Pretty frequently these days, when I’m talking to someone they’ll ask me about my future Peace Corps service. The most frequent question: “Have you found out where you’re going yet?”
The answer is “No, I haven’t found out,” although I really wish I had. I have a fair amount of internet free time these day and I’d love to spend some of it looking around on the internet for information about my placement-to-be. The Peace Corps’ schedule is unpredictable and I could find out for real anytime from next week to August. In the meantime, here’s my take on potential placements:
1)Africa The most probable location as my nomination was for Francophone Africa. (In Peace Corps nomination is the tentative, possible placement and the invitation is the confirmed placement.)
Pros: Exciting, bad-ass, new, good exchange rate, proximity to elephants and lions.
Cons: Scary. Lack of electricity and clean drinking water. Whatever language I learn there won’t help me much else where. Proximity to malaria and gun-carrying local militias.
2)South America The least probable location. As far as I know, no PC program in South America requests university English teachers or English teacher trainers (my future jobs).
Pros: I already speak Spanish. Seems more familiar. Easy access to burros, cerveza and cocaine.
Cons: I already speak Spanish — no new language learning opportunities. Seems more familiar — boring and a little too close-to-home. Easy access to cocaine smugglers.
3) Eastern Europe This would be my first choice if I could choose. I think the cultures of Eastern Europe and Central Asia are really interesting. Plus, I really feel more comfortable around white people. (Kidding!)
Pros: I would get to wear my hand-knits. Cool local baked goods & potato-based dishes. Lots of interesting history.
Cons: High rate of alcoholism (Alcoholism is contagious, right? That’s what my observations of my college roommates has led me to believed). Not as exotic as other places. May result in becoming a communist.
4) Caribbean/South Pacific There was a musical named “South Pacific” — that’s gotta mean this place is cool, right? I mean, they don’t make musicals about boring plains states like Iowa or Oklahoma, right? (Wait a minute…)
Pros: Sunny beaches, year round temperate climate, first-rate pick-up football games due to the massive size of many Pacific Islanders. (Heavily recruited by West Coast high school & college football teams, btw).
Cons: Being stuck on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific, possibility of tsunamis, pressure to do the hula dance at social functions.
5)Asia I wouldn’t mind being Asian but I’m not so interested in going to Asia. (That was a weird sentence, huh?)
Pros: lots of doctors & IT
nerds people around, chance to learn Mandarin, the language of our future Chinese overlords, the chance to learn about a new culture (Southeast Asia — Thailand & Cambodia, etc. would genuinely be really cool!)
Cons: pollution, over-crowding, corruption & censorship. Need I say more?
So there’s the run-down. I’ll be sure to give an update when I actually get invited to serve somewhere!