wouldve been nice though. As for living like the locals, it's damn near impossible when you consider most of us brought laptops and ipods and other electronic gadgets. I'm not saying one shouldnt have those things, just that pcv's and locals will probably never be on the same level in that sense.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
tedkarma



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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jules128 wrote:
I believe motor vehicle accidents are/were the #1 cause of volunteer deaths which is why it was drilled into us that we couldnt drive.


That's government for you! Or bureaucracies - you can't drive because many people died. In Botswana - it was the drunken combi drivers who killed, maimed and crippled the most people. The combi drivers out in the Kalahari desert drank and drove at the same time - drove until they passed out - then someone else would drive and drink until they passed out - then . . .

Sorry, I would much rather drive myself, thank you very much!

The carnage on the roadside would tell any sane person that it was better if you took responsibility for yourself - and drove.

Uh . . . for those lurking on this thread - this is one of several reasons why the Peace Corps could drive you crazy. Can you imagine? I was 39 when I joined the Peace Corps - and someone was trying to tell me I couldn't drive?! What?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Craig!



Joined: 23 Jan 2005
Posts: 202

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ever wonder why half of those accepted into the Peace Corps do not go on to serve? In my case, it was due to Bureaucracy. Placement office saw a "medical hold" for no reason. I gathered that Medical office lagged in updating my file - weeks earlier i submitted records of my additional required dental work. i finally located and called my placement officer (against all PC advice) and got the bad news -- i missed the Summer assignments.

i was disappointed, and didn't want to wait another year, so i quickly and easily found another way to serve abroad. Fiji would've been nice, but i have no regrets; working in China is an exciting experience.

So, woof, from my experience, and what others have said here about MI program ("it is complicated"), i would not recommend it.
Rely on yourself to find a grad school and country of your choice. With the Peace Corps your choices are limited, your preference of country is not given weight, and there's no $ advantages.

That being said, if you feel really drawn to this State Dep't agency, have set on a degree program, and you have 'the right stuff'... go for it!
i wish you Good luck, and another filing cabinet for all the paperwork.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
tedkarma



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

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've often felt that the Peace Corps purposefully drags out the application process.

I suspect they feel that if you can't handle the frustration of the application process, while living in a comfortable first-world country, that you might not be able to handle the frustrations that will accrue to your responsibilities while living in a third-world country. And, I think they are right. I was in one of the easier countries in the world for PC at the time - with "only" about a 35-40% drop out rate at the time - it is a difficult job!

We all have differing ideas about "service" - but my two years was my service to my country. Perhaps an "equalizer" for my not having to serve in Viet Nam when I was younger (though I know it could never be equal in any way to that nightmare).

For me it wasn't just about finding a job overseas, or certainly not about "$$" - it was about service - and perhaps learning to survive in a difficult situation. It did, however, change my life!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
The_Hanged_Man



Joined: 10 Oct 2004
Posts: 221
Location: Shekou, China

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definitely agree with Tedkarma that PC deliberately makes the application process a pain in the butt to weed out those who either couldn't handle the experience or those who just want to do for ulterior motives (pad resume, MI program).

I loved my PC experience in Uzbekistan, but it was far from easy. Uzbekistan, along with most of central asia, had about a 50% drop-out rate. So really the question shouldn't be "Should I join the PC to take advantage of the MI program?", but shoud only be "Should I join the PC?". Trust me, in my group the people who joined the PC for the benefits rather than the experience quickly realized that it wasn't worth the 2 years of hard core poverty, illness, and general hardship.

So I recommend that people only join PC for the experience and to serve. The benefits are a nice bonus, but alone are not nearly enough to make joining a good idea.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
woof



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A wealth of thoughtful advice from first hand experience. Thank you. To me, that's the newbie discussion forum at its best.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
amandajoy99



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 63
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was originally signed up for the Peace Corps Masters International Program. I started the MA portion last fall and was scheduled to head off somewhere this summer, then return for the final semester of school. However life intervened - I met someone and am now living with my boyfriend and planning to finish my MA in December, then see where life takes us Smile
A lot of students at my school participate in the MA program and I have talked to many of them about it. The downside of the idea is partially demonstrated by my experience - when you decide to go into the Peace Corps, you're pretty much ready to go right then. It's kind of hard to make the decision, then start a new life in one place (your grad school location), spend a year there, then head away and start another new life. Who knows what will happen in that one year.
From those RPCVs I've talked to who are now back and finishing their MA, I gather that the transition is rather jarring - of course returning from a Peace Corps experience is going to be difficult, but I think it can be even more difficult if you're suddenly thrown back into an academic environment that doesn't make much sense to you any more to finish something that you started two years ago.
That's not to say that I don't recommend the program - it is a good program with some definite benefits (for example, scholarships for your final semester when you return from the PC, and an pretty unique way to get your practice teaching done). But the difficulty of transitions is something to consider when making your decision. You may also consider going into the Peace Corps and then getting your MA afterwards. Best of luck whatever you decide to do.

Amanda
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
n&n



Joined: 15 Aug 2009
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:11 am    Post subject: Effort Justification Reply with quote

It's interesting that there are people who would recommend a program that put them through hell and say that it was all worth it. Having to go through a long, drawn out application process with all kinds of tedious paperwork and bureaucracy and then being forced to live in poverty for two years with scorpions crawling by you and chickens cock-a-doodle-doing while you're trying to sleep is not something that a rational person would seemingly recommend. There is a phenomenon in social psychology that explains this behavior. It is called effort justification. It's an old trick that militaries and fraternities use to get people to fall in line and be loyal. And guess what, it works!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effort_justification

Effort justification

Effort Justification is an idea and paradigm in social psychology stemming from Festinger's theory of Cognitive Dissonance[1]. Effort justification is people's tendency to attribute a greater value (greater than the objective value) to an outcome they had to put effort into acquiring or achieving.

Theory and Research
Cognitive Dissonance theory explains changes in people's attitudes or beliefs as the result of an attempt to reduce a dissonance (discrepancy) between contradicting ideas or cognitions. In the case of effort justification, there is a dissonance between the amount of effort exerted into achieving a goal or completing a task (high effort high "cost") and the subjective reward for that effort (lower than was expected for such an effort). By adjusting and increasing one's attitude or subjective value of the goal, this dissonance is resolved. One of the first and most classic examples of effort justification is Aronson and Mills's study[2]. A group of young women who volunteered to join a discussion group on the topic "Psychology of Sex" were asked to do a small reading test to make sure they were not too embarrassed to talk about sexual related topics with others. The mild-embarrassment condition subjects were asked to read aloud a list of sex related words such as "prostitute" or "virgin". The severe-embarrassment condition subjects were asked to read aloud a list of highly sexual words (e.g. "fu*k", "c*ck") and to read two vivid descriptions of sexual activity taken from contemporary novels. All subjects then listened to a recording of a discussion about "Sexual Behavior in Animals" which was dull and unappealing. When asked to rate the group and its members, control and mild-embarrassment groups did not differ, but the severe-embarrassment group's ratings were significantly higher. This group, whose initiation process was more difficult (embarrassment = effort) had to increase their subjective value of the discussion group to resolve the dissonance.

Implications
This theory is clearly implicated in the effect of rites of passage and hazing rituals on group solidarity and loyalty. The hazing rituals, prevalent in military units, sports teams and Academic fraternities and sororities, often include demanding and/or humiliating tasks which lead (according to dissonance theory) the new member to increase the subjective value of the group. This contributes to his/her loyalty and to the solidarity of the entire group.

Competing Views
Critics of this theory[3] claim it is dependant on complex social context (which is responsible for the creation of dissonance), but research has shown the same effects in children (who understand less about social context and therefore are less likely to be influenced by it) and even in pigeons. The researchers argue that the cause for these findings, both in humans and animals, is the contrast effect. According to this theory, the preference is a result of the difference between the reward and the situation that leads to it. When the preliminary situation is unpleasant or strenuous, the difference between it and the reward that follows is great. When the preliminary situation is not especially unpleasant or strenuous, the difference between it and the reward is smaller. The reward that has the larger difference from its preliminary situation will be preferred since it is experienced as more positive.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
runthegauntlet



Joined: 07 Nov 2009
Posts: 92
Location: the Southlands of Korea

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And you bumped a three year old thread to say this....why?

Ever thought there might be a little bit more to it than just a 'reward' at the end? What's your agenda here, anyway?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sadebugo



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 519

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tedkarma wrote:
I guess I don't have a reaction to it.

I think the people who work with the Peace Corps in other countries know what their work is.

It would be like if I volunteered at a kindergarten on the border with Burma and they gave me free food and board - would I then be their "agent"?

Or if I worked for TEFL Int'l's Nike Volunteer program where they give them a small stipend and housing. Are those people agents for Nike?

Are people who volunteer with VSO in schools in Africa - British agents?

Maybe so . . .

Secret agent man - that's really what I was! Rolling Eyes


I work for the American government (as an ESL/EFL instructor) and am proud of it. However, I would never work for SOME of the English language programs around the world that offer an inferior product yet, charge exorbitant prices to their students desperate to learn English just to enrich a few 'fat cat' businessmen. Now, that is exploitation Smile

Sadebugo
http://travldawrld.blogspot.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
n&n



Joined: 15 Aug 2009
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:24 pm    Post subject: Peace, Hate, Whatever Reply with quote

Quote:
runthegauntlet
And you bumped a three year old thread to say this....why?
Ever thought there might be a little bit more to it than just a 'reward' at the end? What's your agenda here, anyway?
Just to annoy you, dipstick. It certainly wasn't because you would be able to understand what I wrote but there are a few thoughtful people out there who may be considering joining the Peace Corps who may. Since you seem to be struggling with it, it looks like I'm going to have to spell things out for you.

The point, "agenda" is the wrong word -- I'm not working for an agency with a secret agenda (sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists out there) -- is to point out to people that while the US government has anywhere from 600 million to a trillion dollars a year to pour into the military, it seems that Peace Corps volunteers are expected to put up with an unreasonable application process and unnecessarily harsh living conditions. These are two things that deter a lot of fine applicants. It's just a shame that the US government puts more of an emphasis on sticks than carrots. Maybe weve got it backwards! Its also an observation of human psychology for those who care to think about such things. Just because some people got conned into being taken advantage of by their government doesn't mean we should buy into their hype about how great their Peace Corps experience was and how it would supposedly enrich all of our lives when there are plenty of people who drop out even though the Peace Corps website would have us all believe that it's all love and altruism and happiness and a sense of accomplishment and the like.

By the way, some of us do go through old threads to research a topic or possible career move. Just because you don't seem to like old threads, don't expect everyone to share your sentiment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:
Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:52 pm Post subject:
Sadebugo
I work for the American government (as an ESL/EFL instructor) and am proud of it. However, I would never work for SOME of the English language programs around the world that offer an inferior product yet, charge exorbitant prices to their students desperate to learn English just to enrich a few 'fat cat' businessmen. Now, that is exploitation
Well, I would never purport that working for Nike would in any way be an ethical endeavor. One has to wonder how ethical it is to work for the government of the world's hegemon though, not that anyone cares to really think about morality these days. I suppose it would depend on what you were doing in your role as a government worker but now were really getting off on a tangent.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
runthegauntlet



Joined: 07 Nov 2009
Posts: 92
Location: the Southlands of Korea

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Peace, Hate, Whatever Reply with quote

n&n wrote:
Just to annoy you, dipstick.

Lulz. Well, that's certainly admirable.

n&n wrote:
it seems that Peace Corps volunteers are expected to put up with an unreasonable application process

You get denied or something?! 'Laughing'
n&n wrote:
These are two things that deter a lot of fine applicants.

Let me guess.....you, right?
n&n wrote:
Just because some people got conned into being taken advantage of by their government doesn't mean we should buy into their hype about how great their Peace Corps experience was and how it would supposedly enrich all of our lives when there are plenty of people who drop out even though the Peace Corps website would have us all believe that it's all love and altruism and happiness and a sense of accomplishment and the like.

Ah, yes, so you're here to set the record straight, huh?
n&n wrote:

By the way, some of us do go through old threads to research a topic or possible career move. Just because you don't seem to like old threads, don't expect everyone to share your sentiment.


Oh, I enjoy old threads. I just question those who delude themselves into thinking they're projecting their 'enlightenment' onto the peons. Especially those so desperate for acknowledgment that they bump threads that are three years old. But hey, *high five* now, huh?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Newbie Forum All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Page 4 of 5

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC