To my friends and to my followers and to everyone I've met along the way, my Peace Corps experience is over. I received the official email from my Placement Officer today. You can read that below. I just want to thank everyone for the support. I could not have made it this far without it. I also want to thank the fellow applicants that I met. Craziness, right? For those that get an invite or already have it, I wish you the best on your travels! This blog will remain open for future applicants to have as a resource. Again, thanks everyone! PMA
Thank you for your email and I appreciate your explanation of your interest and motivation to join the Peace Corps. Unfortunately every country I have spoken with has agreed that they would not be able to accept you into their program because of your visible tattoos and body modifications. The reality is, Peace Corps Volunteers must be able to conform and assimilate into the cultures and communities they serve, and this includes their appearances. Because your tattoos and other body modifications are permanent, you would not be able to conform/modify properly enough as to ensure that 1) your safety and security would not be in jeopardy, 2) you would not ostracize yourself, or be found unapproachable, from local citizens, and therefore 3) you would be able to successfully perform the duties assigned to you for 27 months.
I understand your arguments, however you must be aware that surely the Peace Corps can say “whether or not [your] tattoos would cause any problems”. I am not making this decision sitting in an office in Washington DC. These decisions were made by the staff (both Americans and Host Country Nationals) in the countries we serve in. And trust me, the staff in Ukraine, or Jamaica, or Eastern Caribbean, or wherever, knows better than you or I do regarding how your visible tattoos and body modifications will be regarding in their countries.
I am deeply sorry Joey, however we are not going to be able to offer you an invitation to serve in the Peace Corps. This is not a reflection of your motivation nor your skill set, both of which are solid. This decision is based solely on your inability to modify your appearance in order to maintain a safe and productive service as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Finally heard from my Placement Specialist today. It has been weeks. Unfortunately, it wasn't good news. It was quite the opposite. He said that he had spoken to two different countries, both of which did not want me as a volunteer due to my tattoos (note: none are offensive). He said that he is going to talk to a third country and I should hear something within two weeks, however, he said that the outcome will most likely be the same. This being said, it was followed by a "you will not become a Peace Corps volunteer" more or less. Needless to say, this left me feeling completely horrible. I'm going to start job searching now. Oy. I wish I was told this three months ago while I was still in school. This messes up plans a lot. It also leaves me with a lot of anger towards discrimination, even if the Peace Corps says the other country didn't want tattoos. It still comes down to the PC's decision, and this is how it ended up. Lucky me, huh? Official PC decision in a couple weeks, I suppose. I don't expect it to change.
Good luck, fellow applicants.
Good luck, fellow applicants.