What is the Peace Corps?

I’ve noticed that many people have a slight idea of what the Peace Corps is, what volunteers do and/or the process it takes to become a volunteer. But many aren’t sure how it all works unless they’ve been through some portion of it or know someone who has. Therefore, I just wanted to give people unfamiliar with the Peace Corps and the application process an idea of it so that what I write on my blog might make a little more sense.  : )

If you really want to know more about the Peace Corps I suggest going to the organization’s  Web site.

In a nutshell:

The Peace Corps is a government run organization/agency that provides the opportunity for U.S. citizens to volunteer abroad in various capacities while representing the United States.

How long do you go for?

There are three-months of in-country training in addition to two years of service. So it’s a 27 month commitment.

Do you get paid?

It is a volunteer position, but the Peace Corps provides a stipend to cover living expenses. The Peace Corps also takes care of the volunteer’s medical and dental needs. In short, I will be taken care of but will experience a humble living.

Where do you go?

Volunteers pretty much go all over the world, and the Peace Corps only sends people to countries where their service is requested through this partnership. In short: volunteers do not go where they are not wanted or places that are deemed unstable.

What do you do?

I will be teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). However, other opportunities include community development programs, working with youth, working in agriculture, health care or other teaching positions.

Do you get to pick where you go?

Nope. In order to serve in the Peace Corps applicants must be open to going wherever a program is found that meets the host country’s needs and the applicant’s skills and availability.  Once a person is selected for a particular program he or she can reject the invitation, but that doesn’t mean that person is going somewhere else more desirable.

The application process in a nut shell:

It ussually takes about a year from when a person first applies to the Peace Corps to actually being accepted into a program and being shipped off.  Check out my timeline which shows the steps I’ve taken. The process ussually goes something like this:

  1. Fill out and submit application
  2. Interview
  3. Nomination (This means the applicant is being considered for a program.)
  4. Background check and legal clearance.
  5. Dental and medical review and clearance.
  6. Invitation to a specific program in a specific country which must be accepted or denied within 10 days or receiving it. ( It is only after a person receives his or her invitation that the applicant will know when he or she is going and what country he or she will be in.)
  7. Shipped off to save the world!
%d bloggers like this: