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Peace Corps recruiting students

by Wendy Peng, News editor

 

 

News editor Students who yearn for adventure or who want to contribute something to the world by working with people in other lands might consider joining the Peace Corps. At an informational meeting at HPU Oct. 9, regional recruiter Mona Nyandoro said, “The Peace Corps will start a new program in the next few months, so we welcome people who have a college degree, a sense of adventure, and the desire to help other people help themselves.”

According to Nyandoro, the Peace Corps, established in1961 by former president John F. Kennedy, has three primary goals: to help the people of interested countries meet their need for trained men and women; to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

The volunteer program lasts two years and three months. For the first three months, volunteers will be trained by the Peace Corps staff in order to get them ready for tough conditions in host countries. This includes language and technical training as well as information about the culture, the people, and the environment of the host country.

Vivian Colon, a current volunteer in Turkmenistan, a Central Asian country, said, via the video, “The Peace Corps provides us with intense language classes, cross-cultural lessons, safety awareness—anything you can think of, they cover in training.”

After the three-month training, volunteers will be sent to their served countries to start the two-year mission. The Peace Corps now has 7,000 people in the field, serving in 73 countries, according to Nyandoro.

People usually ask how hard it is to get in the Peace Corps. Nyandoro explained that people with liberal arts degrees are usually more likely to be accepted. However, a college degree is not a necessary requirement. If you have had abundant life experiences and practices in the real world, you will be considered, too, Nyandoro said.

“Although it seems that a lot of people now have liberal arts degree, you still can try to do many things to increase your advantages,” Stephen Latimer, a returned volunteer, said. “Just don’t give it up.” The Peace Corps has six types of assignments for its volunteers, which include education, business, environment, agriculture, health, and community development. Teaching English is the Peace Corps’ largest program. Volunteers work in middle or secondary schools teaching English, science, and math.

Nyandoro herself was an environment volunteer in Saotame, a West African country, from 1994 through 1996. She said, “because of my degree in biology, I worked in the country’s tropical forest and coffee plantation to help people there improve the environment and increase food production.”

Two other Peace Corps’ volunteers also shared their experiences. Raquib Jamal, who is currently working with farmers in Ghana to diversify their income by turning a local forest into a tourist destination, said: “When I sit down and listen to their proverbs, I learn things that I could never have learned in a book or on a computer.”

Ed Chew, agriculture volunteer in Nicaragua, told the audience, “if I sit down to eat, and I haven’t burned my rice and beans, I’m very thankful, because I’ve seen other people’s daily struggle to survive.”

For most, becoming a Peace Corps’ volunteer has been the greatest experience in their life. For the one of four volunteers who cannot adjust, Nyandoro said, “that is why the Peace Corps has the training plan.”

For more information, call1-800-424-8580 or visit: www.peacecorps.org

 

Benefits of Peace Corps’ service :

· Deferment and possible partial cancellation of some student loans
· Three months of language and technical training
· Fluency in a foreign language
· Comprehensive medical and dental coverage
· Monthly living allowance
· International work experience
· $6,075 upon completion of service
· One-year non-competitive status for government jobs

 

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