Difficulties Applying as a Couple
An issue I have encountered while applying to the Peace Corps is a lack of information regarding couples serving together in the Peace Corps. Serving as a couple in the Peace Corps has both its benefits and pitfalls as does anything you decide to do in life. The benefits can include having someone familiar to talk to, a support system, help fight loneliness, or someone to keep you going. The downside however may be that you will fight more, one might be more successful than the other, you may not spend any time together or may not spend any time a part, or that since you are both in new conditions you might not be able to communicate the same way you did before service. But if you decide that the benefits outweigh the issues you may face, here are some things to consider.
What it is like as a Couple
For the most part, serving as a couple is not much different than serving alone. The only real difference is that during your time there, you have someone else sharing a bedroom with you and someone that you know from back home to talk to. But you are not together the whole duration of service. During the first three months of training, you live with host families so they can “show you the ropes” and help you to learn the language faster. Also during this training, you and your significant other are separated from each other into different host families so that you better integrate into the group as well as the culture.
How You Can Do It
Applying as a couple is overall fairly easy. On the application they ask if you are applying as a couple and if you say yes, they ask for their name and that is pretty much it on the actually application. Later on when you get to pick your country preferences you must be careful because there are quite a few countries that cannot support couples serving together.
The process is also different depending on if you are married or dating. My girlfriend and I each had our individual Peace Corps interviews and then later in the week had a couples interview where he asked us about how we deal with conflicts together and how we think we will handle the stress of service and dating. A married couple in my girlfriend’s graduate school program did not have to have a couples interview, all they had to do was submit their marriage certificate as proof of their marriage.