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The Insider's Guide to the Peace Corps by Dillon Banerjee
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The Insider's Guide to the Peace Corps

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The Insider's Guide to the Peace Corps by Dillon Banerjee
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Apr 01, 2009 | ISBN 9781580089708

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  • Apr 01, 2009 | ISBN 9781580089708

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  • Nov 03, 2010 | ISBN 9780307768537

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“Dillon Banerjee has done a great service to anyone interested in becoming a  Peace Corps volunteer. He offers a wealth of practical information and realistic,  straightforward advice on key topics like foreign language competence, work  requirements and challenges, and housing. I highly recommended this book.”
—A. Peter Burleigh, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1997–1999), U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldive Republic (1995–1997), and Peace Corps Volunteer, Nepal (1963–1965)

 “A must read for anyone considering ‘the toughest job you’ll ever love,’ Dillon Banerjee’s honest and thorough guide provides advice for every stage of the journey. …Banerjee offers straightforward answers without any insincere fluff.”
—Sierra Club “The Green Life” Blog
“the perfect way to present information to readers who are undoubtedly brimming with very specific questions—about issues (seemingly) large and small—that no one else can seem to answer.”
—Campus Career Counselor

Table Of Contents

Acknowledgments   i
Peace Corps Acronyms   x
Preface   1
I. Pre-Application Jitters
   1.   What is the application process like? How long does it take?   4
   2.   Am I qualified to join the Peace Corps?   9
   3.   What if I’m married and we both want to join?   11
   4.   Can I serve in the Peace Corps with my boyfriend or girlfriend?   13
   5.   What will my Peace Corps experience be like if I’m an “older” volunteer?   14
   6.   What will my Peace Corps experience be like if I’m gay?   16
   7.   What will my Peace Corps experience be like if I’m a minority?   18
   8.   Will the two years go by quickly or slowly?   20
   9.   Will I be lonely?   22
   10.   What will I miss the most?   24
II.   How to Pack for a Two-Year Trip
   11.   What should I bring?   26
   12.   Can I really pack only eighty pounds to take with me?   30
   13.   What kinds of games and toys should I bring?   32
   14.   How many books should I bring?   33
   15.   What about the water? Will I need a purifier?   34
   16.   Can I bring my pet overseas with me?   36
III. Peace Corps Training—Learning the Ropes
   17.   What is training like?   38
   18.   How hard will it be to learn the language? What language(s) will I learn?   41
   19.   Will I have enough technical training to do my job?   43
IV. Managing Your Money
   20.   How will I get paid? Where will I keep my money?   46
   21.   Will I have enough money? Should I bring extra money with me?   48
V. Living Like the Locals
   22.   Will I live in a mud hut? Will I have electricity or running water?   52
   23.   How will I wash my clothes? Do my dishes? Clean my house?   55
   24.   What is the food like?   57
   25.   What if I’m a vegetarian?   58
   26.   Can I buy or adopt a pet overseas?   60
   27.   How will my neighbors and colleagues view me?   61
   28.   How will I travel around my work area?   63
VI. Common Medical and Safety Concerns
   29.   Will I get sick?   66
   30.   Will I get worms?   68
   31.   Will I lose weight? Gain weight?   70
   32.   What medical services will be available to me?   71
   33.   What if I become too sick to reach help?   74
   34.   What if I get pregnant or impregnate someone while I’m in the Peace Corps?   75
   35.   Is AIDS a big concern for Peace Corps volunteers?   77
   36.   What if there is a crisis and I have to be evacuated from my post?   79
   37.   Do local police and government officials harass volunteers?   80
   38.   Is sexual harassment a problem for female volunteers?   81
VII. Staying in Touch with Home
   39.   How will I receive mail in the Peace Corps?   84
   40.   Will people be able to send me things through the embassy’s diplomatic mail pouch?   88
   41.   Can I get magazine subscriptions sent to me?   89
   42.   Will I be able to call the States?   90
VIII. Peace Corps Gadgets and Technology
   43.    Will I have access to the Internet?   94
   44.   Should I bring my laptop?   96
   45.   Will I be able to use a cell phone in the field?   98
   46.   Should I bring a digital camera? GPS unit? MP3 player?   100
   47.   Do I need a shortwave radio?   102
IX. The Social Scene
   48.   How close will I live to another volunteer?   104
   49.   How often will I see other volunteers?   106
   50.   What is the drug and alcohol situation like?   108
   51.   What is the dating scene like in the Peace Corps?   110
   52.   What happens if I want to marry a host country national?   112
X. The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love?
   53.   What is the work schedule like?   114
   54.   How much supervision is there for volunteers in the field?   115
   55.   Will I work with other international development agencies while I’m overseas?   117
   56.   Is the Peace Corps effective as a development agency?   119
   57.   What are some common criticisms of the Peace Corps?   121
XI. Rules to Live By—Peace Corps Policy
   58.   Will I be able to have friends and family visit from the States?   124
   59.   How often do volunteers quit before their two years are over?   126
   60.   What is the procedure for quitting early?   129
   61.   Can I get kicked out of the Peace Corps?   131
   62.   How many volunteers extend their service beyond the first two years?   133
   63.   Will I be overseas for the whole two years or can I come home in between?   135
   64.   Can I transfer programs if I don’t like what I’m doing?   136
   65.   Can I transfer countries if I don’t like where I am?   138
   66.   Will I have access to embassy, commissary, and American Club services?   139
XII. Traveling Like a Pro
   67.   Will I have the opportunity to travel much during my two years as a volunteer?   142
   68.   Can I travel to other countries after my Peace Corps service is over?   144
   69.   Will I be issued a diplomatic passport?   146
XIII. Post–Peace Corps
   70.   How hard is readjusting to life back in the States?   148
   71.   Does the Peace Corps look good on a resume? Will it help me get into graduate school?   151
   72.   What is “noncompetitive eligibility” and what can it do for me?   153
   73.   Can I bring my Peace Corps pet back to the States with me?   154
   74.   Would you go back and do the Peace Corps all over again?   155
   A.   Peace Corps General Facts   158
   B.   Peace Corps Country Map   159
   C.   Peace Corps Programs Overview   160
   D.   Medical Information for Applicants   163
   E.   Peace Corps Master’s International Program   166
   F.   Peace Corps Regional Offices   169
   G.   Peace Corps Information Online   171
   H.    Vegetarian Questionnaire   173
   I.   Romantic Involvement Worksheet   175
   J.   Joining Peace Corps as a Couple   176
   K.   Volunteering at Age 50+   177
Index   179
About the Author   182

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