As I near the end of my Peace Corps service, I have been deeply engaged in developing and confirming my plans for the future. Sometime during my first year of Peace Corps service whilst taking advantage of time for self reflection, I decided my new goal post-PC was to work next with Corrymeela post-conflict reconciliation center in Northern Ireland. After my first couple of interviews, I wasn't so sure that the dream would become a reality. I had turned in my application back in November 2011, looking to apply for the Long-term Volunteer position. I'm sure you are thinking I'm a bit crazy... another volunteer stint?? I guess the best way to explain is to say it's the experience that I'm after. Anyhow, the staff came back with a second position they wanted to consider me for as well. So, I interviewed for it all. In the end, though, I was both over and under-qualified for the positions available. My spirits a bit deflated I started to change gears and look elsewhere, but in late May was given another shot at a new type of work with Corrymeela. Three times a charm, it seems, as I was offered a position as Training and Facilitation Assistant starting in September 2012!
Frequently prior to joining the Peace Corps, I was told by professors, friends, and family alike that the experience may not be all that relevant to my life goals and plans. Determined however to fulfill my childhood dream and see it through, I took up my volunteer service in Paraguay with gusto. After 2 years, I feel I must report back to the neigh-sayers: Peace Corps is an awesome step to boost one's career. During my interview(s), particularly the last, my answers to virtually every question from dealing with ambiguous situations to conflict resolution to constructive criticism techniques could be backed up with real life examples from my work in Peace Corps Paraguay. It wasn't only that I could speak in broad strokes about my service over the last 2 years- I was giving examples of work and life from that very same week. I know that my service with Peace Corps has opened more than one door to me that were previously closed. I have learned endless new skills both for my personal and professional life and development. Thank you Peace Corps!
Now for the Next Step: Northern Ireland.