If you’re looking for an adventure in your gap year or want to be able to travel for free while giving back to society, then joining the Peace Corps is ideal for you. It’s not something that you do as a career. Instead, it’s a 2-year period of leadership training that can take you to countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Central America that need your help. You can be a Peace Corps volunteer no matter what age you are, whether in your early twenties or in your late sixties.
As a Peace Corps volunteer, you can create your own position if you like. You will be able to work closely with other cultures and people, and you will be able to make significant contributions to their lives as you do so. Additionally, your accommodation for the period of time is provided, you are given a stipend to spend and a sum of money when you get back home to help you make your transition back into everyday life.
Peace Corps volunteers have a threefold mission. They help the people of the interested country in meeting their need for training for their men and women. They help create an understanding of Americans among the community they are serving, as well as help to promote a better understanding of other cultures and communities among Americans.
Volunteers for Peace Corps work in the areas of education, community building and development and youth outreach, agriculture and environment, business development, information technology and health and HIV/AIDS relief. Within these areas of responsibility, there are several different kinds of roles you can play.
Volunteers work in hospitals, schools and with governments, as well as with entrepreneurs. They help to enable the community to cope with changing needs in health, education, business, IT, environment and the agriculture. There can be a great sense of satisfaction from teaching English to doctors and nurses in Mongolia, for instance, or playing sports with local children in poor communities of Bolivia. If you believe in service and are great working with people, then the Peace Corps will give you a highly satisfying outlet to serve.
Benefits for volunteers
Volunteers receive many benefits in the two years they work with the Peace Corps. As a volunteer, you will start out with three months of in-country training. During this time, you will receive language and technical training, as well as cross-cultural training regarding the culture you will be entering. You will receive travel expenses to and from the country of service.
You will receive student loan assistance, an allowance of $7425 (pre-tax) when you return at the end of service, a monthly living and housing allowance based on the country you go to, full medical coverage, including dental, 48 paid vacation days and unique opportunities in grad school. You will also be offered leave for family emergencies. After service, you will also be given leave in case you have family emergencies. You also don’t need any fee to participate.
Applying for the Peace Corps
The application process can be long. You will begin by having to fill in an application, where you’ll be asked about your volunteering experiences and two essays. Next, you will have to show up for an interview. This is important as recruiters use the interview to figure out which of the applicants will be unlikely to complete their term of service. They’ll also find out your skills and areas of expertise that can be used at the Peace Corps. Your ability to lead people and the ability to organize will all be considered, even if you only have hobbies that reveal these aspects of your character.
After this, nominations are made, and then nominees must clear medical and legal hurdles, obtain clearances after which an official invitation is sent. The applicant is given 10 days to confirm, and then your journey begins.
You have to be prepared to be sent to a country not of your choosing. While you will be asked where you want to work, the Peace Corps will send you where they need you. In the opinion of ex-volunteers, those volunteers are happiest when they are open-minded and flexible about where they are sent to serve.
Ex-volunteers say that they believe Peace Corps volunteers are some of the happiest people on earth. They believe in what they are doing, and have a strong sense of satisfaction. If you think Peace Corps is right for you, go ahead and sign up. It may change your life!
Photo 1 Credit
Photo 2 Credit