Wednesday, April 23, 2008


So when you think you're all done with the application process, the Peace Corps makes you write aspiration statements for your trip. These are given to your country office so that can get to know you better. Of course, everyone you talk to warns you about having too many expectations because you will just be disappointed. So I'm not sure if this is some cruel trick by the Peace Corps to get your hopes up only to have them crushed later. More likely, it's them trying to get you focused on what you are going to have to do and just have you think about what it will be like when you get to your assignment. My answers to their questions are below. Enjoy.

A. I am a very loyal person who is committed to serving whatever organization that I am currently involved with. I believe that every task should be taken seriously and that every person should be treated with respect. Although I know very little about the cultural nuances in Kazakhstan, I expect that I will be able to transfer these professional attributes to the work I do for my host organization during my Peace Corps service.

I have been told that if I enter the Peace Corps with any expectations, then I will probably be disappointed and frustrated. Despite this, I do have a number of aspirations I would like to fulfill. I want to learn more about the world, other cultures, and the people that are out there whom I would otherwise never get a chance to meet. I want to find a way to internalize those experiences so I can grow as a person. I want to learn a new language (or possibly two). I want to improve the world, even if that is only through the small interactions I have with my host family, friends, and coworkers that I encounter in Kazakhstan.

B. When working with my host country partners, I will emphasize relationships, communication, and respect. I know that when I begin my work, I will probably have trouble fully communicating, possibly feel overwhelmed, and wonder how I can be of most service to my organization. During this time, it will be as important for me to get to know the organization and my coworkers as it is to accomplish my initial tasks. I will seek to understand what the organization does and build relationships during my initial time there. I know these will pay off in the future. In addition to this, I will emphasize communication with my organization. I will attempt to keep an open dialogue with my supervisors so I am always aware of what their expectations for me are. I will also practice professionalism in my attire, attitude, and behavior. I know that as an outsider, people will be more apt to make quick judgments about me, especially if they have already been exposed to stereotypes. Therefore, I will always be conscious of what message my words and deeds are sending to others and respect my workplace and coworkers.

C. From my experiences traveling abroad to Ecuador and Peru, I have learned that a good sense of humor is important to adapting to a new culture. By that, I mean that being able to laugh at myself rather than get frustrated is crucial. In my experiences, most people are excited to show someone their culture if that person is truly interested in learning about it. I find new cultures extremely exciting, and I enthusiastically throw myself into it into them to the degree that I feel will be accepted by those around me. During my Peace Corps service, I will stay positive, show interest, keep an open mind, and enjoy the new experiences and culture I am exposed to.

D. During pre-service training, I hope to learn job skills, the language I will need, and any important cultural differences that will be needed at my work place. Because I know so little about my actual placement now, I do not know what skills I will need to learn during my pre-service training. Right now, I just hope to learn enough about Kazakhstan to adjust and feel comfortable with life there. During my initial months, I plan on applying myself to the material that we are given so I can become an effective volunteer once I move to my site. I also hope to build relationships with the other volunteers that I will use for psychic and professional support during my service.

E. I do not have any specific plans on what I will do when I am done with my Peace Corps service. Broadly, I want to enter the field of international development on some level. However, I am not sure with what organization, in what region, or in what manner. I know that I will gain experience in this field during my service, and I will use this experience to evaluate whether or not a career in development work is something I will continue to pursue. I hope to use the skills that I develop during my service in my future career. However, I expect that the Peace Corps will affect me in ways I cannot even imagine, and in light of this, planning my future aspirations before I even begin my experiences may be a little premature.

1 comment:

Catie said...

you're going to need psychic support? that's impressive. ;)