Do you love to travel and experience new cultures? Do you care about global issues and want to make a real impact? Are you looking for a unique experience to kick off your post-graduate journey? Like some of the world’s most successful leaders and trailblazers, you could join the Peace Corps.
An Opportunity with Endless Possibilities
The Peace Corps is a United States federal agency that tackles global issues through public service. Its 27-month program trains and positions volunteers across six sectors: health, education, youth in development, agriculture, environment, and community economic development.
Partnered with host countries around the world, the Peace Corps allows individuals to extend their knowledge, compassion, and resilience to communities that need it. “We [provide] support in a variety of capacities, but we do it in a collaborative manner,” says Nyassa Kollie, a Peace Corps Senior Recruiter for the Maryland area.
Gain Unique Skills
Joining the Peace Corps as a recent graduate is both a way to apply your skills and to gain new ones unique to the service experience. Not only does the program inspire creativity, flexibility, and collaboration, but it also cultivates a special intercultural competence.
You’ll get the chance to really immerse yourself in a new culture by creating valuable connections with its people and mastering a foreign language in the most organic way possible. “We’re learning about other cultures as well as sharing our own culture, and really kind of enhancing that multicultural, globalized friendship and partnership,” says Kollie.
“Each country’s context is so unique. I think the beauty about Peace Corps is that the country context determines these positions. And so, a position in the Philippines for coastal management resource might be totally different from a position in Peru as a health volunteer.”
Support in Every Way
The Peace Corps generously supports its volunteers in every aspect. The agency has taken initiatives to break down barriers to entry for service trips, allowing for more accessibility to prospective volunteers of diverse backgrounds and needs. “We’re trying to be bold and we’re trying to do unique things to meet the moment that we’re in. In a culturally responsive manner, but also in a way that honors the Peace Corps legacy” says Kollie.
The entire experience is fully funded, with health, food, travel, lodging, and all other necessary expenses covered. At the end of the program, volunteers receive a $10,000 readjustment stipend, the opportunity for a 25% graduate school tuition assistance, and exclusive, non-competitive eligibility for federal occupations. All in all, the Peace Corps “allows for you to live, play, and operate as a person” Kollie explains, without the weight of finances and job security.
The Application Process
The Peace Corps draws bold, curious, and service-oriented individuals to its program. They invite individuals who have a combination of skills and experience that reflect a genuine commitment to service and enthusiasm for their desired sector. This doesn’t necessarily mean only professional experiences, like jobs or internships. If you are active in any clubs or have volunteer experience in a certain area, you are already an attractive candidate.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with 3 deadlines throughout the year. If you are considering applying but haven’t graduated yet, the first step is to contact your local Peace Corps recruiter and consider enrolling in a Peace Corps Prep Program. Through a partnership between the Peace Corps and the School of Public Health, the University of Maryland offers this program, and it is available to any undergraduate student.
Join the Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is an incredibly rewarding experience with the opportunity to make a difference in the world’s most significant global issues. Kollie emphasizes that joining the program allows volunteers to “fulfill that internal desire to do more and to contribute to something bigger than themselves.”