We want to do a Peace Corps-like program — who’s got suggestions?

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By: VasenkaCC BY 2.0
My partner and I would like to spend some time working/volunteering abroad. I have a BA from a liberal arts college, and my partner will have a Master’s in Urban Planning. I’m particularly interested in public health, but we’re both pretty open-minded about the kind of work we could do.

We have talked about joining the Peace Corps and have friends who have had great Peace Corps experiences. But we’re wondering about alternative programs (specifically, programs that are not government-affiliated). Most programs we’ve found cost a lot of money. Does anyone have experience with or know of Peace Corps-like organizations? -Lina

Comments on We want to do a Peace Corps-like program — who’s got suggestions?

  1. Check out the Catholic Volunteer Network. They are a consortium of all sorts of full-time volunteer programs across the world (and they’re not all Catholic and don’t all require religious practice).

    Full-time volunteering can be a really powerful experience when you find the right fit. Good luck!

    • Some of these are AmeriCorps positions. Just something to be aware of if you’re trying to avoid government programs.

  2. This may be an unpopular response… but really think about why you want to work abroad before you go. I’m a professional in the development community and posted in Southern Africa, so I constantly see floods of well-intentioned volunteers come through ready to change the world. Its a great experience for the volunteer, but tends to have negative implications for both local communities and for aid professionals who have to fix their mess. Development takes long-term commitment and local initiative – short term travelers who want to do good produce neither, and take away opportunities to employee others from the area (this goes double for any org that would ask you to pay to work for free). If you really just want to see new places and experience new cultures, just travel. If you’re interested in international development, I’d recommend the Peace Corp – they’ve gotten the roots in communities and government support (local and US) to have a positive impact on the ground.

    • Thank you for sharing this perspective. My son is thinking of a gap year and we were wondering how this affected the local communities.

  3. I have a friend who worked in Africa for two years with VSO – perhaps give them a try. They often have long-standing links with communities, and long-term projects you can join. Here’s the “about” section of their UK site: http://www.vso.org.uk/about

    With VSO, I believe you are paid a modest wage for the work you do (comparable to what locals might be earning – so enough to live on in the place you are working).

    I think they are quite tough in their recruitment – they will certainly not let you go out anywhere with an idealised view of what it will be like, or what you can achieve. So be prepared that the selection procedure can be difficult, and may result in you changing your mind or reassessing your priorities.

    Absolutely agree with A, above, that you can do much more good with a longer-term stay, or at least by working with an established project.

    Also, a lot of larger charities are cutting down on numbers of Western volunteers, and prefer to recruit local workers instead. Keep this in mind if you are approaching any charities or organisations – often you might not be the sort of person they are looking for.

  4. If you can’t get on at an international post, look into volunteering at one of the thousands of organizations in the US. There are plenty of nonprofits that aren’t government-affiliated. I’m currently living in Kansas City and I promise you won’t have a hard time finding a place in our public service community!
    http://www.npconnect.org is a local website that includes resources for connecting to other NP’s in the area. Their website has information about how to get involved within the KC area, and it might be of interest to you if you’re looking to go the local route. Another option is to go through your local college to see what opportunities they have for community service.

  5. if you would consider staying in the States, look into the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. However, they have placements outside of the US (I’m not familiar with those, though.) year-long program involving communal living, simplistic & spiritual lifestyle and focused on serving those afflicted by poverty and/or social injustice. don’t let the spiritual lifestyle comment scare you; i was raised catholic, found peace in atheism prior to joining JVC yet really enjoyed the spirituality the JVC offered me.

    • I know someone who did JVC abroad several years ago (as well as some current/recent domestic JVCers) and they all had really positive experiences.

    • I completely agree with the remarks about the JVC. I went to a Jesuit University and never found the issues I have with most organized religions. I lived in intentional community during my time there with people across the board spiritually and it worked for us. Our “faith sharing” was usually a lot of meditation and self-reflection based on our volunteer experiences.

      I ended up doing AmeriCorps, but some of my friends went into the JVC and loved it. Some of the kids I served with went into the Peace Corps and have had great experiences. The issues getting in weren’t as prevalent, and they had more choice over their placement than a lot of people but I think that was strictly because of their AmeriCorps experience.

    • Hi, Jen! I’d be really interested in hearing more about your experience if possible. The intentional living aspect of JVC is something I’m really interested in, but I’m not particularly spiritual. I’ve become more interested in learning about buddhism, meditation, etc. as of late, but I would still identify as atheist. Would it be possible to get in contact with you?

  6. Architects without borders and engineers without borders both do great work, especially in south east Asia. Might be in line with your husband’s passions from his urban design background?

  7. I second VSO. Some charities, like MSF, also take long-term volunteers with specific medical skills and experience, not necessarily nurses/doctors/midwives – check out their blogs http://blogs.msf.org/
    But I’d think about what A said as well, and investigate any programme you find carefully for those pitfalls.

  8. A woman who lived with my family for 15 years (starting when I was 4 months old — so she was almost like a 3rd parent to me) worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams. They don’t require that CPTers be Christians, although they do want you to be “committed to the nonviolent community of Christ or to another faith/spirituality, and seeking God’s will in their work, worship, and decision-making”. Check out cpt.org for more info.

    Also, as far as I can tell, Mennonite Central Committee doesn’t put religious restrictions on who can serve with them — they have a long list of volunteer opportunities of varying varieties and lengths on their website, mcc.org.

    • MCC’s #1 requirement for service works:

      1. Exhibit a commitment to personal Christian faith (policy #121)

      All workers representing MCC must exhibit a commitment to personal Christian faith. For MCC this means believing in Jesus Christ as God’s Son, the revelation of God, and the Lord of all who respond to Jesus in faith.

      http://serve.mcc.org/apply/requirements

    • I strongly advise being careful with CPT. If you a young woman, Person of Color, or Genderqueer proceed with caution. My wife spent three years in the occupied Palestinian territories, and my biggest issue with them was that they did very little in terms of training to deal with the emotional trauma you will be subjected to in certain areas.

      A good friend of hers who she worked with said that the work was less of an issue for her as opposed to the internal politics. They did very little firearms training (as in what is shooting at me, and is it dangerous at this range).

      As a final note, they sent her for language training in Syria, with no support network or plan other than a single contact, which really isn’t advisable, for any group.

      I don’t mean to just go on the negatives, but I feel that my wife’s life was placed in significant danger at times due to the operations of this group.

  9. All Hands is a disaster-response organization where your volunteering can be as long- or short-term as you like. They respond to disasters all over the world, including the USA, creatively filling in the gaps left by governments/big non-profits like Red Cross. For example, they often chose a small town that has no help vs the big cities that are getting lots of attention, or assess what services are lacking and design their response from there. They are an amazing, amazing organization that is great at utilizing traveling volunteers as well as partnering with the local communities. They also hire people with skills to be long-term management/marketing/etc. I volunteered for them for a month in Peru in 2007, and some of the people I volunteered with are still with them full-time. In our project, we had new volunteers arriving daily and others leaving daily, and yet we were able to be organized and putting everyone to work every day. They use a grassroots model that actually MAKES SENSE, pretty rare in non-profits in my opinion. A lot of it is manual labor, but I was supervising kids in the tent encampments in kind of a day-camp setting, so there are other things going on too. Traveling/temporary volunteers get room and board. Good luck! hands.org

  10. I am just wondering why you’ve already ruled out the Peace Corps. Is it the time commitment that frightens you, the uncertainty of where you’d end up and what you’d be doing, or something else? My husband and I actually met in the Peace Corps serving as Teacher Collaboration and Community Outreach volunteers in Thailand and it was the absolute best thing we’ve ever done in our lives.

    We both had looked into other similar programs besides choosing the Peace Corps but found the same sort of problem you’re experiencing- that all the volunteer programs end up costing YOU money. In the Peace Corps you are paid a monthly stipend to cover all your living and housing expenses and they also pay for you to have comprehensive medical care. In Thailand we always had access to state-of-the art international hospitals. Also, since you both already have masters degrees you should have the ability to be more picky about where you end up and what you’re doing then kids fresh out of college do.

    The Peace Corps is a 27-month program in which you spend the first 3 months training for your placement. We spent most of the time learning the language and having cultural training but what you do in this training period greatly varies based on your placement. Mongolian volunteers learned how to build yurts and techniques to keep their fire burning through the night while volunteers in Africa learned everything from how to garden to keeping their own chickens.

    If you’ve decided the Peace Corps really isn’t for you and you don’t want to pay to volunteer I think the next best thing for you to do is to get a paid position abroad like the JET program (teaching in Japan). There are many organizations that will set people up with jobs abroad, working out all the kinks with tourist visas and everything. Usually the schools or companies pay the fees to get employees so it often costs you little to nothing. Another option that might be interesting for you to consider is WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms). We have a friend who has traveled all over the world doing this an has absolutely LOVED it. Best of luck to you!

    • WWOOF is AMAZING! I’ve done three short stints in the US and had nothing but excellent experiences. I think it addresses some of those concerns about short-term volunteerism and cultural imperialism, as well, because it’s different from many kinds of service programs. Some farms provide stipends.

    • Just to clarify–we haven’t at all ruled out Peace Corps. We just wanted to also look into other organizations and were having a hard time finding things. But I really appreciate hearing about great Peace Corps experiences, too! Everyone’s ideas help us think about what we’d like to do.

    • This might not have anything to do with the original poster’s decision, but many people feel a bit uncomfortable about the peace corps because of one of two possible reasons: 1) the possibility that they have been used by the CIA in the past as a tool to get agents into countries with a cover story, 2) worry that the peace corps as a whole promotes globalization in a way that the potential volunteer may not be comfortable with, ie. promoting high yield agriculture, or capitalism.

      I have not done serious research into this, , but the second of these two would give me serious pause if I were considering peace corps type programs.

      • For those might be concerns. But – and I’m an anti-capitalist person myself- i think those two issues are also concerns with any kind of huge NGO that would fund someone’s trip, its not like big development NGOs aren’t tied in with governments, the world bank, mining companies etc. So what I’m saying is that the Peace corps is only worse if you haven’t really taken a hard look at what other development NGOs are up to, and it could be better.

      • I’m a recent college grad with a degree in civil engineering. For as long as I can remember, I have had this pull on my heart to give myself up and serve, and it’s something I can’t ignore. My first thought was the Peace Corps. As a young white female, my biggest concern is the alarmingly high number of sexual assaults and the way the Peace Corps handles them. From the research I’ve done, it seems like the Peace Corps tries to cover them up and often blames the assaults on the women in order to protect the Peace Corps image. If the woman is out past 5 P.M. or has had one drink of alcohol, she is at fault for being raped. Of the 44,000 women who have volunteered in the past decade, 1,000 of them have reported being sexually assaulted. Who knows how many have gone unreported. I don’t like those odds. I had my heart set on the Peace Corps and I recently turned in my application, but the research I’ve been doing is starting to make me rethink my decision. Any advice or insight on this subject would be wonderful, because I feel like this issue is often swept under the rug.

    • One issue I’ve seen with people who are trying to join the Peace Core is that it seems to be very difficult to get into and have long wait times. I had a teacher in high school who waited years for a placement and ultimately gave up on waiting, despite having lots of experience (and probably a master’s degree). Some of my friends were considering it after college, and they were discouraged by being told they probably didn’t have enough volunteer experience to join without spending another year or two volunteering locally first. So for people who want to get out there soon, I’m not sure if the Peace Core would be the best fit. Perhaps the experiences I have seen are not representative, but it really seems that joining the Peace Corps is a long and difficult process.

      • Kahlanamnell, this is very true. The application process is quite lengthy. However, it’s considered to be par for the course as far as serving is concerned. I had to volunteer at various local organizations for 3+ years before I was accepted. They don’t simply want someone who has the skills and wants an easy vacation. Volunteer experience prior to applying (in Peace Corps’ eyes) shows dedication to helping others.

        Many people get frustrated and drop out of the application process, but when you serve, the frustrations you face are so much greater. If waiting over a year to complete the process turns you away, then maybe it’s not a good match anyway. One of my friends had to apply three times before she was finally accepted. They initially told her to get more volunteer experience. Instead of being frustrated and looking elsewhere, she did what they said and she’s now serving in Southern Africa. If you want to do it and you’re dedicated to volunteering, you’ll stick with the process. Just remember to find other things to do while you’re waiting!

        • I’m pretty sure the teacher I was mentioning waited two years or so being told she was going to get a placement but not getting one. That seems like quite a long wait. I know it works out for some people and that is great, but I guess that the wait makes some people turn away from Peace Corps and look for other options.

          I’m not looking to volunteer abroad myself, since I have pets that I couldn’t take with me and wouldn’t want to leave with someone else for an extended period of time.

      • I second this.

        I applied to and was accepted into the Peace Corps pending my medical checks, and ended up turning it down before I was offered a placement (they said I would likely be sent to Bangladesh as I had experience in India, at the time Bangladesh needed teachers, and I had experience teaching).

        In the process of getting all those medical checks – paid for by me with scant insurance, which I could barely afford – my dentist recommended I get all four wisdom teeth out before leaving as they weren’t out yet and “could” become impacted. Part of me sees the reason in this – it can be dangerous to do this in a developing country, but taking someone out to an international facility for wisdom tooth removal in the middle of their stint abroad would be wastefully expensive. The other part of me was annoyed, because the chances of this happening were remote, and the cost of wisdom tooth removal would fall on me.

        My terrible insurance said that the procedure was “elective” as I didn’t technically need the teeth out right then, and that they would not pay. Having four teeth out at once, or even two at a time, generally means anesthesia and a hospital stay, so $$$$.

        “Oh, it’s OK, you can wait to do that right up until before you go,” said my contact at the Peace Corps. Except that didn’t really help as the timeframe was going to be a few months, not a few years, and my insurance wasn’t going to be changing, nor did I have the money to pay out of pocket.

        I finally gave up on Peace Corps and found a job on my own teaching English in China, where I stayed for a year and taught myself Chinese. It’s part of why I am now based in Taiwan.

        In the ten years since, one wisdom tooth has needed removal and that was only about a year and a half ago. I realize they couldn’t have known that then, but the demand that I get the procedure and the expense of it ended up being entirely unnecessary.

        I’m not soured on Peace Corps – I am happy it works out for other people. But for those who end up not doing it, I understand. Completely. They wanted me to spend (tens of?) thousands of dollars I did not have on a medical procedure I did not need.

        Surprisingly, I did not face the other hurdles and wait times, although I didn’t have a lot of volunteer experience. I had some, and some paid experience teaching a literacy program in an inner city school. They were really eager to get my application through and get me out into the field.

        I ended up going to Bangladesh on my own soon after, just to travel and see where I would have likely been placed. I had a lovely time – it was a friendly and welcoming country, and in many ways easier to deal with than India. I could have quite happily spent two years there.

      • Joining the Peace Corps is a 7-9 month process but that is usually from application to service. It DOES take a long time but it is not a lot of work the whole time, it is mostly just a lot of waiting. It takes a long time for your medical to clear and awhile to get a placement. They told me after my interview that I would get a placement as long as my medical cleared so while it was a long time waiting at least I knew the wait would pay off!

      • I think that how hard it is to get into really depends what your background is. I know they recruited really hard in the forestry and natural resources departments on my college campus, and less so in other areas.

    • I am a Canadian citizen who has lived in the US since 1960. I would love to join the Peace Corp but can not due to my citizenship. Do you have any suggestions as to what organization would be second best?? I really would like to volunteer somewhere outside of the US, length of time not an issue. Thanks.

  11. I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a couple of different countries. I think it takes a big commitment to want to volunteer overseas, but it’s not without drawbacks. Many organizations don’t focus enough on sustainability to make long-lasting effects. For example, host organizations may not have enough money to pay someone to do a specific job, so they put in an application for a volunteer. Instead of building capacity, this situation can create even more dependency.

    I would recommend looking into Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO), as another commenter mentioned. These volunteers typically make more than PCVs and they’re often more highly skilled as well. If you have substantial experience working in the public health sector, VSO might be a good fit. However, if you’re wanting more cross-cultural and language training, Peace Corps might be the way to go.

    There are also many religious-based organizations that take volunteers. Catholic Volunteer Services is a big organization as well. Working in the health field (as I did) might be a bit of a challenge if you have strong opinions about birth control and family planning. I’m not sure about whether or not you would have any financial obligations with this option.

    Like siren, my partner and I also met in the Peace Corps. While we definitely have very strong opinions regarding needed reform, it really was a great experience. Pitfalls that we faced were because of in-country staff and site development (lack of training, high turn-over rates, few available and willing host organizations in the country), but this was definitely different from the first country I served in. All Peace Corps programs are vastly different. I would encourage you to meet people who have served in different regions and get a feel for their experiences. I was also able to learn a lot by reading blogs and asking tons and tons of questions. http://peacecorpsjournals.com is a good place to start!

    As for what Sarah said, while I understand that people may have this opinion about Peace Corps, I never felt either one of these things while I served. We were strictly told not to fraternize with US military personnel (and even some embassy officials). While there might be something to be said about promoting globalization, your experience is really what you make of it. If you state from the beginning in your community that your job is not to bring in money and you aim to only tackle projects that the community wants and needs, you are likely to be more comfortable with the work you are doing. Program Directors don’t typically twist your wrist to meet certain goals at your site. It’s much more hands off. You’d be lucky if your program director comes to your site twice during your tenure!

  12. If you’re not interested in doing a program through a religious organization, even if they don’t stipulate what religion you should be (I would feel that way – I just don’t wish to support religious programs in any way, although I respect others’ rights to act through them), and don’t want to “pay to volunteer” (one of the least helpful and potentially actively harmful things you can do), and Peace Corps ends up not working out for you (see my story above – it ended up not working out for me)…

    …I’d recommend seeing if you can find a paying job abroad, or a language study program. Teaching English is a popular choice but is not the only choice. Many countries and many programs will smooth out visa kinks for you, or for some countries it’s not too difficult to work it out yourself.

    Then when you get there, find out about volunteer opportunities on the ground. There are usually a lot of them circulated in the expat community. Many are aimed at ‘trailing spouses’ (usually wives, which is an issue in that there aren’t more ‘trailing husbands’) but are open to everyone. There are usually things like fundraisers, community or co-op gardening, animal rescue and adoption, teaching English to those who can’t afford classes, tree planting and cleanup, secondhand sales, and opportunities to work in shelters or with at-risk people in countries where there aren’t enough local volunteers. Language barriers exist, but drop with time if you decide to stay.

    Alternately, teaching English, depending on where you go and who you teach, can also be satisfying. Maybe not if you’re teaching kids not interested in learning dropped off by parents who pay tuition just to get the kids out of their hair (that happens too), but rewarding opportunities exist. Test prep for young students who want to study abroad and need to take English exams to do so, teaching more enthusiastic kids, teaching adults or young learners who want to use English in their careers (especially in societies with strong community ties where a few people doing better raises the overall prosperity of the community) or volunteering at a school that could otherwise not afford to employ an English teacher can all be really rewarding things to do on your own, and would not be that different from being sent to do them through Peace Corps.

    If you do go this route, I would recommend *not* being one of the millions of underqualified and often ineffective English teachers who come in and work with no experience and often little to no training. I know that sounds bitter, but it does happen and it helps nobody (except maybe the traveler-cum-teacher). Invest in yourself and get a TEFL certificate first – I recommend the CELTA for a basic introduction to good teaching methods with a bit of practice thrown in.

    • Basically, if you are dead set on working abroad or volunteering abroad, you can make it happen. You don’t need a big organization to make it happen for you – just do it for yourself. The opportunities are there and a motivated, intelligent person can find them. If big organizations aren’t working in your favor, work in your own favor.

      That’s the biggest thing I learned from Peace Corps not working out for me, and from going abroad on my own anyway. Sometimes you can make the big ships sail for you, but sometimes you can’t, and you have to build your own ship.

  13. I haven’t seen this mentioned, but the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has 4 lodges around the world where you can volunteer to help with some programs. https://www.wagggsworld.org/en/world/centres
    Obviously, most spots are for girls and women, and I don’t know how you and your partner define yourselves, but some spots are open to men (such as the Chalet).

    • I would definitely second looking at Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. As @stacy said, might be harder for a guy to find a placement, but if you’re interested in being involved with that organization, there are a lot of opportunities and you meet fantastic people. I was one of the Girl Guides who went to a world centre (Our Cabana in Mexico). We spent a day building a couple houses for local people who had insufficient shelter. The houses were quick to construct, finished within a day, and a major improvement for the families even if they were one-room shacks made with laminated cardboard with bottle caps under nails to help prevent leaks.

      The world centres are culturally diverse and there are always some people staying there who are on something like a scholarship. You would probably have to demonstrate experience with the organization though so it could be a similar commitment in terms of pre-application volunteering.

  14. Hands.org

    I’ve worked with All Hands in New Orleans and Haiti, and I have a ton of friends who have worked with them as short term and long term volunteers. While they have a handful of stipended positions, mostly it’s volunteer. You get a free place to stay and free food, but you have to pay your own travel expenses.

  15. This is not an organization but http://www.helpx.net is a website that brings together families that own farms or sustainable living houses and asks travelers if they want to stop by and work on their farm/housing/whatever in exchange for room and board. I did a homestay in Germany with the best family ever (seriously I would love to stay with them again!) and I know that they have tons of families across Europe and I believe in Africa too. Downside- yeah, you don’t know 100% if they’re awesome or not, but there are reviews on the site, and if you email me I can personally recommend the German family to you. You can email the family and talk to such with them, and it just doesn’t feel as sketchy as like Craigslist or whatever because the site does monitor things.
    As for official stuff, hmmm, Fulbright teaching scholarship? Not 100% sure really. I’ve heard good stories from Fulbright teaching but usually you have to be right out of college or something.

  16. Thanks everyone for the thoughts! This has given us a great list of resources and things to think about as we decide what’s next for us. This community always has such great insight!

  17. The Jubilee House Community (http://www.jhc-cdca.org/) might be in line with what you´re looking for. They´re a small NGO in Managua, Nicaragua started by the family of a good friend of mine in 1994. The site is pretty basic, but it does a good job of giving you a sense of what they do and why. Their focus is supporting aid-independent sustainable development and providing healthcare. You do pay to work with them, in order to cover living expenses, but the cost drops significantly for long-term volunteers. I can vouch for the fact that they are pretty off-beat, as well!

  18. I’ve always had a bit of a curiosity to do something along the lines of a Peace Corps type thing, but I have student loan bills that total about $800 each month, as well as a boyfriend who I’d like to be able to have travel with me. I’m guessing this is a long shot, but are there any organizations that would help me cover my loan bills and let me stay with a significant other?

    • You can teach English in South Korea. Academies love to hire couples. Korea pays well and so you’ll be able to pay your $800 student loan payments. If you were to teach English in Thailand you’d only make enough money to cover your cost of living in Thailand but not be able to send any money home. Some people go to Korea to pay off student loans, save $ for a house, dream BIG!

  19. There are many different ways to volunteer but as an earlier comment brought up :

    What are you seeking ?

    I’ve traveled and volunteered through Volunteers for Peace. They have domestic/international, short/long term projects of all types : environmental, social, educational, etc.

    There are also intentional communities that allow guests and volunteers to help them build, sustain, or learn from their communities. I’ve used the website http://www.ic.org to volunteer for a month taking care of baby howler monkeys in Costa Rica. I also located a commune of 100 people in Charlottesville, Virginia where I learned organic farming and tofu making.

    In the end, my partner and I spent a year in South Korea teaching English to children as part of an after school program. Free round-trip airfare, free rent, health insurance, and a great launching pad to visit Asia, Australia and all around. You could also live in Bali/Thailand/Japan/China/you name it and teach English, but Korea pays the best.

    Good luck and TRAVEL!

    • Was the teaching in South Korea part of a program or something? It sounds great, I am very interested in finding out more about it!

  20. Well, it’s hard to give really helpful advice without knowing more information about what, exactly, your goal might be in joining an organization like this. What do you want to get out of it? Time spent abroad? Do specifically volunteer work with a specific population–if so, what kind of work and what kind of population? What do you hope to come back with after your time? Are you hoping to make a life change rather than a shorter term (even 2 years is shorter term) commitment?

    Also, it helps to know some personal information about you–your age could be important depending on age requirement, significant health issues that might require even semi-regular Western medical care or medication, and, again, what your expectations are around your time away.

    The poster who cautioned you to think long and hard about what your reasons and expectations are is wise. It’s not romantic or fun or personally fulfilling per se to think about what your expectations really are but it’s much better to think about these things while you’re sitting in your temperature-controlled home with all of your home amenities than when you’re in a faraway place dealing with basic sustenance and sanitation issues.

    There is also a significant concern to bear in mind when considering organizations–what their plan is for you if things go to hell in a handbasket. This may never happen and you may never need to be pulled out of a location but things can change, and quickly. One of the advantages of working with the Peace Corps is its long history and experience dealing with rapidly changing situations and its connection to governmental resources to resolve issues of this kind for their volunteers. If/when you go, always, always, know what the plan is if you need to get out in a hurry.

    I’ve lived all over doing various things with varying levels of support from a sponsoring organization. My Peace Corps application was in the Twin Towers in 2001 and by the time the organization recovered, I was doing something else but I will say that of all of the interviews and processes I’ve ever done, they were among the most organized and together. That definitely helped me feel comfortable with my decision to apply even if I didn’t end up actually taking a contract with them.

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