So where are you going?
The Philippines. A nation that’s a collection of about 7,100 or so islands in southeast Asia. See the About page for the Philippines for more information and maps.
Where exactly in the Philippines are you going to be?
Right now, I don’t know. We won’t get our site placements until near the end of our 3 month training period.
How long are you going to be there?
Provided nothing brings me home early, my service will be 27 months.
Yep. The first three months are training and then there are two years of service as peace corps volunteers.
Will you be able to come home to visit?
Volunteers may use their vacation time to visit home if they like, but you have to pay the travel costs out of pocket. That said, I don’t forsee having the money to do that.
Can people come visit you?
Having visitors shouldn’t be a problem. Whether or not visitors will be able to stay with me will depend upon my living arrangements and the time of visits need to be planned around my work schedual.
So what exactly will you be doing?
I’ll be a BETA elementary ed volunteer . That stands for Basic Education and Technical Assistance. What exactly I’ll be doing is pretty flexible and will depend upon the needs of my community.
What about language? Do you speak…uh, whatever language they speak there…do you speak that already?
No, I don’t speak Tagalog (the official language of the Philippines) or any of the regional languages spoken there. We don’t know where we’re going to be placed until we arrive, so we don’t know what language we’ll need to learn until then (I believe that there are 8 main languages that PC trains you for). All the language training will be done in country.
From what I hear, the PC language training is excellent and for the first few months I’m going to have hours of intensive language classes on an a daily basis and an allowance to have a tutor afterwards, if I so desire. Also, classes are supposed to be taught in English- though I hear it’s common to find otherwise.
So, do you get paid for this?
Volunteers do get a “re-adjustment” allowance following COS. Basicly, you accrue a certain amount of money for each month that you serve and you can arrange for part of that to go toward any payments that need to be made during service or you can recieve it all in one lump sum at the end.
In terms of while you’re in country, you get a stipend that pays for rent, utilities, food, transportation, etc. It’s not a large sum, PC gives you enough to allow you to live at the level of your HCNs. In addition, you do get a small amount of vacation pay and you are reimbursed for some other expenditures, such as PC related travel.