Calling all seniors! If the thought of a mundane routine of entering the workforce immediately after receiving that diploma is not part of your plans, then you might want to think of an alternative. If experiencing the world, meeting new people, indulging in different cultures and helping others captivates you, then the Peace Corps may just be the right choice.
The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for people motivated to make a difference and immerse themselves into a community that works side by side to tackle the most critical challenges of our generation.
Since the start of the Peace Corps in 1961, there have been more than 220,000 Americans who have served and 140 host countries. There are multiple areas of volunteer work to choose from including education, health, environment, youth in development, community economic development and agriculture.
The process of applying for the Peace Corps can be pretty extensive and intense. Along with the application, interviews are required to help determine your strengths and weaknesses. This is to help choose which country would benefit the most by what you have to offer. After interviews come medical clearances, which go into most detail. At the end of the process, you will meet with a recruiter who has been a part of the Peace Corps and is familiar with the process.
Each year a representative for the Peace Corps comes to West Chester’s campus to inform prospective students on the opportunities and experiences they could have if they join the Peace Corps.
Dr. Elizabeth Munz, a communication studies professor, had served in the Peace Corps for two years in Suriname with her husband. After college, her and her husband joined the Peace Corps and were placed in the same village. I had first heard of Munz’s involvement with the Peace Corps when I was in her class my junior year and have been very interested in the program ever since.
While serving her two years in Suriname, she was a first grade teacher after the village teacher never returned for the new school year. Since her and her husband were the fourth and final set of volunteers, their main goal was to prepare the village for life after the Peace Corps, in hopes it would make an impact on the village long after they returned to the U.S.
After reading and listening to stories people have told me about their time in the Peace Corps, I’ve learned they always return home with new insight. Seeing how there are people that we share the same world with but whose lives are drastically different than ours forces us to look at the big picture and appreciate the smaller things in life.
As students, we devote our four years at college trying to earn a degree so that we can graduate and get a job. However, we sometimes miss out on what is happening in the world around us because we are so concentrated on finding a job. This is the time in our lives to go out and experience what the world has to offer. We will always have our diplomas, but the opportunities the Peace Corps offers might only be once in a lifetime.
Taylor Tosheff is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at TT801606@wcupa.edu.