Peace Corps Plans!

So it’s official: I’ve just accepted an invitation to teach English in China with the Peace Corps. Here are some of the details I know or have been able to infer so far:

What:

  • Apparently it’s very rigorous work, with less free time than some Volunteers in other assignments might expect. This is probably good, esp. for the sake of keeping busy/getting right into the swing of things, etc.
  • Besides a primary job of teaching, I’m also expected to work on a secondary project, probably with others, especially during the summer. Working with a campus group, etc. Drama club sounds about up my alley….
  • I’m most likely going to be in a university, teaching English language (especially oral English) or content (eg literature) to university students and/or doing English teacher training work.
  • For more info, check out the official Peace Corps China page.

Where:

  • I know I’m bound for China, but not exactly where: final details of where exactly Volunteers end up are not determined until already in training in country, most likely.
  • Peace Corps operates currently in four provinces in the southwestern part of China: for those keeping score at home, those are Sichuan, Guizhou, Gansu, and Chongqing.
  • It’s likely that I could live in a pretty good sized city: could be one as “small” as 200,000 people or as large as twelve million, apparently.
  • It’s not going to be the mud-hut kind of experience you might picture when thinking about the Peace Corps. I’ll likely be living on or near the university in an apartment or other such housing, and not in a home stay.
  • Training takes place in Chengdu, the center for Peace Corps in China and a city of apparently some 11 million people. Also apparently home of many pandas.

When:

  • I’m scheduled to begin my Peace Corps service on June 29, 2010 with a couple of days of orientation or “staging” in the US, likely in San Francisco.
  • From there I depart for China, with Pre Service Training slated for July 1 – Sept 1 in Chengdu (some volunteers get more like three months of training, but I guess I only get two, for better or worse)
  • I then serve in whatever my center turns out to be from Sept 1, 2010 – Aug 10, 2012. So right around when the world is ending in 2012, I guess.

How: I’m definitely excited about this placement, as being placed in China was one of my best-case scenarios. It’ll of course be useful to learn Mandarin, and all things considered, it’s probs for the best that I won’t be having exactly a mud-hut experience. Of course, the whole thing doesn’t quite feel real at this point: really, China in just over six months? What a trip.

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