On October 14, 1960, John F. Kennedy made an unprepared speech to a group of University of Michigan students, over 1,000 strong at 2 a.m. on a cold fall night, asking them if they would be willing to serve their country by devoting a few years of their lives working in underdeveloped countries around the world to promote peace and better understanding. On March 1, 1961, less than one year after Kennedy's speech, the Peace Corps was born. Since 1961, over 210,000 Americans have responded to this enduring challenge, serving in 141 countries around the world.
The next one may be you...
The Peace Corps is an international volunteer organization operated by the U.S. government. Since 1961, the Peace Corps has maintained the basic mission of local community, person-to-person development work, combined with intense cross-cultural exchange. The Peace Corps currently has programs in over 60 different countries around the world. Peace Corps programs have evolved as the world has changed. While the need has remained for Volunteers to work in agriculture, education, forestry, health, water sanitation, and skilled trades, countries are increasingly requesting help in new areas: business, environmental education and protection, urban planning, youth development, and teaching English, commerce, and technology.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will live and work in your country of service for twenty-seven months, while helping change and improve the human living conditions at the community level. For the first three months of your assignment, the Peace Corps will provide you with intensive in-country training. While in training, you live with a host country family to improve your cultural integration and language skills. Also during training, Peace Corps Volunteers receive instruction in local languages, technical skills, information on culture and traditions, and personal health and safety.
Benefits of Peace Corps
- Making a difference in other people's lives.
- Obtaining valuable skills in language, cross-cultural understanding, and leadership.
- Enhancing long-term career prospects and ability to help in your local neighborhood.
- Accessing unique Peace Corps-related opportunities for graduate school.
- Deferring repayment of student loans under certain federal programs.
- Eligibility for partial cancellation of outstanding Perkins loans for each year of Peace Corps service.
- Earning a readjustment allowance of just over $8,000 after 27 months service.
What Peace Corps Provides During Service
- Transportation to and from the country of service.
- A monthly living allowance and two vacation days per month of service.
- Complete medical coverage, including prescriptions, vaccinations, and dental care.
- Technical, language, and cultural training.
Volunteer Safety and Security
The highest priority of the Peace Corps is the safety and security of Volunteers, and every precaution is taken to minimize the risks inherent in serving overseas. The Peace Corps checks the safety and suitability of all work sites and housing; ensure access to essential services, including communications and transportation; and provides extensive training and information to help Volunteers reduce any risks. To read more about the Peace Corps commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for its volunteers: http://www.peacecorps.gov/safety/.