I have received my official Peace Corps invitation to serve in Paraguay starting March 5th, 2015.
Serving in the Peace Corps has always been something that I have always been interested in. This past April I decided that this was the perfect time in my life to serve in the Peace Corps, so I started the application process. It is a lengthy process, so beware if you are considering it! It takes about 1 year from the time in which you submit the application and your date of departure. In June, I went to Chicago for a face-to-face interview after already having a phone interview a few weeks prior. After the interview in early June, I was give four specific Peace Corps programs which I qualified for based on my previous experiences and my personal preferences. I was able to list the programs in order of my preference, and then I had to wait. Wait for my official invitation, which ended up taking over 3 months.
Finally! I received my invitation. I will be serving in Paraguay in the sector of Community Economic Development starting March 5th. When I arrive, I will have 3 months of in-country training. After the three months, I will move to my specific location of service. My specific placement will be determined after I arrive in the country. As of now, I do know that I will need to learn both Spanish and Guarani. I am already fairly comfortable speaking Spanish. I will do my best to improve it before I leave, so I am able to focus on learning Guarani once I am in Paraguay.
So, what is the Peace Corps? It is an United States government program that was created in 1961 by JFK to aid other countries. The Peace Corps is different from other international aid organizations in that it strives to work from the bottom up. We only serve in countries that have requested aid in the specific categories, and we do our best to implement programs and initiatives that the people of the country help to create. When in the realm of international aid, it is extremely important to consider the cultural backgrounds of the people.
Peace Corps Facts:
-Total number of countries served: 139
-Current number of countries served: 65
-Current number of Volunteers: 7,209
-Average Volunteer Age: 28.7
-The most widespread Volunteer sector: Education (40%)
-Language: Spanish & Guarani
-President: Horacio Cartes (2013)
-Ethnicity: 95% Mestizo, 5% other