MJ Live

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Language Proficiency Interview (Written 12/8/05)

We have finally arrived at the second most important day of our training – the Language Proficiency Interview (LPI) in which we had to complete a 15 minute conversation totally in Samoan. We did the exams at the Peace Corps Office so we left the village at 7 am and got to Apia at 7:30am. So from the time I arrived at the office to the time of my interview I was studying my notes trying to prepare myself for the task ahead of me. It's funny that I actually felt like I was studying for finals – I was putting so much pressure on myself. As I said in a previous posting, I got a novice high in my practice interview and I was determined to get to the intermediate level in this real interview. A little boost in confidence came when we got the results of our exam from yesterday back – the top three were to be expected but Candice came in 4th and I came in 5th with 70 points (out of 100) so while I was happy in the back of my mind I knew I got my score more because people quite on the test rather then finish it (which proves my point that sometimes it's the person who's motivated rather than the 'better' person that wins). So I got the prize for being the most improved (it was a two person race between Dianne and I). So I waited around in the PC office for 3 hours – studying and chatting – until my interview at 11:30am. Before going, I said a little prayer to calm my nerves and told myself to just act naturally. The interview was recorded so the trainers could listen to them later (it was not a trainer that tested us) but I went in there with a game plan which was to keep me talking and her listening as much as possible. So as soon as she asked my name I gave her information on my age, my birth place, my college, etc. I gave her all the information I had prepared beforehand. She asked about my American family, when I came to Samoa, what I was doing in Samoa, what I did in America, what Samoan foods I liked and didn't like, what the differences in weather in Samoa and America were and about my Samoan family. So a lot of information was conveyed and I got her to laugh at my responses which relaxed me and let me know she understood what I was saying. So after her questions, I asked her my set of questions I had prepared beforehand and once again I got her to laugh which really made me feel more comfortable and made me think I was doing a good job – but then came the role play and it was one I hadn't worked on beforehand. I had to act like my family was throwing a Christmas party and I had to ask my mom what time the party started, what I should bring and if I could bring a friend. I was not ready at all for this role play but I limped through it and finished the interview. Setu said the interview took longer than it was suppose to but I was just relieved that it's over. We'll find out next Tuesday what our results are. But with the LPI over with, we are now officially done with language and one step closer to being true PC volunteers. So after my interview I just hung around the office again and waited for my interview with the country director (get it all done on the same day). So that interview was one to see if we were comfortable taking the oath on Wednesday to stay here for two years and to ask if we had any concerns about being in Samoa. I said I was fine and that I plan on completing my two years and another obstacle tumbles down. So once I was finally done with my interviews I went shopping for me farewell gifts for my family. Let me tell you, its hard to shop for a family that has almost everything Apia has to offer. So after walking around with Josh and Candice for about 2-3 hours I ended up buying a bowl (to either eat or wash in), clothes pin and an umbrella (plus what I brought from the states) – so that's not a bad bunch of useful of gifts (plus we hand them $300 tala cash). So we finally left Apia at 6pm for the village.

It's definitely hard to believe that a week from today we'll all be separated for the first time in 3 months. I'll definitely miss some people more than others, but this island is too small to be out of touch for long. Plus most of us are coming back to Falevao between Christmas and New Years – so we won't be separated for long. Now to take on the last week and obstacle of training – the swearing-in! L8r.

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