As a senior at UMass, the popular question of the semester is “What are you doing after graduation?” Though still pending an official invitation, my quick answer is “The Peace Corps.” If they ask for details I explain that I have been nominated to teach English in Asia and have passed in all the proper paperwork but it may be awhile until I find out exactly where I’m going. For now I play the waiting game.
The follow up question if they’re really interested is “Why?” I explain that before I came to UMass I taught English in Thailand for three months and have been itching to do something similar ever since. Although 27 months is considerably longer than three, I feel confident that I would do well in the Peace Corps. I embraced all aspects of Thai culture and despite language barriers and challenges of being far away from home, I was able to make Thailand my second home. Having an open mind was what made me realize the Peace Corps would be good for me. Plus now I know some people who have done it personally, which makes the idea of the experience more real. Of course the idea is intimidating but it is also exciting and I can’t wait to get started.
Matt Brown wrote an article for GoNOMAD explaining the logistics of the Peace Corps after he was a volunteer in Guinea from 2001-2003.
“President Kennedy told me to ask what I can do for my country. President Carter taught me to share with my neighbors my caring and my labor. President Clinton reminded me that I have an obligation to the people of the world to help them make the most of their own lives. And so, like so many idealistic college graduates, I swallowed the government’s rhetoric and signed up for the Peace Corps.
While overall, my Peace Corps experience was positive, I learned a lot about the organization and now have a different view of it then when I joined over two years ago.
People have many misconceptions about Peace Corps. There is also a lot the government doesn’t tell you about being a volunteer that can only be learned, like I did, through experience.”
He continues on to explain the pros and cons of the service, trying to give readers an idea if it would be good for them or not.
I still believe the Peace Corps is the right fit for me, especially after reading this: “Though I sometimes question how much work I accomplished, overall I am glad that I served in the Peace Corps and I recommend it to anyone with an adventurous spirit, a giving heart, and two spare years on their hands.”
Would you ever consider the Peace Corps?