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Peace Corps Volunteer Qualifications

If you are interested in becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer or pursue other on-the-ground international development work, there are several things you can do to make yourself a strong candidate.

What training and experience is needed for a Peace Corps Volunteer?

Successful Peace Corps volunteers can come from any academic major, but it is recommended to take at least three courses related to type of work you plan to pursue. The Peace Corps seeks individuals to work in the following sectors: education, health, environment, agriculture, youth in development, and community economic development. Experts encourage prospective volunteers to also complete a minimum of 50 hours of experience in that work sector, preferably in an educational or outreach role.

Do I need to know a foreign language to become a peace corps volunteer?

The Peace Corps has specific language requirements for service in some countries, and some language instruction will be part of the training for almost every volunteer. It’s a good idea to have at least one college-level foreign language course under your belt prior to applying to be a Peace Corps Volunteer.

How do Peace Corps Volunteers adapt to cultures very different than their own?

Successful Peace Corps Volunteers have usually taken some courses to help them develop intercultural competence. It can be very helpful to take introspective courses that allow you to learn about another culture while reflecting on your own experiences. This is good preparation for living in an unfamiliar setting and shifting your perspective and behavior based on cultural differences.

Will leadership experience prepare me for the Peace Corps?

The Peace Corps selection process is highly competitive, so it’s a good idea to gain leadership experience during college, and be prepared to talk about it thoughtfully. Start a club, organize an event, join student government, or find your own ways to lead. Whatever your path you take, demonstrating an ability to organize and lead others is an important skill for anyone interested in international development work.

For more details about how college students are preparing for the Peace Corps and similar work, check out the Earlham College Peace Corps Prep Program.

Take the steps toward qualifying to be a Peace Corps volunteer

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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