Peace Corps Timeline- Madagascar Health Volunteer
A lot of Peace Corps Volunteers like to post the timeline of their application process on their blogs. When I was trying to plan my life, I looked at many PC Timelines to give myself an idea of what to expect and how to plan my travels before service.
Most blogs describe a year to a year and a half of waiting, so I was planning according to that. I applied in May 2014 and I figured I’d have until about May 2015 to ride my bike and travel eastward across Europe and maybe even into the Middle East. (It would have been an adventure!) but shockingly my official invitation to leave for Madagascar in February, 2015 was received in August, only three months after I applied. It kind of threw things off and seemed too good to be true. But now I’ve been in Madagascar for four months, so I guess it’s really real! Things can’t fall apart now…
I was really intimidated by the application process because the Peace Corps is a sector of the government and bureaucracy scares me. It is very “Big Picture” and I figured it’d be easy to get lost in the shuffle as just a name on a piece of paper. But it wasn’t that bad! The recruiters were very helpful.
I applied right before the application process changed, which is probably why things were so fast for me. I’m not sure how things will be now for new applicants, but here is my series of events for the reference of those whom are curious:
To help me remember the dates, I have written where I was and what I was doing while my Peace Corps journey was beginning to unfold.
May 1, 2014 - I submitted my Application from my apartment in Paris, France after a tireless month of compiling information on every relevant thing I’ve ever done.
May 7, 2014- I was I invited to Interview. The email was received while I was at my friend’s house in Stockholm, Sweden.
May 9, 2014- My interview was scheduled in an email string with a recruiter while I was on night bus from Stockholm to Oslo, Norway.
May 15, 2014- I had a 2 hour phone interview from my room in Paris. It was 11pm local time. It went really well and ended with a nomination to serve in Madagascar, February 2015 as a health volunteer while the recruiter and I sang “I like to move it, move it.”
June 1, 2014- I submitted the legal package. It was 72 euros to send with FedEx from Paris. Ew.
August 12, 2014- The first day of my Bike Tour across continental Europe, in Brussels, Belgium. I received the email that I was officially cleared and invited to serve in Madagascar, leaving in February 2015!!!
August 14, 2014- Bike tour progress: in Bruges, Belgium. Here I realized just how much stuff I had to do between paperwork and medical appointments. I spent all day at hostel doing research and preparing to return to Brussels for the only available U.S. Consulate appointment in the region.
August 17, 2014 -I returned to Brussels to get work done and visit the US Embassy. I then reluctantly let my Business Manager (mother) convince me that I should fly home for the medical appointments.
August 23- September 8, 2014 -I left my bicycle in Belgium with a friend. Then I flew to California for 2 weeks to finish all of the paper work, passport requirements, and about 12 Medical appointments. I saw my friends for 5 minutes. Then I left again. And I cried.
September 12, 2014- Bicycle ridden to The Hague, The Netherlands. I received an email stating that I was medically cleared! Boo yah. The US Government officially owned my body at that point
October 28, 2014- In Prague, Czech Republic. I received an email about the PC Madagascar Facebook group.
November 1, 2014- In Krakow, Poland. I caved and reactivated Facebook to join the FB group and to begin mentally preparing.
December 30, 2014 -January 9, 2015- I locked myself away at my aunt’s house in London, England. I read, read, read, researched, and watched youtube videos to prepare for what I needed to bring and what to expect.
January 9-February 8, 2015- I returned home to California! I ate everything, saw my friends, and prepared to head off again.
February 8, 2015 -I flew to Philadelphia for Staging!
February 10, 2015- I landed in Antananarivo, Madagascar with the 42 other new volunteer trainees!
February 10- April 23, 2015- Two and a half months of Pre-Service Training in Mantasoa, Madagascar!
April 24, 2015- We were officially sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers at the Ambassador’s Residence in the capital, Antananarivo.
April 25-April 30, 2015- This was a long and exhausting Installation week with 5 other volunteers in my region. We bought everything we needed for our huts before moving in!
May 1, 2015- I moved into my hut in Tsarasambo, Madagascar to begin my two years of service! (Exactly one year to the day after I submitted my application).
And now I’m here, living my childhood dream of serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer, in an absolutely incredible country!
(Well, that baby’s not me, but you get the idea: Peace Corps= cute kids…)
If you are thinking of applying, don’t worry! You might need a lot of patience and organization, but it will be more than worth it in the end! Good Luck!