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Holachica's avatar

How can I prepare to join the Peace Corps?

Asked by Holachica (11points) January 20th, 2007
I'm currently a high school senior interested in joining the Peace Corps or some other humanitarian work organization. Does anybody have any experience with the Peace Corps, and have some advice for me? I know it's a huge commitment, but it seems like the most gratifying thing somebody who is interested in that sort of work could do. What I want to know is, whether I'm ready to join or if I should wait until after college, what it means once you return from 2 years of Peace Corps work, and if it really is worth it to move away from loved ones for such a long time.
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7 Answers

sjg102379's avatar
I'm not a PC alum, but a close friend is, so I'm getting all this second-hand, so take it with a grain of salt. Getting into the Peace Corps is very competitive these days, so I would imagine that it would be very difficult (though apparently not impossible, according to the website) to be accepted without a college degree. My friend also says that they favor people with "practical" degrees--public health, engineering, things of that nature. I would definitely suggest going to college first, both to give yourself some experience in living independently in a country where you won't have to boil drinking water, poop in a hole, speak exclusively in a foreign language, etc and also to build your educational resources.
sarahsugs's avatar
One thing I know is that it can take 6 months to a year just to get through the application process (health screenings, interviews, etc) for the peace corps. So you might as well start applying now, and figure out your options in the mean time. Also, I know it's easier to get accepted if you are very flexible where you go in the world.
sarahsugs's avatar
Also, there are LOTS of ways young people can go to another country and work. My sister and my best friend both went to central/south america with a program called Global Routes and had great experiences. They lived in small rural villages with a local family, and both of them taught English to the villages' young kids. Other people go and build libraries/latrines/community centers. So if you decide the peace corps isn't for you, I would look into other programs out there (Habitat for Humanity is another) that offer ways to do community service all over the world.
sarahsugs's avatar
Funny - I just noticed the ads that popped up on this page - "Volunteer Travel Overseas" with Global Vision and "Peace Corps Alternative" - with Cross Cultural Solutions - you could always start by clicking on some of those!
occ's avatar
Another thing you could try is to spend the summer after your high school graduation doing volunteer service abroad, to see if you enjoy the work and how you feel being so far away from your family. You can also try doing a semester abroad while in college...Most people I know have had the best luck getting in to the peace corps after graduating from college. Especially because these days there are apparently quite a few Baby Boomers who are retiring in their mid-fifties or early sixties and volunteering for the Peace Corps (some of them are folks who did the Peace Corps for the first time in the 1970s and are now coming back for a second stint), so applicants are competing against people with much more experience.
nomtastic's avatar
also, to answer the original question on a more philosophical basis - why do you want to go? what do you think you can give? what do you hope to gain?
awaytoolong's avatar

I just finished with the Peace Corps. As far as I know, it is very difficult to get in without a college degree. However, if you grew up on a farm and have a lot of agricultural experience for example, it may be possible to get an assignment in that sector without one. A good book to look at if you're interested in exploring other international volunteer options is 'Alternatives to the Peace Corps.' Good luck with your decision!

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