Most college students don’t envision becoming a Peace Corps volunteer when they graduate. But for those who do, the Peace Corps is working with select colleges to improve their chances of being accepted. StateImpact Ohio’s Amy Hansen reports, Northeast Ohio's Hiram College is among the latest schools chosen to participate.
Hiram College is among six universities nationwide chosen to offer the Peace Corps Prep Program beginning next fall. They join eight others, including Ohio’s Wittenberg University and Shawnee State University, that currently offer it.
Peace Corps Prep is a combination of courses and community service that, taken together, prepare students for work in international development, according to the agency.
Students who finish the program get a special certificate along with their degree in their chosen field. A certificate doesn’t guarantee applicants acceptance into the Peace Corps, but it does give them a competitive edge.
For those who do get in, the financial rewards are minimal. But Hiram’s program director, Lisa Safford, maintains the experience is worth it.
"I've heard from returnees that the experience is so enriching, and so confidence building, that they come back and think there's nothing that they cannot do," she said. "And I don't mean to exaggerate that potential, but I do think that the perception is the experience is very worthwhile, even if the pay is relatively low."
Peace Corps volunteers receive a living stipend and a modest bonus upon completing a two-year stint
More than 215,000 volunteers have worked in developing international countries through the Peace Corps since it was created 53 years ago.