A few readers wondered what exactly volunteers get out of joining the Peace Corps. Like, is it charity, like helping at the soup kitchen? The perception is almost as if you could get the same experience sending a few dollars to a preferred charity or sending old clothes to the Salvation Army.
This is not the case.
If you join the Peace Corps, you travel. Real travel, not just poking ten toes in the sand on a hot beach in the Caribbean. (Not that that’s a bad thing but..)
Travel in this case means “travel to experience”… a place, a people, a culture. Pacific Islands, Asia, South America, Africa…. Like the Army, you go where you’re needed. You commit. For over a year.
Peace Corps volunteers travel overseas to make real differences in the lives of real people, says the organization’s web copy. How awesome is that? It’s a soul-altering experience.
For love, money, discipline and health benefits
The Peace Corps is a life-defining leadership experience. It provides a well-traveled perspective and project management experience from which you will draw for the rest of your life.
The most significant accomplishment — and reward — will be the contribution you make to improve the lives of others. It’s said: just try to feel miserable when the face of a young mother is beaming at you with relief and gratitude at having a new shelter with adequate water. Watch her sing to her baby now that she can. And feel it when her eyes catch yours, full of genuine gratitude.
That – will – change – your – life. Full stop.
Dollars and Sense
There are also other types of benefits for volunteers, personally and professionally.
- 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 each month
- Medical and Dental: 100% medical/dental while serving
- Health Insurance: affordable health plan up to 18 months after service
- No Fee: there is no fee to participate in the Peace Corps
- Student Loans: some deferment, some partial cancellation
- Transition Funds: receive $7,425 (after full 27 months)
Professional and Career Benefits
As we’ve said, Peace Corps Volunteers gain valuable skills and experience that will help in any career path. If you’re looking to start your own business or get into Business — there are key things you can learn in the Peace Corps.
Forget feeding the U.S. Private Education Bubble by going $100,000 in debt for an expensive MBA program. Learn in real life, see what really works.
- Develop skills for the global marketplace
- Get job placement support
- Receive advantages in federal employment
- Network with vibrant alumni
Talk to someone who was there
The Peace Corps staff of recruiters — all of whom served in the Peace Corps themselves — can tell you what it’s really like to Volunteer, whether or not you qualify, and how to work through the application process.
Contact your local recruiter at 800.424.8580 or use this page to get in touch: http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=meet
I hope this page helps. Anyone who is interested in the world and has any sort of interest in making the world a better place must consider the Peace Corps. Myself included. Seems like in America we think putting an addition on the house or upgrading the bathroom or getting another degree is going to bring joy to the soul.
There’s more out there.
Leave a comment
Leave a comment if you have been in the Peace Corps and recommend it, or if you have any thoughts on the program.
Remember it’s government run, sort of akin to the National Service in Switzerland (but Peace Corps is not mandatory, just advised).
[note: myself as a blogger / citizen of the U.S. has no affiliation with the Peace Corps at all, just think it’s a friggin’ good idea. cheers.]