What to do after Peace Corps Early Termination

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“What should you do after Peace Corps?” is already a hard question. What happens when you add early termination to the mix? 

If you haven’t already, check out What’s Early Termination from Peace Corps Like? and How Early Termination Will Impact Your Life

ETing is sometimes part of change for the better. Take Cecilia Gregg for example. She made the right decision for herself to ET and move on. This is her story.

“…I didn’t earn non-competitive eligibility from Peace Corps, but my service still helped me get a job with the State Department.”

“As a Peace Corps Volunteer in China, I embraced the new challenges of the assignment and learned so much about the culture and people of my university, where I taught English. Still, life wasn’t always easy in Chongqing. The pollution, cultural differences, and rainy days were tough to handle, but I also lost my dad and a good friend to cancer while I was there. Luckily, I’d been able to say goodbye to both of them, but these personal issues, along with the health problems I encountered while in China–pneumonia and seasonal depression–left me feeling like I wasn’t supposed to be there. After 1 year of being in China, I started looking for other opportunities. I was offered a English Language Fellow position with the State Department. After 16 months as a PCV and many pro/cons lists, I decided to ET from Peace Corps China. 

Making the Decision

Looking back, I still think I made the best decision for myself.  During my decision, I sought the counsel and advice of the Assistant Country Director, and her words helped me feel at ease with the decision. She said “You have made more of an impact in your first year than most volunteers will make in 2 years.” Her words gave me the confidence that I served Peace Corps successfully. She confirmed what I already knew–that I had served Peace Corps and my university well, and that I had made an impact on my community.

Other People’s Reactions

Still, there were some awkward encounters and comments from other Volunteers, the Peace Corps community, and others that hurt. ETing has such a negative connotation in the PC. Volunteers, staff, and family that knew me and my reasons for leaving supported me through the transition and were excited about my job opportunity. The Volunteers and others who didn’t know me were harshly judgmental and questioned my decision.

 

Life After Peace Corps

 

Luckily, I can still look back on my experience as a positive one. I still add the Peace Corps to my resume. Although I did not earn non-competitive eligibility by serving in Peace Corps, my service still helped me get my job with the State Department. In the end, I know I made the right decision to leave. I am now teaching English in Palestine with the State Department and I’m thrilled to be serving another community that needs my help.”

 

 

We’re Serious.

ET Volunteers need more support. That’s why we offer Transition Advising to all Peace Corps affiliates. 

 

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