Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pick one!

The Peace Corps interview went well, I think. I spent a couple hours at the Boston office, got asked a bunch of questions about different situations, got to watch a 15 minute video on other people's experiences in the Peace Corps, and got to also ask a lot of questions that I had. When all that was done, I was given a list of possible nominations for Peace Corps opportunities. (After the interview, you get nominated for one position and then your case gets transferred to the Washington, DC office.) Based on my background and qualifications, I was given the following list of choices (listed with time of departure, area of service, and possible type of work being requested by the host country):

1) July, Africa, school-base information technology
2) late August, Caribbean, requires 1 year of experience in information technology management
3) September, Pacific islands, computer science / IT related
4) October, Africa, computer science / IT related
5) October, Pacific islands, willing/able to teach secondary/post secondary school, computer science/ IT related
6) July, Africa, primary math resource teacher (i.e. teach primary school math teachers)

From this list, it is obvious that the computer science / information skills are in highest demand. I had also expressed an interest in more hands-on construction type work building water supplies and sanitary systems, but since there are no degree requirements for it, there were no open positions looking as far out as next March.

Before I made my choice, my interviewer also stressed that I should not get too attached to my choice as it could turn out I receive an invitation to a completely different location than what I chose. The invitations are generally sent out based on the current need and the best fit for the applicants skills. In my interviewer's case, she had been nominated for a Pacific islands position but instead received an invitation to Uganda (which is where she ended up going). She said it was probably best that I didn't find any construction related positions that were of interest as I most-likely would have been rerouted to a computer science position based on my skills and the more difficulty they have in filling those positions.

So, with that said, I have reached my decision. I told my interviewer that I'd prefer the first position on the list - July, somewhere in Africa (there's a list of about 20 countries it might be!) doing information technology work in a school. The location of Pacific islands or Caribbean did have some definite appeal (I love the ocean!), but doing IT work at a school sounded like something I'd definitely be good at and would at the same time possibly benefit a large number of people. And I am after all signing up for this to help people, not to find the most exotic location to live for two years.

Now I'll have to wait and see when and where I really get invited.