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Nokumura

Peace Corps

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I was considering joining the Peace Corp. after college. My primary reason for wanting to join are to help with human rights in other less wealthy nations, but it also helps to pay off tuition, experience the world, and garner experience for a possible human rights career. Does anybody have any thoughts or experiences concerning the Peace Corps.?

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I was considering joining the Peace Corp. after college. My primary reason for wanting to join are to help with human rights in other less wealthy nations, but it also helps to pay off tuition, experience the world, and garner experience for a possible human rights career. Does anybody have any thoughts or experiences concerning the Peace Corps.?

 

I decided not to join, but I strongly considered it...enough to travel to a few meetups to talk to former volunteers. Everyone of them said it was the most rewarding experience of their life. These weren't people paid to recruit, just people wanting to talk to other vols after their experience. However, their experiences seemed so varied that it's hard to describe a "typical" peace corps experience.

 

It's also significant (or it was to me) to note that if you want to work for the state department or any other branch of the diplomatic or political corps of government you can NOT afterward work for the peace corps. They want to reduce suspicion amongst host government officials that you may be involved in espionage. However, doing peace corps first increases your chances of getting accepted at State, or other govt jobs. I was simultaneously taking the written foreign service exam for State, so I made a choice.

 

You mentioned human rights. My suspicion is that the Peace Corps probably moves very slowly in that area. It's more, diplomacy through assistance. A few volunteers told me they were told to avoid political activities and focus on common needs, but that may have been because of the tenuous relationship between the US and the particular area they were in. I'd say that most of the vols I met were involved in some type of medical or health assistance (AIDS education, vaccinations, building small medical centers, nutrition, water purification, sanitation, etc.)

 

Another thing I noticed was that most volunteers seemed to be middle class or had enough means to afford the hardship involved. They do pay you a small stipend, etc, but it is still rather impoverishing to take two years off of work to make a few hundred a month or whatever. So, in spite of what they may say about their assistance packages for loans, etc, be aware that there are significant incidental costs associated.

 

Good luck!

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