What They Won’t Tell You at COS About Life After Peace Corps

Close of Service (COS) is both a conference and an event. The conference comes several months before the actual COS date, when volunteers leave the country. At the conference volunteers meet to go over administrative duties as well as reflect on the bittersweet reality of 2 years coming to a close.

COS is a cool time in many ways. But there’s a lot to think about. Sometimes too much. Hopefully this post will give someone an insight in his or her own journey. Here’s what the Peace Corps staff won’t tell you:

Finding a job is the toughest job you’ll ever hate

Peace Corps really doesn’t do a good job of hammering this point home like it does many of the other things that are forced down your throat as a volunteer, such as the word sustainability. Your friends are all going to grad school. Your site mate is just going to travel, man. But for the rest of us (who aren’t retired), there is the dark shadow of the job hunt racing towards us as we count down our final days in country.

You’ve found a job before, you reason. It won’t be that bad. But at least 2 years have lapsed since you had to really search for anything. You’ve forgotten a little bit what it’s like. And the economy still just isn’t what it used to be.

It’s not Peace Corps’s fault at all really. It’s not their problem; it’s yours. You should know it’s hard to find a job. You should expect it. But I missed that memo and am guessing that thousands of others do too every year. We rely on the Peace Corps like babies while we are serving.

The truth is that Peace Corps doesn’t care if you get a job or not. Think about this: if Peace Corps were serious about Returned Peace Corps Volunteers’ (RPCV) careers upon completion of service they would be gathering metrics to understand whether or not RPCVs are getting jobs. Almost every college does this. But the Peace Corps has no incentive to see that its returned volunteers are thriving professionally. Alums donate to schools in order to help the kids or to pursue narcissistic naming rights, but RPCVs don’t give anything to PC other than some name recognition here and there when a Chris Matthews makes it big (which will randomly occur without PC doing anything).

The Most Interesting Man in the World

The Most Interesting Man in the World

So, while you attend your COS conference and get drunk in your hotel rooms while reminiscing about the last 2 years, you won’t find enough in your agenda about jobs. We had some nice sessions about resume writing and non-competitive status that were volunteer-initiated. Those were great, but I still have the feeling most people don’t come away from COS with the sense of urgency they need in regards to the job market. Many people worry about the reverse culture shock aspect of going back home; I would place employability several orders of magnitude higher than reintegration in the whole going-back-to-America picture. Take every resource and opportunity you can to get ready now.

WARNING: Unsolicited advice part

Tap the older volunteers with awesome career experience to help you with your resume. Talk about their careers and what they liked. Do informational interviews with them to see if you would like to do something similar. If so, ask for some contacts or at least advice on getting started. Tap the staff to do the same thing.

Try to figure out what you want. Many people go the whole 2 years thinking, “Yeah man, I’m going to find myself during these 2 years!” At the end of it, guess what? They never got around to it and they still have no idea what the heck they want to do. That’s okay, but at least take some time to actively think about it and try to narrow it down for yourself.

Also, use time to your advantage. As a PCV you have the luxury of having too much free time. Your secondary projects aren’t going that well, let’s just all admit it. Or your primary assignment isn’t what you hoped for. Either way you have free time on your hands to pursue things. You could pursue your 8th crappy sitcom marathon OR you could spend the time looking for jobs. The automatic direct deposits to your account stop after the Peace Corps ends. Get used to that idea. Allow it to make you hungry. Use the hunger to search for employment. Once you get some job listings that seem interesting to you, figure out if you are qualified. If you are not qualified, gain some skills. Don’t watch Game of Thrones again. Figure out what Microsoft Access is all about, finally. Or look up some tutorials on how to use Adobe whatever. Go to MIT’s free courses and expand your knowledge.

Use the time you have to train up for life after Peace Corps, because PACA tools will only take you so far (according to the Seasonal Calendar, they will help you for 1 weekend in between the rainy season and the 6 month winter). But what about living in the now and enjoying the rest of the experience? From my experience, there was definitely time to do both. I know it’s not fun to constantly think about the future when you have such a jarring change ahead, but seriously, you’ll thank yourself later.

Non-competitive status is probably a joke

Let me be frank with you and save you a lot of time: non-competitive status is nearly worthless. Show me a room full of RPCVs and I’ll show you a room full of people who a.) still don’t really know what non-competitive status means and b.) did not successfully use it to get a job. Why don’t you hear stats about RPCVs being placed in Federal agencies due to NCS? Because 99% of them never end up using their NCS (okay, I’m guessing). I have done countless Federal job searches. Setting up an advanced search where you indicate your NCS does nothing but create false hope as you are subjected to awesome sounding but exclusive opportunities open only to vets or current whatever agency employees. Besides that, government job postings are the most disorganized pieces of garbage on the internet, which at least for me completely sucks my soul of motivation to ever apply for another government job. I keep coming back to the website out of my own insanity.

Short anecdote time: I defied logic and returned to the US jobs site for the hundredth time. This time I applied for a job. It took quite a while longer than usual because this job required me to mail in my application. That’s right, only the Federal government would be so inefficient. Anyway, I was happy to try to finally use my non-competitive eligibility. Well, after doing some more research after sending my little envelope on its way I learned that the agency I applied to has a hiring freeze. But obviously you would never remove your online job postings if you’re not hiring for those positions. This is the government, after all. I pen this whiney story only to caution future RPCVs that these are the kinds of disappointments you face with your NCS after service. I’m not saying don’t try to use it; I’m just saying… it’s not any kind of silver bullet. Sorry.

Bad Luck Brian

Bad Luck Brian

Your hard earned language skills will plummet in value

Peace Corps likes to make little lame jokes about your language skills. “You can use your Swahili to impress your friends at parties!” Yeah, that’s lame. And no one cares, honestly. Before you went to Peace Corps did you ever care what other languages someone spoke? Probably not. And that didn’t change just because you learned a strange language. Honestly, there won’t be much use for your language any more. Using it in a job is highly unlikely since America is a melting pot of immigrants, some of which probably speak your Peace Corps language natively. They can easily fill any roles that require their language. And sadly, about half of the jobs I apply to don’t even have Armenian listed in their foreign language drop down boxes. And that’s for a Peace Corps language I would consider in the upper half for name-recognition. So you can’t even brag about your language skills in a job application in many cases.

Also, you will have a hard time forcing yourself to stay sharp in your learned language. It just happens. There would be rare exceptions for those with more widely-spoken languages, but for most of us the language is tucked neatly into the Peace Corps Experience Box in our brains, which gathers dust rather quickly.

First World Problems

First World Problems

Will they fade away completely then? That depends. I’ve heard people say they forget very quickly, while others hang on to what they had. I have spoken with my host family a few times and read a few stories. I have lost vocabulary but it hasn’t been major. I also talk to myself in Armenian sometimes, envisioning scenarios where I meet a bewildered Armenian immigrant on the bus who just happens to not know English so I can swoop in and save the day. Am I crazy? Probably. YMMV.

The insurance is not very good

Something about pizza and french fries

Something about pizza and french fries

That statement probably didn’t surprise you. You get 1 month of insurance free after your service and can sign up for more if you choose. I signed up for 1 additional month. I’m glad I did just one. It was around $200 for the month, which seems pricey for what it is. I did go to the doctor during this time and had a minor procedure done. The billing was a nightmare. If you do go for the insurance, make sure your provider understands how the insurance should be billed. There was a lot of confusion with mine because I had also gone to the same provider for some of the PC-mandated things that use special PC forms for payment.

It took a good 6 months to sort everything out with them. I have to give them credit though; they eventually did pay most of my claims. I’m happy about that. But here’s the bigger message: take advantage of the doctors while you still can.

It’s no secret that having 2 doctors sitting there waiting for your visit is one of the glorious benefits of PC service. So, if there is anything nagging you or if you’re thinking, “I should get this taken care of sometime…” then NOW is the time to do it. Don’t wait!

Your 2 years = Everyone else’s 2 years

Yes, you did something strange. You had the experience that will shape the rest of your life. You discovered that the world is not monocultural. You now know an archaic language, sort of. You sat in an uncomfortable form of public transportation for long periods of time. You pooped your pants. You did some cool projects. You overcame immense barriers. You made friends out of a motley crew. You gave it all up for that stuff.

Yes, you did.

And while you were away those 2 years everyone else kept plugging along in what to your mind seemed like a chasm devoid of time. They kept going to jobs they hated. They got promoted. They got fired. They got hired at new places. They went back to school. They had babies. They got sick. They had successes and failures, just like you. No, they weren’t living in a foreign country. No, they probably weren’t as uncomfortable as you were. But they didn’t choose to go anywhere. Your 2 years is not more important than theirs just because you were in the Peace Corps. Until you care as much about their 2 years as you want them to care about yours, you will be disappointed.

Another thing to keep in mind: it is natural to block the experience into its 2 year chunk, comparing the before and after of your life. But for all the other people in your life this is just an arbitrary 2 year chunk. It means nothing to them. They won’t remember what it was like exactly when you left. They probably won’t even remember exactly when you left. As PCVs I think we have a tendency to see the world as revolving around us. After all, we’re saving the world. Shouldn’t everyone else stop and watch? We need to avoid that thinking. If you can be open minded and accepting towards reintegration and other people’s experiences during the time you were away, your reintegration will be a big success.




Think about the things that I wrote. But also just enjoy it like you should. There is definitely a balance to be struck between thinking about the future, which will be waiting there for you whenever you choose to face it, and living in the now. The incredibly spectacular, unique, once-in-a-lifetime now that you have.


59 Responses to “What They Won’t Tell You at COS About Life After Peace Corps”

  1. Wayne Burt Says:

    Wow you are back man. This is the type of writing that has kept me interested for the last couple of years. Now this needs to get to the current PCV’s and I’m not sure how many follow you. I think this should go in the next FOA newsletter as a guest editorial.

  2. icenugget Says:

    Thanks Wayne! Glad you’re still reading and commenting. I would be happy to share it with FOA. I’m going to send it to some of the current PCVs as well. I had them in mind when I wrote it.

  3. The Time Has Not Flown | Ev's Travels Says:

    […] and a language test and health insurance and lots and lots of information. (And there will be some things they won’t tell us, as explained by my former site mate in his […]

  4. girlfawkes Says:

    Thanks for this post! I’m a current PCV with only 4 months left. I was so excited about NCS when I first applied for Peace Corps. When the sequester hit, I cried inside. There goes my chance to really use the one thing I was coveting. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of what I want to do after my service and I just came up with: spreadsheets and exactly what I’m doing now but with a real salary. That’s not going to get me very far in America.

    With only 4 months left, I’ve started emailing my contacts fishing for leads.

    I really liked your last section on everyone else living their lives as well. It is hard to wrap your mind around that. When I was on vacation I found that Peace Corps service made a really good pickup line, but after about 5 minutes no one cared.

  5. girlfawkes Says:

    Reblogged this on Adventures and commented:
    Great post about the realities of coming home to America, including the sequester’s effect on our oh so lovely non-competitive eligibility.

  6. icenugget Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it! Don’t give up on NCS. Prove me wrong. I just want to offer a dose of reality. The more you focus on a diverse range of jobs rather than just NCS jobs, the better off you’ll be. Getting a job is largely a game of volume and luck. Spreadsheet skills can get you far in life, by the way 🙂

    Good luck and thanks for the comment.

  7. runpirate Says:

    After being back for 5 years, I only recently had my first professional breakthrough because of my PC service. And it was free job (but a good resume builder). None of my employers have really cared. It is always good for conversation, but after that they glaze over.

    Another really shitty piece about returning is that if you try to buy a house, your PC “income” becomes part of your history for the mortgage. It is fairly easy to explain, but still added a huge element of difficulty to that process (I bought a house after being back for 2 years in June 2009).

    • icenugget Says:

      Wow, that is a great insight! I never thought about PC’s effect on my income history when applying for a mortgage. Thanks runpirate! Keep the insights coming people!

      I only recently broke my string of unemployment. I have an upcoming article drafted all about it. What I learned is that many won’t appreciate your service, but there are some that do. Many will question it and you need to be able to spin it into a positive that proves you fit their needs. Again, volume is crucial when applying so that you do reach those somewhat rare people who will really value what you did – as they should.

  8. Leigh M Says:

    Whew….I’m a current PCV just beginning my service (projected COS is 6/2015). Being an ‘older’ volunteer, I can attest to everything you say in this article. I haven’t been through this exact situation before, but prepping for a quick two years (because it WILL pass quickly) and not setting hopes too high are great pieces of advice. I’m glad I came into this service not necessarily intending to return to the States after I COS. Yes, the NCS was enticing, but honestly, if you’ve never in your life applied for a government job, you’re in for a real treat during the application process. Think the PC app was bad? heh heh heh…you’ll scream if you apply for anything with any sort of security clearance. I’m learning what I’ve heard is one of the most difficult languages (Azerbaijani), and am thinking if I don’t go crazy during the next two years, I might look for a position with an international aid org right here. Why waste the training? And maybe, just maybe, I can find a way to replenish my savings enough to do something like this again. Cheers.

    • icenugget Says:

      Enjoy your service Leigh! I always wanted to just walk over the mountains of Vardenis and explore the hated Azerbaijan. Every country in the Caucasus will tell you that their language is the hardest in the world to master. 😉 Don’t listen to them. You can do it.

  9. carowhack Says:

    I’ve been an RPCV for 9 months now and wish I had read this blog post a year ago, haha. A dialect of Ukrainian and Russian combined is completely useless on a resume, definitely. And finding a job was painful and difficult. Luckily I don’t hate my parents and was able to move back home for a bit. That’s another thing PC should tell you – don’t be afraid to move back in with your parents. You won’t be the only one 🙂

    • icenugget Says:

      Exactly. I lived with my parents for over 7 months in the year since I’ve been an RPCV. It is a reality of today’s world and coincidentally a custom in many of the countries we serve in.

      • carowhack Says:

        so true. most of the world lives with their parents (or other family) until they marry and start new families!! we’re the weird ones 🙂 Where did you serve?

  10. Welcome Says:

    Welcome to the real world. Time to grow up and realize that the world does not owe you anything.

    • icenugget Says:

      Pretty sure most PCVs experience more real world than any internet curmudgeon. Also, people who say “welcome to the real world” are inherently bitter in my experience. Lighten up! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  11. Caitlin Haugen Says:

    Yep. Everything you say is spot on. It has been over 10 years for me, though, and it does all work out eventually. All the RPCVs I served with have great jobs.

    • icenugget Says:

      Thanks for reassuring us Caitlin! I think it takes all the cards in the deck a while to fall into place, but I believe you’re right…RPCVs find success.

  12. Chien-Li Chung Says:

    It’s been about 20 years since I COSed, and I think PC was a terrific experience. It’s almost a prerequisite if you want to work in International Development. RPCVs make terrific employees and entrepreneurs because they have worked in a very fluid environment without much structure/guidance.

  13. Welcome Says:

    I was a PCV and have experienced far more than you ever would, and thanks young child for calling me at my youngish age a curmudgeon. Just illustrates the entitled and immature attitude of your generation.

    • codyhough Says:

      You’re just being rude now, please try and stay away from generalizations. Immature and entitled generation? Yeah getting loans tossed at us while being expected to pay SS that we will almost certainly never receive sure is entitled.

    • icenugget Says:

      Welcome, your classic display of PCV one-ups-manship and lack of logic or understanding of the word curmudgeon have all brought a smile to my face this evening. 🙂

  14. Malia Campanella Says:

    Thanks for sharing…wish I saw this BEFORE I joined the PC 🙂 There’s too little focus on coming home, which has been the toughest part.

    • icenugget Says:

      Yes, many would agree. I still feel caught between two worlds today (over a year after COS), although to a lesser extent now. Perhaps it’s the fact that all the hardships you go through during your two years are temporary while the changed person you are and how you must cope with that as you make yourself fit back into society are things that stay with you forever.

  15. Andrew Goetzmann Says:

    Thanks for the info. I am leaving for the PC in 2 weeks and appreciate your insight. I too was/am excited about NCE but now… Anyway thanks for taking the time.

    • icenugget Says:

      Have fun Andrew! And congratulations on getting through the application process. Don’t let negative nancies like me spoil your enthusiasm for NCE. I think it could definitely help if you are truly pursuing a federal job (I wasn’t). I’d love to hear that in a few years you have secured a job with the feds, putting all your newly learned skills to work for the betterment of our country!

  16. doodle Says:

    Hilarious. Wise. True. Thank you!

  17. sean Says:

    Great reading all of the comments above. RPCV myself – Ecuador ’83-85 – so COS was a long time ago for me. PC was a gas – what a great experience – so many lessons learned to use in whatever you do. Take your time -re-entry is a bit of shock. Have fun, lighten up as you say. Find something that brings half the excitement of PC and you’ll be alright. Best of luck–

  18. SpaceOddity Says:

    I’m filling out my Peace Corps application now and my biggest doubts are how competitive my resume will be once my service is done. Coming across this article makes me worry even more!
    I just got my Masters in Anthropology though and would love to ultimately work overseas in International relations.

    Peace Corps has got to help with that, right???

    • icenugget Says:

      Yes. Don’t worry. You will probably find a great job after your Peace Corps experience. If you want to work overseas in international relations, then you are about to make a lot of great contacts and set yourself apart from the pack.

      People who want to return to the corporate America world post-PC will have their work cut out for them, but if I can do it, others can too.

  19. ASAP Says:

    Thank you for all of this great discussion. I am about to graduate with my Masters in Social Work and joining the Peace Corps has always been in the back of my mind. I’m at a bit of a cross roads as to whether I should take the traditional route or go full force- and become a PCV! …I’ll start the app tonight 😀

    • icenugget Says:

      It seems that if PC is sticking in your mind like peanut butter over a long period of time, then you will have the drive, passion, and determination to make it a great experience. Good for you!

  20. laurpick Says:

    Great article. I am an RPCV, and post-Peace Corps, I chose to stay in the country where I did my service. It was the best career choice I ever made. I did most of third year as a volunteer at a UN agency, then moved into a job coordinating a development project. Now three years later I’m still working in development, now with a federal job in another country. If you want a career in international development and aren’t going to grad school right after PC, seriously consider trying to find a job in the country where you served. It’s the place where the skills you acquired during PC will be most valuable. Yes, it’s more time living in semi-poverty, but it can really pay off.

  21. Possible PC Says:

    What job did you end up getting and how long?
    I tend to plan ahead and am reactivating application. However, I have so many questions! I am uncertain if I should pursue a social work degree before or after, or how to prepare myself for future jobs and such.
    I am afraid that PC will set me behind is why.

    This is something I want to do though, but I have many commitments to my family that I fear I will be delaying it.

    • icenugget Says:

      I took a job in the insurance industry, which took me about 5 months to nab. There was another offer early in the aerospace industry early on, which I had to decline.

      I would probably do a social work degree after as PC may influence your life enough to the point where it will impact what you want to study. It will also give you real world experience if you are just finishing up undergrad.

      PC will not set you behind necessarily. It can seem like that, I know. “I’m not earning money. I’m not gaining technical skills like I need to. I’m not ____.” But it sets you apart in a good way in many other ways. You have to acknowledge that side of it too.

      • Possible PC Says:

        Thank you. You are so great with answering everyone back and I am sure it is appreciated! I am deciding whether to pursue in Social Work or be a Nurse Midwife, since I may be working with doctors for labor and delivery. We shall see :)!

  22. xhobonk Says:

    Reblogged this on dude, where's my gomar? and commented:
    With my Peace Corps service over, I find myself job hunting, which this awesome blogger aptly calls “The toughest job youll ever hate” (peace corps call itself the toughest job youll ever love). I decided to reblog because I wanted to write about this and this blogger really nails it. Why reinvent the wheel?

  23. Kevin Kronenfeld Says:

    I am glad you wrote this. I had the same experience as a PCV in India as an intern but I still wanted to join the PC after the my internship. I am going to serve in 2015 and I am super excited but realistic. Development work is a a selfless act where recognition is non-existent and the workload is exuberant. As for the work, projects I have learned about are hard to complete. I should know, for my internship I had lack of materials and supervision to complete it, but after my term ended, I realized that development work is hit and miss; you need to keep pushing yourself for something for something yo come out of it.

    As for when you return and for the interactions you encounter; you hit it right on the dot. You have to realize that you are not the only one in the room with an experience. We live our day to day lives with a new experience every day and living in a different country does not make us better than anybody else in the room. We need to humble ourselves to what we have learned in our experiences to learn from others that may have had a 9-5 job in the States.

    When it comes to jobs, I think people need to realize that expectations are complete bull. I have to reiterate that realism has to be the mindset when entering the job market. Talking and asking for informational interviews are the best to see if the job that you want, is right for you.

    I do disagree with you that PC sets you up for failure though. People just think they have the keys to the kingdom when they get selected, and that is not the case. You have to work hard to get what you need in life. NCS are supplements to help you, not to give you access to the entire world.

    I really liked your article because it is realistic and informative to what people don’t realize. Some people just want to have their cake and eat it too and that is not the case.

    • Kevin Kronenfeld Says:

      ^Sorry for all the typos

    • icenugget Says:

      Kevin, thanks for the comment. Agree with your tips on the job market. The market has improved since I wrote this piece, so hopefully newer RPCVs are having more luck.

      Also, just wanted to make clear that I was not arguing that PC sets you up for failure. Could they do more? Yeah, probably. But what I was really trying to express here is that PCVs need to be their own advocates and take steps to secure their futures. I think if you have a look through the rest of my blog, you’ll get a sense for how I viewed PC – that it’s a great organization, not without its flaws, that allows people like you and me to have life-altering experiences. I don’t want my words to be mistaken.

  24. Alice Says:

    I love this article. I will be leaving for my service in Ethiopia in 3 weeks. I am turning 40 in a few months and the Peace Corps is something that I have always wanted to do, so I am just doing it. I am a little scared but I hope and pray that it will work out just fine.

    • icenugget Says:

      Alice, I am excited for you. The Peace Corps is definitely a scary dream, but knowing that you are about to embark on a life-altering journey brings a smile to my face. You will do great. Enjoy your service!

  25. WarrenHall Crain Says:

    Lots of good ideas here. Our COS conference is next week. Reading this has been helpful “feedforward” (Is there such a word?) WALLY

  26. KuzcoRock Says:

    This is really helpful. I’m graduating this fall with dual bachelor degree in Peace and Global Studies and I have an associates degree in Diversity and Community Studies. I just submitted my application to Thailand, Ukraine, and Paraguay and now I have to wait to see how that goes. I’m thinking long term and I think that I either want to join the Foreign Service through the State Department or maybe the Clandenstine service in the CIA. Is it true that if you serve in the Peace corps, you can’t work for the CIA?

    • icenugget Says:

      Kuzco, I believe you can’t serve in PC if you were in the CIA. I don’t know of any restrictions on working in the CIA after PC.

      If your goal is State or CIA, consider strongly the language of the countries where you want to serve. I don’t know if you can change the countries at this point, but I would try to go to a place with a critical needs language and basically learn one for “free” during PC, and then be that much more marketable while applying with the feds. From the group you submitted, I would choose Ukraine and then hope to learn Russian (nothing against Ukrainian of course). But right now I don’t think Russian is considered critical (was in the recent past though).

  27. Jen Says:

    Hey this was really helpful as a pcv a week away from cos, really puts things into perspective!

    • icenugget Says:

      Thanks Jen. Enjoy COS – it is one of the last great chances you’ll have to be with your fellow volunteers.

  28. Readjusting | Sanne Bergh Says:

    […] What They Won’t Tell You at COS About Life After Peace Corps. […]

  29. Genesis Says:

    I am currently in graduate school studying Global Affairs, and I have one more year left till I graduate. I was planning on doing Peace Corps because I am interested in humanitarian aid and development so therefore I was thinking about applying for USAID. As of right now, it is hard for me to look for any federal jobs. I was hoping that if joining the Peace Corps would help open doors, especially with the NCS.

    • icenugget Says:

      Hi Genesis,

      I would highly encourage you to pursue Peace Corps. Take what I said about NCS with a grain of salt, as I was a rather salty unemployed person at the time I wrote this post. I’m sure NCS has helped some folks. But more importantly, PC will set you up with the grassroots development experience that an agency like USAID craves. One caveat: if you are doing PC as a stepping stone to something else in your career, it may be a long two years. Ask yourself if you really want to do PC in and of itself. If the answer is yes, then volunteer your heart out.

  30. Yadezi Says:

    Great realistic take. A lot of people who join the pc are well off and live of mommy and daddy money or retired. This was a nice reflection of the “average joe” who decided to join! Don’t know what ill do COS but it sure as hell wont be anything related to what im working on here in the PC! haha

  31. Rod Says:

    How much will being a PCV help you if you want to transition to a career in International Relations (specifically Diplomacy) afterwards?

  32. samantha Says:

    I now work for the fed gov’t and Peace Corps provided no assistance (NCS/or other) in obtaining employment. I cannot speak highly of my experience and to be honest, I never talk about my service because who really cares. I do speak some Cebuano to Filipinos when I hear their accents and they smile and respond. But that and a dollar will buy you a cup of coffee. My service recognition paper was framed but sits in a drawer with my other awards from previous employment.

    I think the experience could have been more positive PC had allowed me to contact RPCV’s, and get the real scoop about service, but all the phone numbers given to me were not working.

    And, the cover-up about sexual assaults–our med director lied to my face when I inquired-did not reflect well on the integrity of this organization. I began to question why, after 40 years, PC was still present in the Philippines. You would think that after 4 decades, they could get their shit together and tell the US gov’t that help is no longer needed. But the inertia of history is difficult to slow or even stop so group after group is trained and deployed to our former colony.

    When asked by friends to speak to prospective PC volunteers, I tell them that yes, you gain language skills, learn survival skills, make friends, etc, but overall, the negatives vastly outweigh the positives.
    Integrity, honest discussions about security issues, especially for women, the joke of NCS when you return, exit interview information that is circular filed after your departure are just starters. I conclude by stating that I cannot support the agency and end by referring them to the Youtube video of the sexual assault problems faced by women that served in Peace Corps and the cover-up by the organization. Yes, you should re-evaluate your decision. Some individuals I speak with change their minds; others–the ones hell bent on changing the world, do not. See ya–maayo nga paagi

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