The final stages of your Peace Corps Application process comes with your location nomination and potential start date. We received our nomination and quickly received our next set of check-list items. The four check-list items seem easy but take some time. You will be required to sign up for 3 different Peace Corps portals: Learning Space, Medical Portal and Volunteer Portal. Also, if you want to make it that much more difficult you can be traveling through South America like us.
Your no fee passport application.
This includes filling out the DS-11 or DS-82 Passport forms depending on your current situation. If you do not have a Passport, you will apply for your Peace Corps Passport. If you already have your passport, you will send in your originally passport as part of the Peace Corps Passport process. However, if you will be or are currently using your Passport because you are traveling you have to have a certified copy, in our case signed and stamped at a US embassy or if you are in the US the post office. If the country you are being assigned to requires additional visa paperwork, there are a few more hoops to jump through.
Your medical clearance documentation as needed, via the Medical Portal.
The medical forms that you need are a Dental exam, Dental X-rays, MMR, Polio Booster (must be after you turn 18), TD, and Varicella vacination or proof of immunization. Women will have the additional pap smear. The last form is a medical compliance form that is a check list making sure you got everything done.
You will also need to complete a “general” physical exam that will require a check-up on the following: Head and neck, nose and sinuses, mouth and throat, thyroid, ears, eyes (including fundoscopic exam), lungs and chest, breasts, cardiac (rate, rhythm, heart sounds), peripheral pulses, abdomen, prostate exam (men over 50 only), anus and rectum, genetalia (including hernia), pelvic exam (females only), spine, musculoskeletal, neurologic, skin and lymphatics, any identifying marks, scars or tattoos, and psychiatric (specifying any significant cognitive or behavioral observations).
All of this does not include the lab tests required before the physical exam which consists of HIV, CBC, Hepatitis B surface Antigen, Hepititis C Antibody, G6PD titer, Basic Metabolic Panel, Urinalysis, and a Tuberculin Test. This is the most time consuming and my recommendation is if you have completed Part 1 and Part 2 of the Peace Corps process, you might want to start working on some of these. The trick is some of these must be recent, like within 6 months.
Your updated resume and aspiration statement, via the New Volunteer Portal
The resume has a set standard format that they expect. If you have a resume this should be pretty easy to complete. simply make sure everything is up to date and you include volunteer experiences.
The Aspiration Statement asks 5 specific questions:
- Identify three professional attributes that you plan to use during your Peace Corps service and how these will help meet your aspirations and commitment to service.
- Briefly identify two strategies for working effectively with host country partners to meet expressed needs.
- Your strategy for adapting to a new culture with respect to your own cultural background.
- The skills and knowledge you hope to gain during pre-service training to best serve your future community and project.
- How you think Peace Corps service will influence your personal and professional aspirations after your service ends.
It wasn’t until later on that additional activities and forms came up on our New Volunteer Portal. There are about 10 activities most of which have 1 to 2 yes/no questions. Some of the topics are about Direct Deposit (will need account and routing number), Beneficiaries in case of an emergency, allotment of your pay (towards loans, student loans, savings bonds, etc.), inquiry on any new criminal charges, your basic information update (address, name, etc.) and emergency contact information. There are also 4 forms, which most of the information is automatically updated from your activities section except one. There is one form where they ask you to write out what your plans are for after the Peace Corps and what you would do if your Peace Corps service was terminated before your official end date – basically what is your plan B.
Two online training modules, Safety and Security and Core Expectations via the Learning Portal
These are part of the PC Learning Space and don’t take much time or preparation. The format is a little confusing and didn’t work well with my netbook since everything wouldn’t display correctly. If you think of an online class module like moodle If you actually read through all the power point like slides before going to the question part it will take a bit longer, but most of the information is common sense. In all it took about 1 1/2 hours maximum to complete all the quizzes and completed the final exam and survey.