In this next blog post, I wanted to describe the Pre-Service and Staging events/training process if you are interested in Peace Corps service or know someone who might be. I had no idea what to expect after accepting my invitation, so I thought it would be helpful to those who may be interested. Hopefully, this entry will give you a good idea of what to expect once you accept your invitation to serve.
After I accepted my invitation, the pre-service information rapidly filled my email inbox. The three main email categories were legal, medical, and transportation clearance. All of these would take a few months to complete. Everyone is different, which can dictate the various tasks assigned to you. First, legal approval contains two main types: a background investigation and the submission of fingerprint cards. These tasks were the easiest to complete and were self-explanatory; however, if you have heard anything about joining the Peace Corps, you might know how difficult the medical clearance is.
While medical clearance is a long and strenuous process, it is imperative to keep a level head and understand you will likely get approved as long as you stay on top of your tasks. As I said above, everyone is different; therefore, tasks assigned to you are based on the information you provided in your initial application. For this clearance process, you are given an individual nurse who you will communicate with, and the nurse will support you through the process. Luckily, I finished my clearance over a month before staging; however, several of the members in my group finished it just days before their flights. Stay vigilant on your assigned tasks, and keep going! After completing clearance, my nurse wrote, “If you can finish the medical clearance, serving in the Peace Corps will be a walk in the park!”
The final aspect of clearance was transportation. This task was similar to legal approval due to the ease of the assignment. All you needed to complete was a ‘no fee’ Peace Corps passport application. For this task, you will complete a document through transportation.gov that is straightforward. After completion, you will notify the legal and transportation unit for the Peace Corps that you have completed the necessary tasks. Even though you will likely finish this task first, you will not gain access to the passport until you meet your group for staging.
Finally, pre-training has a vital task that you will complete before staging begins called Learning Space. Essentially, Learning Space is a Peace Corps application similar to Canvas/Schoology/Moodle, where you will upload documents, complete tasks, and can contact members of your cohort/staff. Once you gain access to Learning Space, there are four assignments you must complete by a specific deadline. These tasks are an updated resume, an aspiration statement (what you intend to gain from your service), a photo of yourself (similar to an ID photo), and a pre-departure survey. Moreover, Learning Space has several objectives you will complete before staging ranging from basic language training to safety and security module instruction. I recommend finding times to complete these tasks and stay ahead of the requirements. They are all very easy and straightforward, depending on your placement and language skills. I highly recommend writing flashcards for the language material they provide!
Now that I have covered all of the pre-service training information, I will describe staging before leaving for your post. Staging for Peace Corps involves a meeting for several days before you travel to your assigned country, where you will receive important information. I am expected to depart for North Macedonia on September 26, 2022; however, the cohort will meet in Washington, D.C., on September 23, 2022. During this event, you will gain vital information on entry to your country. Staging consists of a day and an evening to review core expectations, goals, and commitment to Peace Corps Service. Also, it was a great way to meet your group members and get to know them better. Our staging event was in Washington D.C., but I have heard other groups have been in Philadelphia and other Eastern American cities. Hopefully, this information has given you insight into the pre-service and staging process! If you have any questions about the information, please reach out!
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