FAQ . . . Thus Far

Since receiving my invitation to serve in October 2017, I have had many people ask me many questions regarding my service. So what better way to universalize my answers than to create a frequently asked questions post!

As I go through my training and service, my hope is to frequently update this post so I can keep you guys updated!

During this post and other blog posts, I will use acronyms and other shorthand words to describe my life for the next 2.5 years. Here are some common terms

  • PC – Peace Corps
  • PCV – Peace Corps volunteer
  • RPCV – returned Peace Corps volunteer
  • PST – pre-service training
  • Invitation – what PC calls the job offer
  • Swearing in – like the military, PC is funded and programmed by the government. Invitees go through extensive training, and when they have completed this training, they swear by oath to continue to do the work in which they were trained to do.

I guess I’ll stop rambling and answer the questions you’ve all been so curious about!

FAQ Thus Far

Where are you going? I will be in Guyana, South America. It is on the north coast of the continent between Venezuela and Suriname.

How is it pronounced? Guy – Ana

How long will you be there? My service will be a total of 27 months (3 months of training and 2 years as a sworn in PCV).

How long does training last? 10 weeks (so almost 3 months)

When do you leave? Simple question. Multiple answers.

  1. June 9th @ 10am – I will leave Champaign to go to Philadelphia and see some sites before having to meet for my PC staging.
  2. June 10th @ 6pm – meet for staging.
  3. June 12th @1:30am – leave for Guyana.

So I’m done seeing everyone and “gone” by June 9th but I will be officially out of the country on June 12.

Can you come home? If I pay for it.

The PC gives 2 days off every month. I’d rather use those days for traveling around Guyana and/or South America. Home is cool and all, but I’ve never considered myself a “home body.” I want to see the world while I’m already out of the country.

What will you be doing? This is a great question mainly because at this moment I only know what I was told in my interview and a couple of documents sent to me a couple months ago.

My official title (after I swear in) will be a Community Health Promotion Specialist. And basically that mouth full means I will volunteer within the health sector to promote health education among adolescents in Guyana through collaboration with teachers, medical professionals, community leaders, etc.

What are your daily tasks? To be answered when I am in Guyana.

Are you going by yourself? No. I will be going with, what I’ve heard from other RPCV, a larger cohort. My group/cohort, GUY31 will consist of around 45 people. Each PC sector of Guyana (health, education, and environment) will have around 15 people each.

Do you know anyone going? I do not know of anyone going to Guyana.

Do you get paid? Yes and no. While in country I will be given money to buy things like food and any other items I need.

How will I be able to contact you? Yes. I can receive paper and package mail, both ranging between 3-6 weeks to get to me. If you would like my mailing address, please send me a message on my CONTACT. Please note that my mailing address will change after August 15, 2018, because I will be moving to my permanent site.

Starting June 12, 2018 my phone number will no longer work. I will still have my iMessage account, Skype, the Whatsapp.

At this time I don’t know what kind of consistent internet access I’ll have, but I know that every so many weeks I can go to a place like an internet café. I prefer email and that can be found on my contact page of this blog!

Can you get care packages? UMMM YES! Pretty please. I will create a list of things people can send me and post it another time.

Do you have to learn Spanish? No. Guyana is officially an English speaking country. However will have to learn Guyanese Creole which is not like common French based language everyone assumes. Guyanese Creole is English with an Afro/Indo twist on it.

During my PST, I will be in intense language classes to learn their language.

Are you excited/scared/nervous? My answer to this every time is “Depends on the day you ask me!” Which is totally true. Some days I am excited. Some days I’m nervous. New journeys are always both, so it’s best to embrace what you’re feeling that day.

However, I would like to say that even though my feelings go back any forth, I have never in the past year since applying, felt cold feet. I am confident with choice and I am hopeful for this new adventure I am about to embark on.

What made you want to join Peace Corps? I decided to apply and join the Peace Corps for different reasons.

  1. Chance to Travel. If I ever chose to go back to school, I want to pursue a degree in physical therapy. PT currently has a good job market, so my thoughts are that I will will gave a job opportunity when I finish school, therefore not have time to travel and see the world.
  2. Volunteering. I have always enjoyed volunteering and doing things for others. After 2 terms of service with AmeriCorps, I wanted to challenge myself more and pursue a new volunteer experience.
  3. Resume builder. Although grades are important, the experiences you have will have greater impact on the future you want to have. PC will allow me to expand on the skills I have gained and teach me new skills.
  4. WHY NOT? There’s no better time than the present.

What are you plans after PC? I would like to eventually go back to school and get my Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT). But who knows? In 2.5 years I could change my mind and work at a NGO (non-governmental organization) like the Red Cross.

Did you have to get shots? Yes. The most difficult thing I personally faced was tracking down my vaccinations records. I needed know if I had all my basic childhood immunizations or if I needed still get them. Here were the list of the shot I got:

  • Yellow fever (hardest to track down)
  • Hep A and Hep B
  • 2nd varicella (or chicken pox)

I also have to take medication for malaria and typhoid.

Have you started packing? As of today? Nope. I honestly will probably wait until two days before I leave.

If you have more questions go to ASK MERE and I will answer them!!

Author: Meredith Brewer

My name is Meredith and I am a 24-year-old lifestyle blogger. I was born and raised in Central Illinois, but I recently lived in Guyana, South America, where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I started my first blog, Peace of Guyana, during my service in order to share my experiences with more people. Now I have started my second blog, Unbounded Adventures, as a lifestyle blog where I’ll be sharing whatever is going in my life. Whether I post about healthy living, traveling, my dog, or just life things, my goal is to inspire others to not forget to appreciate small things that bring happiness in life!

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