News

Peace Corps members make a global impact

So you’re finally graduating college. But what now? While the traditional path finds most students moving on to graduate school or a 9-to-5 job, many discover that neither of these options is right for them. Some diverge from this path to pursue other endeavors. The Next Step series run every Tuesday to explore some of the alternative options that students have as they leave college and enter the “real” world.

“Nothing carries the spirit of American idealism and expresses our hopes better and more effectively to the far corners of the earth than the Peace Corps,” said President John F. Kennedy at the 1961 State of the Union address.

Since that time, the Peace Corps, started by Kennedy, has sent more than 170,000 volunteers across the world. The charitable government organization aids the less fortunate in over 130 countries by educating, helping local business or youth programs, saving the environment, or providing IT support and training.

For senior Callie Simon, the Peace Corps provides a way for her to travel and help others, while giving her a break from school for a while.

“I always knew I wanted to do service after I graduated; I knew I wanted to go abroad,” Simon said. “I want to go to grad school eventually, but I definitely need a break after graduation.”

The application process, which can take anywhere from eight months to a year, includes letters of recommendation, interviews with recruiters and an indication by each applicant of his or her preference of location and type of service. A general medical clearance, which takes about three to four months, is also required.

Some advice for those interested: “You’re dealing with a government bureaucracy so stay on top of the application process-you make sure that everything is moving along,” Simon said. “Also, talk to return volunteers and find out what their experiences were like.”

Most Peace Corps volunteers are recent college graduates in their 20s.

“I consider the Peace Corps a valuable personal and educational experience, experiences that will remain with you forever,” Dr. Sherri Porcelain, an international studies professor at UM, said. “Over the past 20 years I have encouraged many UM students to consider the Peace Corps.”

For those just graduating, the Peace Corps provides options to defer graduate studies, or even complete credit while students volunteer. In the Masters International program, the work from the Peace Corps is actually incorporated as credit into participants’ Master’s degrees. The Fellows/U.S.A. program offers reduced tuition at 30 universities in the nation upon students’ returning.

In addition to grad programs, students who now receive Perkins Loans are eligible for a 15 percent cancellation of outstanding balances for every year with the Corps. Upon completion of the program, each volunteer receives $6,000 for whatever expenses he or she may need.

“Overall, I wish to gain a better sense of the needs that are out there,” Simon said. “I want to learn about the culture, learn about myself and share with the people-it’s an exchange process.”

For more information, visit PeaceCorps.gov or call 1-800-424-8580 for a list of recruitment offices.

Teressa Dalpe can be reached at t.dalpe@umiami.edu.

February 8, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

In 2016, the Miami Hurricanes had tight end David Njoku, who went in the first round of the 2017 NFL ...

Four days had passed since his University of Miami basketball team squandered a 13-point second half ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ search for offensive line help is set to continue on the weekend of Jan. 26, w ...

It looks like Chad Thomas will have another opportunity to show NFL scouts that he is ready to play ...

Hurricanes fans, get out your pencils, calendars and a list of your favorite hotels. The Atlantic Co ...

Presidents at three higher education institutions in Miami "lend our unified voices” to the cal ...

Global and local efforts needed to respond to biological threats, UM President Julio Frenk warned at ...

As artificial Intelligence takes hold, tech visionary David Kenny stresses keeping human values in t ...

UM’s First Black Graduates Project committee visits an iconic D.C. museum for inspiration to create ...

The Beaux Arts Festival of Art debuts at a new site with picture-perfect weather and a panoply of or ...

The Miami women's tennis team dominated play on its home court Friday to open the 2018 spring s ...

Hurricanes and Wolfpack face off at noon Sunday in Raleigh, N.C. ...

The University of Miami swimming & diving team will host FGCU for its annual Senior Day meet on ...

The Miami women's tennis team will begin its 2018 spring season this weekend on its home court. ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team took down Syracuse to record its 750th all-time ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.