For anyone who has ever wanted to travel to another country to apply skills in his or her major, there is the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps has been around since 1961, when President John F. Kennedy established it to promote world peace and friendship. The Corps has three simple goals, helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, and helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the Americans.
Last Wednesday, Peace Corps volunteers, all having served around the world, came to Colorado School of Mines to talk to interested students about traveling abroad to help another community and to help yourself. Not only can traveling abroad increase knowledge about other communities, it also can bring out another side of anyone who makes the journey. One volunteer said,”You become a different person,” in that volunteers mature in a way that when they come back, they experience some culture shock between home and the rest of the world.
“But what if I want to be somewhere vastly different from home?” one might ask. The Peace Corps trains all their volunteers to prepare for any situation. “As part of the cross cultural program… the Peace Corps covers all specifics and main differences to prepare you for your experience. The training is amazing in this way,” explained one volunteer.
When volunteering for the Peace Corps, one gets to take on a project or mission to complete during the stay, but it may not be the only one. “There are opportunities to be plugged into projects that are not part of your main assignment abroad.” It may involve teaching young children Math or English, or even something related to a future career. One volunteer, a geotechnical engineer, said “I was asked ‘Hey, can you work on this water system for me?'” When signing up to volunteer, they will take major into consideration and try to match the volunteer to a country that can use their skills.
If anyone is interested in volunteering, head over to www.peacecorps.gov to start the application and get the ball rolling. The Peace Corps loves volunteers and Mines is one way they are trying to get more students involved. With over 130 countries that are looking for volunteers, joining the Peace Corps is a great way to have new experiences.