* Peace Corps

Where to Find Sweet Jobs After Peace Corps

Sweet RPCV jobs | Simply Intentional

UPDATE: A new, revised and more complete list is now available on our travel site! FIND IT HERE

Even though Jedd and I are not planning to return to the typical world of work until 2015 (and even then, we hope to be doing something more adventurous like teaching English in Japan, staffing the Semester At Sea ship, or starting our own online company), I’ve collected a valuable set of resources for job seekers nonetheless.

I know many current Volunteers as well as RPCVs (Returned Volunteers) are anxious about finding a job. Even more so, Peace Corps Volunteers tend to want work that is meaningful and a good use of their skills. Whether it’s in government, a non-profit, or a random gig on the other side of the world, these are the best sites I know of to get your job search started.

Continue reading “Where to Find Sweet Jobs After Peace Corps”

* Peace Corps

Peace Corps Third Goal Blogging: An Unofficial Guide

PC Third Goal Blogging

Back in August 2013, we were thrilled to be able to participate in Peace Corps’ Third Goal Summit in D.C. with the other winners of the Blog It Home contest. We gained a renewed motivation to use our blog for PC’s Third Goal: to promote a better understanding back home of this new country and culture we’re experiencing.

Peace Corps HQ: Blog It Home
Peace Corps HQ: Blog It Home

The Summit also sparked a whole lot of great ideas for Third Goal blogging and allowed us to collaborate with the other blog winners from Thailand, Ethiopia, and Mexico as well as the Office of Third Goal. 

We were learning so much from each other, we decided it would be worthwhile to put all our thoughts together and create a practical resource for Volunteers who want to use their blogs for the Third Goal. 

Blogging Guide

This guide, created by volunteers, for volunteers, has already helped us become better bloggers and better Third Goal ambassadors. It is meant to be an ongoing and collaborative effort, so additional suggestions and contributions are encouraged. We hope Volunteers around the world will find it useful.

Even bloggers outside of Peace Corps will find this guide useful for sharing about cross-cultural experiences, service or mission trips, and travel.


To access the guide, start with the links below. You can also find the pages in our tabs above, under Peace Corps Info.

Blogging About Third Goal

> Includes: Why you should consider blogging about Third Goal topics, and serves as a homepage for the other resources

Resources in the guide are:

Principles for Third Goal Bloggers 

> Includes: Simple steps to improve the quality of your blog writing so that you can become a more effective ambassador of your host country’s culture and increase your readership

How To: The Nuts and Bolts

> Includes: Practical tips and tricks from blog settings to getting ideas for content, great for beginners and those wanting to up their game

Blog Post Idea Bank

> Includes: An extensive list of ideas for Third Goal-related blog posts, with examples from recent PCV blogs, so you can keep your content fresh and interesting


Again, we’d love to include tips, ideas, and examples from other Volunteer bloggers around the world, so if that’s you, don’t hesitate to provide suggestions using the comment form at the bottom of each of those resource pages.


* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps, Videos

Jamaica by Jamaicans

Peace Corps’s Third Goal Office is hosting a video challenge for this year’s Peace Corps Week. Being the wanna-be film-maker that I am (and being partial to the Office of Third Goal who awarded us a free trip to DC last summer!), I had to do something.

Peace Corps has three primary goals for its volunteers, and the third goal focuses on raising awareness about our countries of service among Americans. Hence, the contest to depict what you wish Americans knew about your country in two minutes or less.

My strategy was to let Jamaicans speak for themselves (not too many PC countries can capitalize on their English-speaking counterparts). I’ve collected a lot of great interview footage over the two years, so hopefully I’ll get motivated to share more of that eventually.

Continue reading “Jamaica by Jamaicans”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Jamaican Eats

A fellow volunteer recently asked me how come it took so long for me to write about food, since she knows of my extreme passion for cooking and eating. I just forgot. Food is one of those things both highly celebrated or simply a part of day to day life.

As a traveller, one of the best things about living abroad in another country is getting to try all the new food that the country you are visiting/living in has to offer. If you are a Sociology geek such as myself, you’ll also love the rich cultural and historical context that food provides when getting to know a country. If you love to cook, learning a couple of local favorites is a great tool for integrating and earning respect. If you are a Peace Corps volunteer,  it’s also a great time to try different recipes and work on your cooking skills.

But in the end, for me, it’s all about eating. I love to eat.

Like many developing countries, Jamaican food is rich in tradition but more practically based upon what is accessible in terms of ingredients and equipment. In its most simplified form, Jamaican cooking can be summed up in 6 words: fresh, stewed, baked, steamed, fried, and jerked. The food nerd in me could talk for days about all of this but I’ll do my best to give you Continue reading “Jamaican Eats”

* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Thoughts for New Peace Corps Volunteers

We’ve started to hear from the incoming group of Volunteers (about 30 come to Jamaica each year) who will start their training in March. I know it’s an exciting time for them. When I was in their shoes, I was soaking up all the information I could find about Peace Corps in Jamaica. Being less than five months away from our departure, there are inevitably a good number of lessons we’ve learned on our journey. Maybe they can help the next generation of PCVs…

Continue reading “Thoughts for New Peace Corps Volunteers”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Cultural Lessons Learned from Event Planning

Westmoreland Parish Show
Westmoreland Parish Show

Last week Michelle and I represented the community center where I serve in the Westmoreland Parish Show, a town fair-like event for our area of the country. What was suppose to be one of- if not the- largest events of the year for our area, turned into a disappointment for the organizers because of the lack of attendance. It was a great example of some of the cultural challenges that Jamaicans face in community development, a lack of community involvement,  and organizing issues. I never realized how much I could learn from not a lot happening. Continue reading “Cultural Lessons Learned from Event Planning”

* Jedd Thoughts, * Life Updates

Everyday Thanksgiving

givethanks
Wherever you are in the world, whoever you are, as you read this I am hoping that you have something to be thankful for.

Amidst all the things going on in the world, specifically the misguided attention that the media and businesses try to emphasize regarding Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general, I’m asking that we consider this time right now as an opportunity to refocus and intentionally think about what it means to be thankful…before it’s too late. Too late for what?

Loss. Separation. Regret.

In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, in light of the terrible situation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, and reflecting on 20 months of being a volunteer, I’ve realized that if our world is ever going to change for the better, it will have to start with our values. We can start by being more appreciative of what we have at this moment because life can change in an instant. I will be the first to confess that I Continue reading “Everyday Thanksgiving”

* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Our Peace Corps Process: From Application to Moving In

bamboo avenue
Bamboo Avenue, South Coast highway, Jamaica

Values: Choosing Freedom October 2009. You could say this is where it all started. We were well on our way to buying a house but instead, we changed the trajectory of our lives.

The Waiting Game The challenges of being nominees in the Peace Corps application process- a process which apparently has changed since we’ve been serving in Jamaica (hopefully for the better).

You Want to Send Us Where? Things with our placement did not turn out as we expected. This was a difficult bump in the road but it turned out for the best.

Looking Back At 2011: Our Year In Review (VIDEO POST) With almost nine extra months on our hands before our new departure date, the door of opportunity swung wide open. 2011 was packed full of adventures we never dreamed were possible.

Peace Corps Invite!!!!!!!!! (VIDEO POST) A short video capturing the very exciting moment when we opened our official invitation. We knew the region in advance but were surprised to learn our country.

Crossing the Waters (VIDEO POST) In March 2012, we were finally off to meet the other 36 members of PCJ Group 83. The video depicts our transition from home- farewell parties and packing- to staging in Atlanta.

Community-Based Training (Part One) (VIDEO POST) Upon our arrival in Jamaica, we moved quickly from orientation in Kingston to our first home-stay community for several weeks of general training.

Life Pon di Hill and Rise and Shine: A Morning in the Life of a Trainee Here’s a glimpse into each of our “Hub” communities where we spent about 5 weeks doing sector-specific training while living with host families. The video on this page also shows more of the education sector’s Hub training.

Volunteer Shadowing (VIDEO POST) Having the chance during our training to shadow a currently serving Volunteer brought our soon-to-be life as a PCV that much closer.

Shortly after we arrived, these two were born.
Shortly after we arrived at site, these two characters were born in the yard. They’ve grown with us ever since.

Swearing In After about 10 weeks of training, we were finally sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers. Jedd was chosen to give one of the speeches at the ceremony (his speech transcript is included in this post).

Home Sweet Home (VIDEO POST) Before swearing in, we found out our permanent site placement and were able to visit for a few days. After swearing in, we got settled in to our apartment, got to know our amazing host parents in the house above us, and started work at the community center and school. (We also celebrated our 4th anniversary!)


There are many more posts from our Peace Corps journey, experiencing the ups and downs as well as sharing what we’ve learned about Jamaican culture… Browse here.

Uncategorized

Jamaican Public Transit (Part Two)

A large bus like this is called a Coaster. In our area, most are a bit smaller- like 14 passenger vans with a raised roof.
A large bus like this is called a Coaster. In our area, most are a bit smaller- like 14 passenger vans with a raised roof.

For more about Jamaican public transportation, see Part One. For more answers to current volunteer poll questions, see To Care Or Go Crazy and Current Volunteers Tell All.


Maximizing Space
Cramming as many people as possible in a bus or taxi is an all-too-common occurrence that we experience almost every day. The record that a volunteer has witnessed in a 5-seatbelt taxi is: 11 adults. Or 2 adults and 16 children. One person to a seat is just not that efficient (or profitable). Continue reading “Jamaican Public Transit (Part Two)”

* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

On the Road: Jamaican Public Transit (Part One)

bus
First bench of a bus: two adults smalling up with six kids

I don’t know why we haven’t really addressed Jamaican public transportation on our blog until now. It plays a major part of our daily lives and can be quite fascinating for those who are new to it. There’s a lot of fun stuff to cover when it comes to our route taxi and bus system, so we’ll break it up into two parts.

Who’s Who on Jamaican Public Transit Continue reading “On the Road: Jamaican Public Transit (Part One)”