I served in Mali 2005-2007.
  1. Not everyone makes it
    Only about 30% of applicants get accepted. And then lots of people drop out early on in service.
  2. The application takes awhile.
    It took me almost a year, including the basic job application process, security clearance, medical checks, and matching.
  3. You can't control where you go.
    You can indicate a regional preference in your application, but you don't get to pick and choose.
  4. It's a pretty young scene
    Most folks are in their 20's right out of college. So it can be tough for the volunteers who are older and have different interests.
  5. Development is kind of fucked up
    This would be another list on another topic but the conventional development model is ineffective and often reproduces colonial dynamics. Peace Corps does lots of different kind of work, and I don't think all of it falls into that conventional model.
  6. It's super hard but amazing
    Peace Corps Volunteers serve all over and do tons of different kinds of jobs. Everyone has a different experience, but taking yourself into a totally different cultural setting is hard and wears you out in the beginning. But you'll get work done, feel confident, make amazing friends, and broaden your perspective. I absolutely loved my experience and am super proud to have been a PCV.
  7. Cultural immersion is terrifying/awesome
    You spend the first six months basically making an ass of yourself. But if you make it past that and learn the language, start building relationships in your community, and start understanding the subtext of day to day life, you'll learn to code switch your thinking. You'll have better perspective on Americans' obsession with our exceptionalism.
  8. There might be snakes and/or malaria
    It depends on where you're assigned, of course. They don't have snakes and malaria in Mongolia for example. But I have lots of stories about snakes and intestinal parasites. 🐍