Thursday, May 5, 2011

Site Placement Interview

After shadowing, we all have a site placement interview with our program directors so that we can discuss how we feel after seeing and experiencing more around Botswana and how we think this will relate to our own satisfaction with placement. As part of this, we were given a survey to fill out to direct our thoughts and, theoretically, assist the staff in finding us our best sites for our needs.

I took great care in filling out my survey. I filled up every square inch of the survey with information and reasons for my sentiments and so on. (Yes, I was an over-achiever, I know you all are not surprised.) I took the same care during my interview, making sure that my program director knew everything that I am feeling since my shadowing experience because it really had impacted me. For instance, I realized that my greatest concerns with placement (after meeting with the volunteers I shadowed and the NGOs in that area) is working for an organization whose mission I can stand behind, support, and dedicate myself to (with colleagues that feel the same) and that I continue to grow my professional skills and use my experience. Sure, I would like to have indoor plumbing but I can live without it but my two years will not be well spent if I’m not actually doing something worthwhile. I also expressed a desire to be near a grocery store that has fruits and vegetables and that I prefer access to other volunteers as compared to waiting for a hitch for hours on end. I felt pretty good because I was getting it all out in the open, being honest and sincere, and letting her know my preferences. She seemed receptive.

At one point, I actually asked my program director flat out if she knew where she was going to place me and with what organization. She said yes.  (AHHHHH she already knows and isn’t telling!!!) She said that she knew from the first interview where she was going to place me. She explained that the placement process is like a giant puzzle where they move us each day according to new things they learn about each of us but that she always comes back to this one place for me. Not going to lie, this made me very excited because if I’m constantly bringing you back to one conclusion, to one place, then that’s probably right for me. And then, before leaving my interview, she said this: “I really value your maturity and your openness. This combined with your experience and knowledge will be very beneficial to you during your service. I hope you keep it when you get to your site.” Ummm, excuse me?! Does this mean that I’m going to be placed somewhere completely remote and difficult or was this a genuine compliment? Eek! Needless to say, I woke up this morning feeling a little anxious about my interview yesterday.

To calm my mind, I did a few sun salutations and listened to the roosters crow and crow and crow as the sun came up and I’m feeling at peace with the placement process again though. Everything to this point has worked out and I believe this will too. I don’t know where best to put myself so I need to trust them, and I do. If my placement director thinks this is the best place for me then it probably is and I will make the most of it. 


  1. Well that comment by your placement director is curious. It will be intersting to understand what she meant by that. But like you said, where ever you settle will be perfect and you will make a difference in the lives of the people you're helping. You've already made such an impact on your "brother" with your openess and willingness to communicate with'll be wonderful like you always are!! I love you.

  2. Yeah, I agree with Tina, you'll go exactly where you're needed and do an amazing job at it. Another thing to think about, too, is your CD might be thinking that you've got a really contagious personality that can really motivate people. It is a lot easier to work with folks that are already in love with their cause, but they might be thinking that there's a very worth while program that needs someone to motivate the staff to get behind their work. You are an advisor, after all, that would be a really great way of working with the organization in an advisory role. Certainly tougher, but at the end of the day, how much more rewarding would it be for everyone if you could help turn an organization around? Good luck, Tija! Where ever you land, you're going to rock it!

  3. I agree Kati..only a few more days till we all find out!