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.