1. Will your time in Peace Corps be challenging and life changing? Yes, without a doubt. Carpe diem!
2. Will you love every minute of your existence in Vanuatu? Very unlikely. Like the tides, your moods and feelings about Vanuatu and the Peace Corps will ebb and flow.
3. Will the staff and Volunteers of Peace Corps Vanuatu do their best to prepare you for life and work in Vanuatu? YES. But many challenges will remain.
4. Will the staff and Volunteers of Peace Corps Vanuatu provide the perfect training and all of your personal and professional needs? NO. There will be gaps and there will be mistakes. The system is not perfect, but it is well meaning and will strive for improvement. In my opinion, the opportunity to endure, overcome and even conquer challenges left to you and you alone, is an important component of the Peace Corps experience. This may not be appreciated in the present, but can be worn as a badge of honor and tribute to your abilities in the future.
5. Is the existence of the Peace Corps staff in Vanuatu all about serving PCVs and meeting all their needs? No. I prefer to consider everyone as part of a development team. Of course, we will serve and support PCVs needs, but we are all working together towards common project goals and objectives.
6. Will the assignments that you are given utilize all the education and life experiences that you will bring to Vanuatu? NO. This is a common expectation. Most of you will be community development workers with some sector (health, education, business) specialization. The most obvious skills that you possess may not be utilized at all, while skills and strengths you have never thought much about will be the ones that enable you to be effective facilitators of development at the grassroots level.
7. Will you learn or gain anything from this experience? YES. Most RPCVs report that they came away from their Volunteer experience feeling like they have received more than they have given. Peace Corps development work is slow and incremental. You will not always see the impact of your presence in your community, but over time we strongly believe that the impact occurs, and most of it is positive. Will you be satisfied knowing that a child has learned to read as a result of your presence? Will you value a simple health behavior change that you see in the family next door, resulting from your interaction? Will you appreciate the young mother who is generating a small amount of income after your help and encouragement and now she is able to send her child to school? These are just a few examples of tangible impact that you might witness during your time here.
8. Will Peace Corps provide you with financial resources to accomplish the tasks of your project? NO. Generally speaking, Peace Corps does not supply you with any work-related funding. Your work may involve assisting your community in acquiring grant funding for projects that they have deemed to be priorities, but we just helpers/facilitators in the process.
9. When I complete my training and go to my site will everything be in order and ready for my arrival? Probably not. You have a role in the development of your site and will be required to take over where staff have left off.
10. Will everyone at my site understand why I am there and the development philosophy of the Peace Corps? NO. Again, we will have started that process, but you will continue the process of preparing the community.
11. If I have a spouse will Peace Corps always cover the travel costs for both of us when I am required to travel on “project” related business? NO. If you and your spouse are working in different projects (health, education, economic development), Peace Corps will only cover the cost of travel and per diem for the person that is actually required to travel at the request of Peace Corps. If your spouse chooses to accompany you to the Peace Corps project event, they will responsible for all costs and will be required to request leave for the time away from site.