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I got a question! I got a question! Actually, I got several!

It's probably the former teacher in me coming out, but I love being asked questions. It gives me a chance to share knowledge when I know the other person wants to learn something. :D So you, gentle readers, are hereby informed: if you want to know something, ask.* Shoot me an email or click the "comment" link below the post.

What exactly is "Staging?"

It's the two-day period immediately preceding in-country training. It's your chance to meet your fellow Volunteers and get your first overview of Peace Corps values/processes/training before you leave the country. It's also your last chance to change your mind - to quit the Peace Corps - without consequences. Not that there are awful consequences later, but there's a little more at stake, plus you've met more of the people who you'd be letting down. It's a lot like the site visit weekend we had just before we began TFA training, aka Institute, aka Teachers' Boot Camp.

Do you get to decide what kind of project to work on?

Sort of. I'll definitely get to decide my secondary project(s), but my primary project is probably going to be previously determined by the Peace Corps. Not necessarily--I might be given an open-ended placement, where I'll work with the community to pick a project--but most volunteers are brought in with something specific in mind. The secondary projects, though, are at my discretion. As the name implies, they're not supposed to be my main focus, but are meant to be smaller, more focused projects. Volunteers often have more than one, hence the plural, even though my inner grammar hound wants to describe any after the first "secondary" project as as "tertiary" and "quaternary" projects. ;)

When do they tell you what you'll be doing?

I'll get my site assignment sometime in the end of April. I might find out then what my project is, if it's one of the predetermined ones, or if it's open-ended, I'll decide my project shortly thereafter. I should add the caveat: I think this is all accurate. There may well be something I've misunderstood, but this is my best understanding at this point.

How many other PC people will be in that same place with you?

Depends on the placement. Urban sites tend to have big clusters, rural sites are more likely to be in ones or twos. Environmental volunteers are usually in rural sites...but these are all tendencies, not rules. :)

* The exception is for things like our specific whereabouts, which I've agreed not to disclose. But I'll still email that kind of information to you, if I know you (and if you know my email!).

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps