Peace Corps

  • Are you a United States citizen?
  • Are you interested in volunteering overseas?
  • Do you have a passion for cultural immersion?
  • Do you seek to develop problem-solving skills in a practical setting?

If so, then you might want to consider joining the Peace Corps.

Volunteer Opportunities

Peace corps volunteers generally serve for two years, but it is possible to extend this period to five years. The two year period serve as an intermediary, hands-on experience, honing on the problem-solving skills acquired in the classroom in a practical setting. The type of work a Volunteer does is ultimately determined by the needs of a host country and the potential of a Volunteer to contribute to those needs and to the Peace Corps’ mission. There are a wide variety of Volunteer positions to fill throughout the world; however, nearly all Volunteers fall under one of the following general categories.

  • Education Volunteers specialize in issues like health education, environmental awareness, English, math, and science.
  • Youth and Community Development Volunteers engage in a variety of projects concerning issues such as at-risk youth, adult literacy, health education, environmental awareness, and others.
  • Health Volunteers work in education, private businesses, public organizations, government offices, cooperatives, women’s and youth groups, and more.
  • Information and Communications Technology Volunteers help communitites by teaching computer and multimedia skills.
  • Agricultural Volunteers work with small farmers to increase food production while promoting environmental conservation practices.
  • Environment Volunteers work on a wide variety of activities, from teaching environmental awareness to planting trees within a community.
Application Process

The Peace Corps recommends that applicants submit applications as early as possible so skills can be matched to openings as they become available. Applicants should plan ahead and apply nine months to a year in advance of target departure dates. An expressed interest in a program area, volunteer experience, a college degree, and a commitment to public service are helpful in securing a volunteer assignment. While most volunteer positions only require a bachelor’s degree, certain programs may require certification, such as in special education. To be eligible for service, an applicant must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen. For more application information, go to peacecorps.gov.

Benefits

Peace Corps Volunteers receive the following benefits:

  • Student Loans: some are eligible for deferment and some partial cancellation.
  • Transition Funds: receive $7,425 (pre-tax after you complete your 27 months of service)
  • Free Travel: expenses for travel to and from your country of service are paid for.
  • Living Allowance: a monthly stipend to cover living and housing expenses.
  • Vacation: earn two vacation days per month of service.
  • Medical and Dental: receive complete medical and dental care while serving.
  • Health Insurance: an affordable plan is available for up to 18 months following service
  • Volunteers who complete two years of service receive one year of noncompetitive eligibility for employment in the federal government. This means that at the hiring agency’s discretion, if you meet the minimum qualifications for a position, you can be hired without going through the standard competitive process.
  • Educational Opportunities: Fellowships offered for enrollment in master’s and doctoral degree programs.
Fast Facts
  • The Peace Corps has thousands of volunteer opportunities for Americans aged 18 or over who are interested in public service abroad. One of the goals of the Peace Corps is to help the people of other countries gain a better understanding of Americans and our multicultural society. The agency actively recruits people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
  • Volunteers serve in 77 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Peace Corps Volunteers live, learn and work with a community overseas for 27 months.
  • The Peace Corps provides training in a foreign language, technical skills, and cross-cultural understanding. This, combined with the experience of living, learning, and working with a community overseas for 27 months, augments any career path.
Helpful Links

Peace Corps Website: http://www.peacecorps.gov/

National Peace Corps Association: http://peacecorpsconnect.org/

Peace Corp Worldwide: http://www.peacecorpsworldwide.org/

Yale Student Profile

“Serving in the Peace Corps was one of the hardest things I ever decided to do. There’s this romanticized thinking about the Peace Corps that the challenge is in living without running water or electricity for two years. But that wasn’t my experience. I actually had internet and a washing machine in my house.

For me, Peace Corps service was difficult because it taught me that no matter how smart I am, no matter my good intentions, no matter how well I speak the language, it is a challenge to say with confidence that a job is well done. It is a challenge to know where to being and in some ways easier to accept the paralysis caused by the potential harm your work could do. But it is also that challenge that makes the work so essential. Having the smartest, most dedicated people doing this work alongside local partners is the best way to work toward better demonstrations of impact and ultimately better outcomes for the individuals and communities whose goals we are working to make possible. Good intention in development is not sufficient; instead we need people who dedicate years of their lives and all of their critical thought to improving not just the lives of others but also the mechanisms by which those services are implemented.”

– Rebecca TeKolste, Yale Global Affairs MA ’18, Peace Corps Volunteer