Volunteer Resource: The Peace Corps

If you’re from the US and interested in making a two-year commitment in exchange for the opportunity to volunteer abroad with the support of a large well-known organization, consider the Peace Corps. But wait…you knew that already! The Peace Corps is probably the highest profile name connected to volunteering abroad.

Just what makes it so special?

Peace Corps volunteers can work in a variety of countries around the world, and while a volunteer’s preference is taken into account, matching skills to posts which need to be filled takes priority. Volunteers can work in a variety of fields, but for English language teaching (or teacher training), a Bachelor’s Degree is required. While certification and experience are not required for every kind of position, they certainly help – the Peace Corps gets a lot of applicants and is extremely competitive.

The main reason many people join the Peace Corps is to feel that they are making a contribution to people in a developing country. The more tangible benefits include extensive training (including local language training), a resettlement allowance, a stipend while overseas, and the ability to defer education loans. Being a part of such a well-known volunteer program can’t really hurt your future job prospects either.

An organization this large almost demands detractors and the Peace Corps is no exception; some take issue with the fact that it is part of the US government. For an “altrenate” (read: less than glowing) view on the Peace Corps, glance through the appropriate section of How To Live Your Dream Of Volunteering Overseas and decide for yourself.

The application, which can be downloaded from the Peace Corps website, is sixteen pages long and asks for “at least” ten years of employment history information as well as essays on both your ability to adapt to cross-cultural situations and your motivation for applying to the Peace Corps. There is also space to list and describe community/volunteer work and practical experience. The whole process, from applying to starting, can take nine months.

So check out the official website, read about what it’s like to be a volunteer, and if it sounds good…apply! You may find somewhat similar opportunities in:
How To Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas
Alternatives To The Peace Corps