What it’s like to serve in the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Public Service Announcement

Many have romantic and sometimes unrealistic ideas of what Peace Corps service is like. Enticed by ad campaigns that promise adventure in a foreign place, life-altering experiences and saving the world, it can be disheartening to encounter the realities of every day Peace Corps life. I’m not saying those things can’t be part of it and I’m not trying to diminish what Peace Corps stands for or even my own service. Though I’m young, joining the Peace Corps has been one of the best decisions I’ve made to date. That doesn’t mean there aren’t rough days though or that people don’t walk away from Peace Corps early and/or with a bad taste in their mouth.

Fun fact: Currently, 35 out of 100 volunteers serving will choose to early terminate before their service is complete. (Source)

Note: The above estimate seems a bit high in my opinion for those who choose to end early. There are many other factors including medical and administrative separation that can send a volunteer packing. For more detailed  information take a look at this report.

No matter who you are, you’re going to be thrown off a time or two, disappointed in yourself, frustrated with your work, with Peace Corps, with your host country.  But that’s OK. Learning to work through the challenges and pushing yourself personally is part of what can ultimately make it so rewarding.

I’ve noticed there seems to be similar threads to service (like what I listed just above) while at the same time drastic differences in experiences from volunteer to volunteer. These sort of things all depend on where a volunteer is placed, what sector they are working in, it can even come down to the host family they live with or one individual they work with. To get an idea of the variety of Peace Corps experiences just head on over to Peace Corps Journals where there are tons of blogs from applicants, PCVs and RPCVs from all over the world.

Otherwise here’s a few pieces written by PCVs and a website that I related to or thought applicable:

And a few other oddities of generally living abroad or being an expat:

And because memeing is fun and true:

Last but not least, perhaps my favorite, the gritty truth in a lovely musical parody put together by the volunteers in Vanuatu:

One Response to “What it’s like to serve in the Peace Corps”


  1. A different kind of celebrity « The Personette - September 18, 2012

    […] What it’s like to serve in the Peace Corps […]

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