April 1, 2007 - Sunday
Peace Corps - The Beginning
Well, this may be the start of something new. Read on to follow my train of thought.
I thought about joining the Peace Corps when I was younger - like in high school. That never happened - I wisely decided to get a college education. But the Peace Corps bug has got me again. I know I want to work in the developing world - that is my response to my spiritual belief system that says that I should help the poor. According to the world's standards, I am rich - very very rich. This makes me feel the need to use my resources to help the have nots. Anyway, in a year (if all goes according to plan) I will have a master's of public health. Some people tell me this is my opportunity to finally go make "the big bucks". Somehow, that doesn't appeal to me. I don't have any dream job in mind upon degree completion, I just know I don't want to keep doing what I am doing forever (hence getting the master's degree in the first place). And I do know that I want a change of scenery - Rochester winters are getting old.
But the one thing I do know is that I want to work in the developing world and the only way I know how to effectively do that is to live there. I'd feel artificial any other way - how can you really know the needs of a community unless you live there? But living in the developing world is a scary thought. This is when I came back to the Peace Corps idea. I wouldn't mind being a missionary, but the whole connotation of "missionary" rubs me the wrong way. Plus being a missionary has a wide range of possibilities and support systems (or lack thereof). The appeal of the PC is that it has been around for a long time, has three months of training and has a stable support system.
So last week I went to a PC info session at RIT. I learned that they give you language training, which I find really cool (not to mention really useful). In watching the video about PC volunteers all over the world, I kept thinking, I can see myself doing that. It seems to me that the experience that I have amassed thus far in my life makes me useful to the PC and the PC has the support system to give me the confidence and tools I need to succeed in this type of work. Plus, I have nothing holding me here (i.e. no children). The timing just seems right.
I am a bit apprehensive about the two year commitment - what if I am uncomfortable or homesick or whatever? I have decided to give my anxieties to God - if He wants me to do this, He won't give me anything I can't handle. So I am praying that God will guide me and tell me if this is what He wants me to do with the next phase of my life. I find it interesting that today is the start of holy week and I am starting down this path. I know a lot of my friends out there don't believe in all this Jesus mumbo-jumbo, but it's a big part of who I am. You can skip over the Jesus stuff if you want - I won't be offended. :)
So it looks like I am going to apply to the PC this summer for departure in May of 2008 after graduation. I will probably keep my eyes open for jobs and other opportunities during the application process, just in case I see something interesting. But the point of this blog is that if I do end up in the third world, I will want to blog what is going on for all my friends and family to read while I am away. So I decided to blog my PC thoughts and experiences from the very beginning.
So there it is - thanks for reading!