View Full Version : Peace Corp

5-4-11, 8:28am

Sad Eyed Lady
5-4-11, 9:35am
I hope you realize your dream. I too have been intrigued from time to time over the years of serving in the Peace Corp, but that's as far as it has gone. You can learn a lot (their requirements etc) from their website. Keep us posted!

5-4-11, 8:04pm
I do not, but my friend did. She lost her job in downsizing and went to Africa for 2 years, loved it, and then came home and went to nursing school. So in a way it was a good transition into a new career, as she really did need to keep working and did not want to be without a house for the rest of her life. She is very happy as a nurse, but surg tech school (first) and nurisng school were tough.

It was a good transition to figure out what she wanted to do.

5-5-11, 12:31am
I have a friend who went for two years to Central America, and came back to (eventually) work for the State Department. She loved every minute of it -- said it was hard, but really put her back in touch with her own strengths and her own passions.

5-5-11, 6:10am
I think you might have a difficult time paying off cc debt, as I believe in most cases the living stipend is VERY modest, in line more with the standard of living in the host country, not with US wages. However, the education benefit is nice, and some graduate programs like to admit PC vets and some even have substantial extra scholarships (most of these programs are in international development and other fields that like people with overseas experience). One thing to know about the Peace Corps is that while you can state a country preference they do not always take this into account and you have to be willing to accept an assignment anywhere in the world. Many people who would like to come to China as PC volunteers actually don't apply to the program for this reason (decide to pursue other opportunities that guarantee they will get the chance to come here and learn Mandarin), and this year they had one volunteer who had a background in Swahili who was placed here for some reason. go figure. There is probably someone running around S. Africa or Zimbabwe speaking Mandarin. gotta love the way the gvt. works sometimes, but it is a good program overall.

I think it is harder to get accepted if you don't have particularly in-demand skills, but there is a lot of demand for people with technical, agricultural, medical and small business development/management expertise. Some countries (like China) need TESL teachers, and that is where a lot of generalists get placed. But if you have professional skills or hobbies (gardening, mechanical skills, etc.) that would be an asset you might want to try to emphasize those in your application.

Hope this works out for you, but if not you might also want to explore other ways of getting overseas experience. Living in a developing country has its challenges, but it can be a great experience and a great way to get ahead financially if you can manage to snag a job that pays a Western wage but you choose to live a more local style.


iris lily
5-5-11, 8:48am
I hope you realize your dream. I too have been intrigued from time to time over the years of serving in the Peace Corp, but that's as far as it has gone. You can learn a lot (their requirements etc) from their website. Keep us posted!

Ditto. When we first were married we went to an introductory Peace Corps recruiting session on the college campus where we lived, but never took it further than that. DH had agriculture bachelor's degree and a horticulture masters' degree and that's what they like (that, and engineers) and DH's qualifications would have got us in.

That was the brief period in our lives when we had no pets and no other obligations, and we never had any debt to pay off, and so were free to do that sort of thing. While I don't have big regrets about it, it's one of those paths not taken that I still think about.

5-9-11, 5:46pm
What were you planning on going to grad school to study?
I've always thought the Peace Corps sounded fascinating too. I might feel hesitant until the kids were fully fledged, though.

5-9-11, 6:42pm
We had one local couple here that went over to Africa a few years ago. They came back about a month later, turns out the villagers handed them a rifle upon their arrival, and told them part of their job was to shoot poachers, and that didn't work so well for them. Their interests were more in the direction of permaculture and appropriate technology.

Mangano's Gold
5-14-11, 4:55pm
Well, if I were thinking of joining the Peace Corp my overriding question would be: What can I contribute?

People with agricultural skills likely have a lot to contribute. Some business types may as well. General skills? I'm not so sure. I would see this as more of a cultural exchange than anything.

7-12-11, 12:51pm
I was in the Peace Corps and it was a wonderful experience for me and everyone I've ever met who has been in the Peace Corps. You will have low moments. The number one frustration for PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) is the feeling that you are not doing enough or making enough of a difference. The Peace Corps needs a wide range of skills. You'll be given health care, housing and enough to live on, but nothing extra so you would not have any money to pay off debts or credit card bills. When you return, there are some special graduate school programs just for retruned PCVs.

7-12-11, 1:47pm
I haven't been a PCV, though I have many friends who have, and they've had very, very different experiences. I have one friend who extended her stay for a year because the experience was so valuable. Two other friends (married) were placed in Turkmenistan, which they claim is the worst Peace Corps posting in the world. They still stayed for the full two years and had an amazing experience.

My understanding is that, as a PCV, you are a representative of the US State department and PCVs have sometimes gotten into serious trouble from criticizing or going against US foreign policy (especially foreign aid/development policy). Since I'm not very good at keeping my opinions to myself, I decided that probably wasn't a situation I wanted to be in. Perhaps Delaney has more insight into whether this is really true.

7-18-11, 12:47pm
I had two friends that were in the Peace Corps: One was in Central America and he was evacuted out of the country, no cool benefits awaited him when he got back to the States, so he was not too thrilled about it. The other is still in Moracco, he has another 8 months of duty. He got some horrible stomach thing, even though they had given him tons of shots. He had been training over two years (physical training to get his body in shape) and yet he still got sick. He is fine now, but there was a rough patch early on. charlie of morocco website (http://charlieofmorocco.blogspot.com/) is his website, to find out all about the Peace Corps.

One thought of course, most of the people that go into the Corps are younger, just starting their chosen careers and schooling. It would be interesting if you would actually get accepted, because of the phyical and mental stresses that you would have. I am not trying to dissuade you from applying, it just is a very rigorous way of life for a few years.

7-18-11, 2:45pm
Most PCVs are in their twenties, but people join at all ages. In my training group of 20 people, 2 guys were in their 30s, 1 woman was in her 40s and 3 men were in their 60s. Medical problems and accidents can be problematic---the roads are dangerous in Africa.

Some placements are very hard and you don't get any choice about where you are sent.

You are employed by the US Government, but i don't think anyone is monitoring what you do or say---you might be visited once by someone from the Peace corps during your two your tour. Most PCVs seem to have fairly radical ideas and many were pretty anti US government. (PCVs didn't get along with embassy types.) I don't think the USA cares much about your behavior, but you do need to follow local customs. For example, where I was, it would not have been appropriate for women to wear trousers or shorts.