I was one of the happiest days of my life as I opened up my email and there it was the email I’ve been waiting for. It started out
“Dear Mai Sia,
Congratulations! On behalf of the entire Peace Corps family, I'm delighted to invite you to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia. You've been selected to serve as a/an Secondary Education English Teacher, departing March 20, 2016. By accepting this invitation, you will join hundreds of thousands of Americans who have answered the call to service and made a difference in communities around the world.”
A wave of excitement took over me as I shared the information with my boyfriend, who happened to be in the room with me. Minutes later, the reality of the situation struck me, “Am I really ready to do this?” For a few minutes there, I hesitated to accept my invitation as a million thoughts ran through my head. It wasn’t that I haven’t thought about being away from friends and family for two years, but it was because Peace Corps seemed so far out of my reach and now that it was actually happening, I was scared.
7/1/15: I applied and submitted my application online.
7/2/15: Finished my health history forms online.
7/3/15: Made my country & project selection.
7/27/15: Received an email for an interview as a Secondary Education English Teacher position in Indonesia.
7/29/15: Had my interview.
8/5/15: Received a congratulations email for getting accepted!
8/5/15: Received medical task (dental & medical Exams).
8/21/15-8/25/15: Received legal kit; completed and mailed back.
10/8/15-12/11/15: Completed all medical tasks.
10/20/15-12/15/15: Completed all dental tasks.
11/5/15: Completed passport & visa applications; mailed both out.
12/1/15: Submitted new resume and aspiration statement.
12/16/15: Received an email about being medically cleared.
12/21/15: Requested for a Polio booster shot (& I thought I was medically cleared!)
12/24/15: MEDICALLY CLEARED...once again...is this the last of the medical task? I hope so.
If you're reading this in preparation for your upcoming Peace Corps interview, CONGRATULATIONS! You've made it this far in the application process, you're doing pretty good for yourself. Peace Corps staff are impressed with what they know about you so far, all you have to do now is continue to show them why they need you to be a part of the Peace Corps family.
The interview process lasted about 60-90 minutes. Mine was about 90 minutes (so make sure you're somewhere comfortable and quiet). The interviewer will go over a few Peace Corps expectations and logistics, and then the majority of the time will be you answering questions drawn from your work/volunteer experiences (they would like you to speak about long term (4+ months) experiences). The rest of the time, the interviewee will speak a little about their experience and give you time to ask questions.
I was introduced to the Peace Corps in 5th grade. At that time, the idea of traveling was all that I really cared about. I've always wanted to travel and if someone was going to pay me to travel, "oooh heck yahhh I've hit jack pot!"
It wasn't until many years down the road that I'd realized why I really wanted to be a Peace Corps volunteer. To fully explain this I'll have to share a little of my background.
I was born in a refugee camp called Ban Vinai in Thailand. I have some memories here and there but life in the refugee camps, as you can imagine, was very different from my life today. The refugee camps had boundaries which were fenced in with thin sheets of metal and barbed wires. Families were in constant fear of Thai refugee camp officers and the food ration was barely enough . Children played outside in the dirt with anything they could find like grass, rocks, garbage and plastic rappers. One of my favorite was rubber bands. If you had collected enough rubber bands you could make a jump rope out of it, which was a popular game among the kids in the refugee camps.
This is where I share my journey in the Peace Corps. The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.
Hi welcome to my blog. My name is Sia and this is my safe haven. This is a place for me to write, journal, and share ideas.
IG @ ms.sia.chang