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Joining the Peace Corps?

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:14 PM   #1
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I've always had a negative view of the Peace Corps. Not for what it accomplishes, but I always imagine really "granola" hippy kind of people as the type that would be involved in such a thing. A judgemental stereotype, I know. But suddenly I have a slight interest in joining myself. I've never done anything too adventerous. I grew up in a small town in Wyoming, went to boarding school in New England when I was 15 (which I guess is fairly adventerous), and now I'm in college in Alabama. I'll graduate in December. I guess I've just never done any of the adventerous youthful things like backpacking across Europe or traveling to Haiti with Habitats for Humanity. Nothing like that.

I realize that the Peace Corps is a 27 month commitment and it's hard work. I thrive on hard work, anything from organizational to leadership roles to dirty manual labor. I'm also fairly low maintenance, I can survive without creature comforts. I am NOT thinking of this as a vacation to some tropical island where I play with the locals. I'll graduate with a BS, and I've majored in Agriculture/Animal Science with a focus in animal production. Basically, I have an education on the science and strategy of efficiently producing livestock animals (beef, sheep/goats, swine, and horses). I also grew up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, so I have plenty of experience in agriculture. I think I could use my education and experience in the Peace Corps by helping underdeveloped communities establish efficient agriculture systems to feed themselves with.

Here's the catch though...my wonderful boyfriend and I are planning on getting married. He's an Army officer (currently in Iraq), so it's not like he could join with me, haha. After I graduate in December, we'll be headed to Ft. Sill, OK for his Captains Career Course. After that, we'll be stationed somewhere. So I guess I'm pretty much telling you that I *can't* join the Peace Corps because I'm staying with my guy no matter what. But on the other hand, I'm conflicted because it is something I'm interested in and I don't want to regret not having any crazy youthful adventures.

Has anybody thought about joining or joined the Peace Corps?
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:33 PM   #2
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I'm a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV). There were a couple of "granola" types in my group, but not many. Most were college grads wanting to do something adventurous and figure out their next steps, and some were set on pursuing careers in international relations or development.

My advice to anyone considering this path is to always keep in mind that you will be a guest in another country and respecting local culture and local authority is extremely important, and often not easy. Young, idealistic, enthusiastic PCV's, most of whom have led relatively sheltered lives, work with communities that have survived for millennia in adverse conditions and must therefore remember to be humble and recognize that they have far more to LEARN than to teach.
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:54 PM   #3
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My step-daughter is graduating next month with a degree in biology....something to do with animals...anyway, she felt like....with the job situation as it is right now that she should check into the Peace Corps...after research she felt that AmeriCorps was better for her to try to get into.

Good luck with your journey.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:45 PM   #4
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My friend is about to join- and he's nothing like a hippie at all lol.

I suggest postponing if you are planning on getting married anytime soon.

Honestly I'd go- sounds like you will regret it if you don't. You've waited for him, he can certainly wait for you if you mean that much to him Peace Corps is a great thing IMO to put on your resume.
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:27 PM   #5
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The Peace Corps is fabulous - I have had lots of friends go and return as different, better people. I thought long and hard about the PC after I finished college - feeling the same way about it as you - I wanted a way to use my degree in nonprofit administration, wanted an adventure, wanted to try something new and get out of dodge for a bit. However, I knew I couldn't pull off the time commitment - my father is not in the best of health, and I couldn't leave my mom alone with the responsibilities for that long, especially not two years ago when I was considering this. So what I did was go to gapyear.com and found an adventure I could go on for a month instead. I went to South Africa. It was more expensive than the PC would have been, but it was just for two months total, I still got an adventure, I got to travel alone for a while, go someplace I'd never been, and help some people (or in my case, elephants) out. It was a great decision for me, and it definitely changed me for the better. It might be worth checking out.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:16 PM   #6
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I've researched everything Peace Corps. My guy and I are planning on joining after we get married, and after we both graduate with our bachelor degrees. The PC is set up to help finance your Master's degree if you elect to go for one once you get back to the US and that's awesome for both of us

If you've been married for 9 months and you're both enrolled in the PC you can get stationed together.

But - if your guy is in the military you guys might be getting stationed overseas anyway - so there could a lot of opportunity for adventure there as well! Also, keep in mind, the PC is a fantastic "retirement plan" if once the kids are grown and hubby's retired, you still want to get out there and find an adventure. Just something to think about.
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Old 05-15-2010, 05:24 PM   #7
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Since, I'm Canadian I'm not able to do the Peace Corp; I would love to do it but can't! Instead I did a 4 month volunteer program through a Canadian organization called Youth Challenge International. I got stationed with a Peace Corp volunteer and she was anything by hippie granola! I adored her!

I truly wish I could do the Peace Corp as I so enjoyed my time with YCI, but Canada doesn't really have any long term programs that would be equivalent.
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:19 PM   #8
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I have been planning to join the Peace Corps for about six years now. I needed my BA and got that this winter. I begin a Master's program this Fall, and though they do have incentives for students to get their Master's combined with Peace Corps service, it was not available in the schools I desired, and it would have taken me twice as long. I am on track to getting my Ph.D. but have been considering going into service between my Master's and Ph.D. I want to go to Botswana, Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya or Morocco.
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:38 PM   #9
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I am a big fan of running around the world while you are young- go for it!
I am Canadian too and we do have something similar here- it is called CUSO. Canadians check it out :-)

http://www.cuso-vso.org/
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:08 PM   #10
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Hi - Joining the Peace Corps would certainly be an adventure! I got my BA in International Studies and was all set to join when health/financial issues got in the way and grad school in the states became the better option. That aside, I would have to tell you that if you did ever join your significant other would not be able to go with you as the American Gov't does not allow anyone who's every served in the military to join the Peace Corps. But I do second the suggestion of looking into Americorps -they do great work, in some ways very similar to that of the Peace Corps, but they just do it all in America. Good luck and I hope you find something that will give you the adventure you seek while staying with your man. All the best
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