Last Wednesday, March 19, Mercyhurst University’s Service Learning Center sponsored an informational meeting with Peace Corps Field-Based Recruiter Karen Corey. The event was held to discuss a post-graduate opportunity to make a difference in developing countries around the world.
The meeting was held in a conference room on the second floor of the Student Union, and featured a question-and-answer atmosphere between Corey and a slowly filling room of Mercyhurst students.
Corey, a Peace Corps veteran who served in Samoa from 2010 to 2012, spoke frankly about the organization, which was founded in 1961 to promote a world of peace and friendship.
“The Peace Corps is a compensated post-graduate service program,” said Corey. “We send Americans overseas to spend two years of their lives serving the people of developing countries.”
The Peace Corps, a federal government program, is where volunteers are provided a salary after their stay in their assigned country in order to live comfortably while there, most often housing with a host family native to the region.
“I like to say that it is ‘volunteer work’ because the money you earn in American salary terms is not very much,” said Corey. “You may only be earning $300 a month, but that is plenty in that country that that you would serve in.”
Volunteers are provided with medical and dental insurance, air fare to and from their country, as well as three months of training before beginning their service.
There are six total primary sectors that Peace Corps Volunteers are enrolled in, according to Corey. Those include education, health, youth development, community economic development, agriculture and environment. Volunteers are placed in sectors based on their background, education and skills that match the needs of the individual programs.
“It is a little bit about what you are interested in and a little bit about our countries that we are working with are interested in and how we can make the best match,” Corey said.
Though many students in attendance asked about future career benefits from commitment-heavy program, Corey admitted this did not always work out for everyone.
The Peace Corps “may not align with your career experience, but that does not mean it won’t align with your life goals,” said Corey. “No one has ever said to me, ‘I think Peace Corps was the wrong track.’”
For more information about The Peace Corps, contact Karen Corey at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.peacecorps.gov,/l>.