NPI Services, Inc. Founder and President Judy Greenspon had a wonderful chat with Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet at the reception following the Director’s presentation at Beach Auditorium at the CSULB Student Union on September 5, 2014. Judy especially enjoyed meeting with other local Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who attended the presentation in the packed auditorium. Two thirds of the audience stood up when asked for a show of how many were interested in serving in the Peace Corps! Why? Well, from firsthand experience, Peace Corps service is a life-enriching experience that gives one a more balanced perspective of societal and personal life. Worth the sacrifice? Yes, well worth it. But Peace Corps veteran’s stories are seeming more like the elder generation’s stories of walking miles to school in the snow, because now serving in the Peace Corps demands far less personal inconvenience than in the “olden days,” and offers some new opportunities as well!
Dispel the notion that a typical Peace Corps volunteer is fresh out of college, unattached, and ready to go anywhere and do anything! Actually, applicants may choose what countries they want to apply for, and what type of work they want. Couples, including same-sex couples, may be placed in Peace Corps assignments together. Besides the classic two-year service (plus training) model, doctors and nurses have the opportunity to serve for just a one-year period, while RPCVs or professionals with ten or more years of experience, may volunteer for special assignments for 3-12 months at a time! How about YOU?
In contrast to a 60-page written form requiring about eight hours to fill out, today’s volunteers can apply online in about an hour! And the word “today” is not used loosely, because the current batch of Peace Corps “early bird” applicants register by tomorrow, September 30, 2014! Today, the Peace Corps tweeted that the number of applicants are close to record-setting numbers, and invited new prospects to apply! https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/volunteer-openings/
There are a number of tangible benefits during and following Peace Corps service, including deferment or forgiveness of certain public student loans, leave for family emergencies, paid vacation, medical/dental coverage, and much more. See https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/benefits/ for more details. There are unique graduate school opportunities in the Peace Corps Master’s International Program. In fact, the Peace Corps Director’s visit to Long Beach included a signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a partnership between CSULB and the Peace Corps for a Master’s International Program there! The MOU signed by Director Hessler-Radelet, CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, and U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal, was a highlight of an event celebrating a lucky number of 777 Peace Corps CSULB alumni, including 31 currently in the field. The hundreds filling the auditorium were so enthusiastic about the event and about serving in the Peace Corps, it is clear that CSU Long Beach graduate students and alumni will continue be a major U.S. presence worldwide by their service in the Peace Corps.
Explore the Peace Corps website and check out those opportunities!