For a short summary of the misconceptions about Peace Corps service, you can read my post on Being a Peacekeeper in Koko-Soso.
More than 215,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers since President John F. Kennedy established the agency in 1961. Through their service volunteers start community development projects while building mutual cultural understanding. There are currently 6,800 Peace Corps volunteers serving in 65 countries.
Peace Corps service lasts for at least 27-months. Benefits include a modest living stipend, medical care, graduate school scholarships, student loan deferment, and “readjustment allowance” of $7,425.
Volunteers work in the sectors of education, health, business, agriculture, and youth development.
The first group of 25 Peace Corps Kosovo volunteers arrived in June of 2014 and are teaching English at local secondary schools. Kosovo is the 139th country that the Peace Corps has worked in.
During the first three months of service, each volunteer lives with a host family in Kosovo to become fully immersed in the Albanian language and Kosovar culture. After acquiring the skills necessary to survive on their own, volunteers are sworn-in to service and assigned to a community in Kosovo. Each volunteer is then sent to live and work at a school in that community for two years.
Where do volunteers serve?
Below is a map of where the Peace Corps sends volunteers. Yellow indicates countries where the Peace Corps currently operates and blue indicates former operation.
As part of the updated application process, applicants have the freedom to select their country or region of service. In the past applicants had little to no say over where they were placed. To the right you can see the percentage of volunteers in each region.
The majority of assignments in Latin America require basic to intermediate Spanish language skills. Certain assignments in Africa require French skills.
How do I apply?
In June of 2014 the Peace Corps radically changed their application process. It is now much easier (and faster!) to apply. One of the changes is that applicants can select the specific region, country, or assignment they are interested in. In the past applicants had little to no say on where they were sent.
The former application was also over 60 pages long and took a minimum of 8 hours to complete. (Unfortunately I applied under the old system and had to tackle this 60-page beast.)
The updated application takes just 1 hour to complete!
There has already been a spike in the number of applications since these changes were made. In 2015 the application numbers reached an all-time right with over 23,000 applicants fighting for the 3,400 volunteer positions. Next year the number of applications is expected to grow even more. So if you are considering applying, now is the time! Remember to apply 9 months to a year before you would like to serve.
If you want to know more about Peace Corps life and policies, check out these posts: