Workshop helps students apply for Peace Corps

By Hannah Fermanich

NMU students interested in volunteering abroad are encouraged to attend an application and interview workshop for the Peace Corps, hosted by the International Programs Office (IPO).

Regional recruiter Carrie Cruz will be running the workshop from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 2303 Hedgcock.

The workshop is designed to educate students about the volunteer opportunities available with the Peace Corps and also to help them create a competitive application.

Students attending the workshop will learn about the application and interview process. They will leave knowing how to create an effective essay and how to sell themselves through their application.

They will also learn which languages and volunteer experiences will benefit them most in the application process.

The Peace Corps is a government agency that was established in 1961 to provide developing countries with trained men and women.

It also brings two worlds together in an intercultural exchange. The different countries gain a better understanding of Americans, while participants gain a global perspective.

The requirements for applying to the Peace Corps include being at least 18 years of age, having U.S. citizenship, having previous volunteer experience and being able to commit to 27 months of service.

The application processes takes about a year to complete. Juniors and seniors are encouraged to apply soon if interested in volunteering in the next few years.

Students accepted into the program should expect to spend three months learning the cross-cultural differences and language of their country, along with safety measures, and training in their specific program.

Once finished with training, participants will spend the next two years abroad, helping the community in which they are assigned.

There are several benefits for students considering joining the Peace Corps. Besides gaining a new family and friends, a student can gain professional work experience in his or her field, full medical benefits and an opportunity to gain scholarships set-aside for participants.

“There’s a lot of great opportunities to serve,” said Cruz.

Volunteers in the Peace Corps have helped in 139 different host countries already. The programs in which students can work, range from health and business to environmental conservation.

Students should expect to become a part of the community in which they serve.

“A big part of being a volunteer is not so much on your job,” said Debbie Munson Badini, a Peace Corps volunteer from 2001 to 2002. “The focus is on being a representative of your country, of the United States and having that cultural exchange.”

Munson Badini spent her time in the Filipino community of Claveria, helping to teach fishermen how to harvest fish without damaging the natural resources. She also worked with women and children on gardening projects. One of the projects included re-using waste by converting it to compost.

This workshop is an opportunity for students interested in volunteering abroad to learn more about the Peace Corps and how to create an effective application.

For more information on the workshop, contact IPO at (906) 227-2510.