Glossary (aka RPCV Lingo)

Glossary with each letter on separate post-it note

The RPCV Health Crusade Glossary collects some of the lingo (aka terms and acronyms) that are often referenced within the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) community.

Glossary of Acronyms

CDCountry Director
COSClose of Service
DOLDepartment of Labor
EPCV (or ERPCV)Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteer
FECAFederal Employee Compensation Act
HCNHost Country National
NCENon-competitive Eligibility
PCMOPeace Corps Medical Officer
PCIPeace Corps Invitee
PCTPeace Corps Trainee
PCVPeace Corps Volunteer (currently serving)
PCVLPeace Corps Volunteer Leader
RPCVReturned Peace Corps Volunteer
R/PCVReturned and (currently serving) Peace Corps Volunteer

Glossary of Terms

To bridge the gap, some of the definitions were provided by RPCVs to represent how the RPCV community understand and utilize the terms. Thanks Kate!

Administrative Separation (ad-sep)Under the Peace Corps Act, the Peace Corps Trainee or Peace Corps Volunteer may be terminated at any time at the pleasure of the President, who delegated that authority to the Director of Peace Corps; this generally applies for removing the PCT/PCV for non-medical reasons; currently under certain circumstance, PCTs may have the option to resign instead of being ad-separated
ApplicantSomeone who started (but not completed or abandoned) the Peace Corps Volunteer application process
CounterpartHost country national who is performing an equivalent role to the Peace Corps Volunteer
Early TerminationLeaving Peace Corps service before the formal end of the full term of volunteer service; this could be voluntary (decision by PCV) or involuntary (decision by Peace Corps); there are four types:
– resignation
– medical separation
– administrative separation
– interrupted service
Evacuation (country)Suspension of Peace Corps service in the host country and departure of some or all Peace Corps Volunteers in the host country either permanently or temporarily for operational reasons
Evacuation (PCV)Peace Corps assists the individual Peace Corps Volunteer in leaving the host country for reasons beyond the PCV’s control like needing medical evaluation or care not available in country
Host CountryCountry hosting the Peace Corps Volunteers under the Peace Corps program
Host Country NationalResident or citizen of the country hosting the Peace Corps Volunteers
In-CountryReferring to physically being (or events happening) in the host country
In-ServicePeriod of time as a Peace Corps Volunteer performing volunteer services in the host country
Interrupted ServiceWhen the Country Director determines there are circumstances beyond the control of the Peace Corps Trainee or Peace Corps Volunteer where s/he needs to leave the service assignment.
Medical ClearanceThe process of meeting medical qualifications within applying for Peace Corps service; check out our Resource Library for ways to save money on medical clearance needs
Medical Evacuation (med-evac)Peace Corps removes/evacuates the Peace Corps Trainee or Peace Corps Volunteer from the host country to receive medical assistance that is not available in country
Medical SeparationPeace Corps makes the decision for early termination when the Peace Corps Trainee or Peace Corps Volunteer develops a medical condition that Peace Corps cannot medically accommodate or resolve in a pre-designated window of time (currently 45 days); the PCV/PCT generally has the option to appeal this decision
Non-Competitive EligibilityHiring authority status where the RPCV (meet qualifications) is eligible for certain federal positions without competing with the general public
Peace Corps ActThe Peace Corps Act of 1961 is the law that established the Peace Corps as a federal agency that trains and sends Americans to volunteer abroad
Peace Corps InviteeSomeone who received a formal invitation to be a Peace Corps Volunteer and is going through the clearance process
Peace Corps OathThe official pledge/oath taken by Peace Corps Trainees to become a Peace Corps Volunteer; PCTs must be told their options in including or excluding certain verbiage of the oath
Peace Corps TraineeSomeone who is currently going through staging or training to be a Peace Corps Volunteer
Peace Corps TrainingThe training activities over 2-3 months to become a Peace Corps Volunteer; the activities typically include orientation on language, culture, and overview of the assignment
Peace Corps VolunteerSomeone who has completed Peace Corps training and taken the Peace Corps oath to perform volunteer services in the host country
Peace Corps Volunteer LeaderPeace Corps Volunteer who extended service into a third year for a specific project initiative
Post-ServicePeriod of time after the Peace Corps Volunteer reaches a Close of Service; applicable regardless of how long it has been since service
Pre-ServicePeriod of time before taking the Peace Corps oath; this typically includes staging and training
Readjustment AllowanceFinancial amount allocated to the Peace Corps Volunteer at Close of Service to assist with readjusting to life after Peace Corps
ResignationDecision made by the Peace Corps Trainee or Peace Corps Volunteer to leave Peace Corps service before the full (2 year) service is completed
Returned Peace Corps VolunteerSomeone who was a Peace Corps Volunteer and reached a Close of Service status; and once a RPCV, forever the RPCV!
Reverse Culture ShockTransitional feelings of navigating a return to a life after Peace Corps service; this can be a very challenging stage
StagingPeriod of time before Peace Corps Training begins to address some preliminary or administrative needs before arrival in the host country
Swearing InProcess or ceremony of taking the Peace Corps Oath to become a Peace Corps Volunteer
The Three GoalsThe overarching mission of the Peace Corps based on three goals/principles (not verbatim):
First Goal: to help the host country’s need in certain skilled personnel
Second Goal: to help promote a better understanding of Americans to host country nationals
Third Goal: to help promote a better understanding of the host country and host country nationals to Americans

Any More Terms or Acronyms?

Help us expand (or correct) this Glossary of RPCV terms and acronyms. If you know of any additions or corrections, let us know.

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