Panel Discussion: Serving in the Peace Corps later in life by Thomas Badilla - Shared screen with speaker view
I am in San Bernardino CA -who
Will COVID19 hinder Peace Corps Volunteering
please mute participants
Please mute your mic during the presentation
I was reading 8 months time window is available not always requires 27 months
I was thinking this was for “volunteers later in life” like retirees? Is that not true?
Do you know when applications for summer of 2021 will open?
That's correct, Tese.
Hi Michael, yes this is for those who are 50+ (including retirees!) who want to join Peace Corps. We have four panelists who have served later in life who are talking about their experiences today.
yes I am 55+
Is there a limit to service? I thought it was a total of 5 years possible
I thought this was for older folks
I was expecting to see new volunteer opening opportunities in May. when will they be posted
@Josh. This panel is. Thomas is the host
Are you addressing older folks
@Diane, the openings will be posted June 1st
yes I thought it was for "older" too.
This panel is for "older" individuals
I live in California too1
What departure dates will the openings posted on June 1st be for?
@Michael Decker, the June 1st programs will be departing April, May and June 2021
is there a specific date when ops will resume?
@Bruce Kibler, we are closely monitoring the current situation with following guidance from CDC. At the moment, we have our programs set to depart from January to March 2021. These programs all have a July 1st application deadline.
I'm interested in environmentally related opportunities but I only noticed teaching English opportunities
I am a social worker with the LA County DCFS. Interested also in teaching English/development
@Allyce Ramadan, we have six sectors that our volunteers are placed in. Education, Health, Community Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture, and Youth in Development. You can find more information on our Environment programs here: https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/what-volunteers-do/#environment
what considerations to 55+ applicants need to think about when selecting positions to apply for
Did the bucket get stinky?
So you need a teaching credential in TESOL?
I am a lawyer, and I currently supervise 12 lawyers in a California state agency. Would there be a place for a lawyer? If so, what would/could I do?
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences Sonia.
Please make sure your microphones are muted!
Are there placements for couples?
Can someone talk about PC Response? I'd like consider both options. Thanks.
@Gretchen House, it is really a good idea to be flexible throughout the application & selection process. I would encourage you to connect with a recruiter to discuss your experiences, professional background to find the program(s) that would be a good fit for you!
@Maria O. You do not need a TESOL credential to work in our Education sector. However, a TESOL credential will make your a more competitive candidate
if I am an environmental professional would I require teaching credentials as my interest is not to teach English but rather environmental improvements such as waste water, fresh water, prevention of pollution, renewable energy, etc
Well all have done is a Social worker in Child Protection. Bilingual Spanish a bit of French. What can I serve?
@Maria O. You can served in Education or Youth in Development
PLEASE, MUTE YOUR MICROPHONES!!
@Frank Riela- Yes, we have had lawyers become PCVs throughout all of our six sectors. Some lawyers have done youth empowerment projects, advocacy within their village level, or worked on community development projects. I would highly encourage you to look at our current openings to see which programs would be interest to you and which areas you have the experiences in!
how easy/difficult is it to bring a healthy pet with for longer assignments
@Allyce- yes! A lot of those programs are exactly what our Environment volunteers do!
Most Peace Corps countries do not have language requirements. However, our Latin American countries do require Spanish, and a few African countries do require French
I heard there are shorter contract periods for seniors? Is that still the case?
@Debra Shelton. You cannot bring your pets to your country of service. Some volunteers adopted pets while in country, or have their friends and family bring over their pets
@Bruce Kibler: there are most certainly placement for couples! You can browse through our current openings, and on the filter selection you will see "couples accepted" to look through the programs. Some of our programs also will accept cross-sector couples as well so if you and your partner have different experiences, Peace Corps will be able to find a placement for you both. https://www.peacecorps.gov/stories/how-do-you-apply-peace-corps-couple/?_ga=2.188842603.1149074156.1589490904-715875719.1585079994
@Carole - I also thought 8 months contracts were available?
Thank you to the hosts. Unfortunately, I have to leave due to a 2:30 PM zoom meeting for my job! This has been great.
@Carole Badt- we do have a short-term high impact program known as Peace Corps Response. These programs run for 6-12 months.
@Frank Riela- Thank you for joining us!!
What is the maximum service time?
Are there opportunities for families with children?
Honestly what the real opportunities for olde folks!!! I just turned 69 last week.
Is there an age limit and is there a cut off age. I am 65 years old
@Bruce Kibler- 27 months minimum commitment, and you can extend up to 5 years in that country, but you can also apply to other countries as well! We have one of our older volunteers, who is an 83 year old woman who has done 3 different countries back to back! :)
his glass is first one empty, haha
Did any of the presenters have grandkids back in the states? How were they able to stay in touch?
@Daphne Jackson, no upper age limit at all.
Is health clearance more difficult for older volunteers?
@Fritz Ebner- serving with a partner/spouse is possible but will be difficult to serve with dependents. With Peace Corps having a minimum age of 18 years old, then if you have older children they will need to start their own separate application. It is not a guarantee though to serve with children.
Gotta go but thanks so much for the very valuable info!
I thought there were shorter stints like 4 months for professional needs in specific places at specific times.
Do you have to be an expert in a specific field in order to find a suitable placement?
We are collecting questions, and will answer them after the panel
This is for Maria Ontivero...there are loads of opportuntities to use your social work skills no matter what sector you end up in.
@Elise Neighbor. Each position has their own qualifications. Most positions do not require specific experience in that field, so long as you have a degree or a minimum of 5 years of professional experience
I'm interested in hearing more from the presenters about what its like serving as an older adult
@Michael Decker-Peace Corps has health and safety for our volunteers as top priority so just like any other candidate, the medical clearance is set in place to make sure that the country you are entering can accomodate your health/background. With that said, there may be certain countries that may or may not be acommodated and this will be assessed when you submit your Health History Form following the application process.
I just retired as a Registered Nurse, Living in the US, serving in peace corps has been my childhood dream. I am born in west Africa and had a peace corps geography teacher who inspired me
Thank you everyone for these fantastic questions. Please type in your questions for the wonderful panelists as well, and we are currently compiling these. :)
Are there ever any positions for the peace corps response for medical professionals in a Spanish speaking country without being fluent in Spanish ?
Does Peace Corps work with Medicare, or does the volunteer use the regular PC health insurance?
Any need for an RN
For those of you who have questions about the Medical Information, here is another great resource: https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/health-and-safety/medical-information-applicants/
@Anita Piotrowski. We do have Health programs in Spanish speaking countries. However, Most of our Latin American Countries do require some experience with Spanish
I am from Costa Rica and would love to volunteer there if possible. Had lived in the USA most of my life. I wonder if that would be possible. Came here as an exchange student in 1968 with AFS.
Are volunteers receiving any language instruction prior to leaving for their host countries?
@Daphne Jackson. I served with a RN during my time with Peace Corps, as a Health Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan
@Kathy Shellhammer. You will receive extensive language and culture training during your first 3 months of service
@Anita Piotrowski, here are the current openings for Peace Corps Response (PCR) Just as a heads up, we only have three programs for PCR only because these are usually made available as the requests come in, and due to the current COVID-19 situation, our openings are limited. But, you can sign up to receive notifications when new programs are posted! https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/response-openings/
What type of opportunities are available throughout East Asia and specifically in Chinese speaking countries? I speak Mandarin Chinese with business experience in private industry and professional background in higher education. Thank you.
Thanks Neng, did you have to take a language course
How often are volunteers asked to stay on longer than the original placement?
@Daphne Jackson. We learned the language during our first 3 months of service
Because I need to give 8-10 months notice at my work (I’m a teacher), I’m wondering about how much in advance I can find out about a placement?
@Eric Butler. When you are nearing your Close of Service (COS), you will be given the opportunity to extend your service if you wish to do so
how long can you extend for?
I have a background in journalism and more recently as a communications specialist for a university. Is it possible to use my communications skills, maybe to help a nonprofit start a website and do social media?
@Annette Bernier. Our East Asian Country used to be China, but we have closed that post.
Sonia , how were you able to raise funds for the electricity for your school
@Eric Butler. You can do a maximum of 5 years of Peace Corps service
@Susan Glairon. You can use your experience to help local organizations and business in their communications and marketing sector
What is your sense of continued funding for Peace Corps?
How are older adults viewed in the community they work?
What kind of barriers come in the initial month of service as a older person in PC
Thank you for the information, I have leave now. Thank you
@Toby Welch, majority of our programs are set to depart from 6-9 months following submitting your application. After you apply, within 2 months you will have the interview scheduled with our Placement Officers, and will find out if you have been nominated!
When you say you can do a maximum of 5 years of Peace corps service, do you mean in a single country/on a single assignment or total? I had heard if you were willing to serve in multiple countries and reapply between that you could serve sort of indefinitely.
I have more than a decade of experience working with hot glass, and 30 years of business. I’d love to lend these skills to the PC. Is glass too specific an interest to be of any help?
Is it possible to “defer” a placement?
Is there any assistance/support for really writing a good resume ? I understand the Peace Corps requires a detailed resume and we in America are used and encouraged to write small resumes.
@Toby Welch, In regards to funding we continue to have a bi-partisan support, and we have very strong advocacy work that our returned volunteers & alumni have been doing to express the importance of continuing the mission of Peace Corps.
@Stacey McKenna. Max of 5 years in a country. You can transfer to a new country, but you will have to reapply for that country
Awesome, that’s what I had heard. Thank you for clarifying!
@Toby Welch, if you have to defer your placement, then you would be encouraged to withdraw your application, but you can reapply with us again when you are ready to apply! Your application will be saved in our system for a year if you decide to reapply within that year, you do not have to start over.
We totally understand life can happen, so if you know you would have to withdraw your nomination, then I would encourage you to let your Placement Officers known asap :)
Thank you, Neng, and to the hosts and panelists! This presentation. Best wishes.
This presentation has been wonderful!
Thanks so much! I’ve learned a lot and am excited to apply in the near future. Gotta go to watch my niece’s virtual graduation from the University of New Mexico!!
@Catherine Conger, thank you for joining and big congrats to your niece!!
@Mario Ontivero. You can reach out to your local Recruiter for help with your resume. Peace Corps allows up to 3 pages for your resume
What fantastic experiences all. I love the commonalities across different placements.
Thank you all for sharing. I am so looking forward to serving in a couple of years.
I will be about 56 or so by then.
Thank you very much all volunteers! I ned to sign off, but I truly appreciate your time with us.
Are dietary issues if you're vegan/vegetarian an issue?
@Cheryl Smith. Most countries are accommodating. You can eat with your host family or you can cook for yourself
You can inform your host family, and they will adjust their dishes for you. if you choose not to cook for yourself
What are we allowed to take to the host country? One suitcase ? More? Books? PC pays for? Any vacation?
I need to leave the discussion but this was wonderfully informative. Thanks to everyone!
Thank you Judy!
Thank you for joining us Judy!
Are assignments usually taking over an established position vacated by another volunteer, or starting new projects?
Who would be the Peace Corp recruiter for the Detroit area?
@Barbara Builder https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/connect-with-a-recruiter/
you can enter your zip code and find one of our recruiters near you!
@Maria Ontivero. You can take any of your belongings with you, as long as they are safe. You get up to 2 luggages. PC will pay for your travel and bags. You get 2 vacation days per month. 24 a year, 48 total
@Connie Ferro. You can choose to continues the project of a Volunteer that was at your site, or you can choose to do your own projects
With the current COVID pandemic what conditions need to be met for getting volunteers back in the field?
Oh Bill, the basis of good leadership!! Way to go!
I understand that the PC application process is very competitive. What percentage of applicants are accepted? What percentage of OLDER volunteers are accepted?
What were some of the drawbacks (older RPCVs) that you experienced on account of your ages.
@Erin Ryan. We are getting our information about COVID19 as Congress and the CDC gets them. We are closely monitoring the situation, and we'll keep you updated as we receive more instructions and information
@ Jil. Thank you. It was a fabulous time.
@ Sue Anderson. Great question, and I would highly encourage you to work with a recruiter throughout this process. We are always looking for qualified candidates to apply to our programs, but one way to be competitive is to apply with "Serve Where Needed Most". Indicating your flexibility on your application this way can increase your chances. Highly encourage 50+ applicants to apply for Peace Corps!
Have finance/economics background, MBA, built and managed global business and have lived overseas and traveled extensively. Am interested in Community Economic Development or Peace Corp Response. Is PCR available for my skill set? Was thinking of PCR volunteer before 27 month in country.
Thank you so much! I have another Zoom meeting now, but this was very informative.
How did the panelist use their vacation time?
@Christopher Meyerhoff. You will be a great candidate for both program! PCR is a shorter time and you will only work on one project. If you want more flexibility and a longer time to work on projects I would recommend regular PC service. If you just want to do a short project then PCR
What the difference btwn PC and PCR?
Thanks Neng. Trying to dip my toe in the water so to speak. My impression is PCR are looking for very specific skill sets as opposed to general business management.
Are you usually on yourownwhen volunteering, or are there other volunteers working with you?
I'm interested in knowing how you handled home, car, etc. while you were gone?
@Christopher Meyerhoff. You are correct. PCR is reserved for RPCVs or professionals who have been in their fields for a long time
@Connie Ferro. It depends are you site placement. Some volunteers are in remote areas, while others are clustered together
I'm also curious about whether older volunteers keep/sell their home? How do you handle your "stuff" while volunteering for such a long time?
Thank you everyone!
If you could only get on the internet once a week, how did you stay in touch with Peace Corps?
Do they tend to place older volunteers in less remote, more "cushy" posts, or are they just as apt to get a placed in remote "bush" post?
@ Michael. Local cell phone.
Any information for health volunteers or persons with experience as a health volunteer?
Does traveling during a school break count against your vacation days?
If you are on social security is PC income deducted from your benefits?
Are you paid in country money or US currency?
1-How much is your PC allowance?
Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences. This has been very helpful and inspiring!
Are there many opportunities in Spanish speaking countries?
If you serve as a couple, do you each receive the $8,000?
@ Keron Blake, yes we definitely have a lot of our health programs looking for applicants who have an expressed interest in health education/outreach programs. We also have RN's or CNA's who have become PCVs but our health programs really focus on community building, prevention and outreach. We do not have Health volunteers providing any clinical care.
Regarding Economic Development opportunities, how frequently are tourism development and marketing positions available? FYI I have been and currently am a professional in the field of destination marketing and management since 1982.
Thank You all for your time and service!
I went tothe pages but it says ) opportunities.
@Michael Decker, this really depends on the country. You can actually combine your travel days with the national holidays at the host country, and the US holidays. If you are using the school holidays, you would still have to dip into your annual leave days
This is the link for connect with a recruiter!
Thank you for this session...very helpful!
Thanks again for your inspiration and time!
@Michael Decker. Your vacation policy depends on your Host Country Director and your post's policy. In Kyrgyzstan, Education volunteers can only take vacation during school breaks. If they are not taking vacation during breaks, they are expected to do secondary projects in their communities
Thank you so much! I will contact my local recruiter. I tried it a couple of years ago and the person was not very responsive. Maybe better luck this time! Thanks again.
Thank you, this has been great information.
@ Carol Wennerstrom: Yes, Social Security Benefits is counted as income, but your monthly stipend should not be affected. The one thing that may get affected is how much SSI benefits you will receive during your PC service, so please do check in with your SSI benefits regarding this.
Thank you for a wonderful presentation and questions from everyone!
@Eric Butler, the readjustment allowance is per volunteer so both you and your partner will receive separate readjustment allowance
Thank you! Very informative. Stay safe , stay home.
Thanks so much
Thank you for joining us!
Thank you for sharing your Peace Corps stories with us!!
Thank you everyone! Namaste