I applied to the Peace Corps in late March of 2015. I arrived in Indonesia for my two years of service late March 2016. Between those two Marches a lot happened, but it seemed like most of the time I was just waiting. So how about a simple timeline to lay out my experience leading up to departure?
- March 2015- applied to the Peace Corps
- April- received notice that I was placed in a pool of candidates in consideration for teaching positions in Indonesia
- May- graduated from university
- June- received interview request
- July- received invitation to serve in Indonesia
- August- began medical and legal clearance process
- October- recieved medical clearance
- 17 March 2016- started packing for two years in Indonesia
- 18 March 2016- left for staging
That’s a pretty simple breakdown of my timeline. There were a lot of hurdles to overcome. My interview was rescheduled twice on very short notice. So there was about a two week delay there. I changed one of my references after I submitted my application and accidentally provided the wrong contact information so my reference was delayed in providing the reference form. In my original list of medical tasks to complete I didn’t have to get a polio vaccine but I was told to get it after I received medical clearance and had the damnedest time trying to find one in sparsely populated northeast Oklahoma.
Before departure I was also working on my family farm and helping my uncle with his well water system business. However, most of the time it just seemed like I was waiting to leave for Indonesia despite remaining relatively busy.
Of course when all of the volunteers got to staging in Los Angeles we found out that our visas were delayed and we would not be leaving when we were scheduled to leave. We ended up leaving for Indonesia in two groups nine days after our original departure date. The time we spen in LA was not wasted, however. We spent all day in various training sessions about teaching, development, diversity, Peace Corps history, and various other useful, if somewhat dry, topics.
Being delayed was a downer but it was also a terrific opportunity to get to know the rest of the volunteers and bond. Once we got to Indonesia we were divided up into small groups. So had we not had so much time in LA we likely would not have had to opportunity to know everyone so well.