Peace Corps at UC Berkeley

The Peace Corps has international volunteer programs suited to students of every college and major at UC Berkeley, and values the unique experiences that students gain through coursework, school clubs and organizations, creative outlets, and volunteering around the community. The Peace Corps is a great opportunity for UC Berkeley graduates to travel the world, gain leadership skills and experience, and to stand out from other applicants when applying to graduate or medical schools.
UC Berkeley continues a proud tradition of Peace Corps volunteerism. It comes as no surprise, considering the exceptional abilities of its students, that UC Berkeley ranks the highest in total alumni volunteers (over 3,500) who have served in the Peace Corps since the organization was founded in 1961. With 66 currently-serving Peace Corps Volunteers, UC Berkeley ranks seventh in the nation among volunteer producing universities in 2014. Attend one of our many campus events to meet Cal recruiter Clint Niehus, hear from Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and learn how you can contribute to the Peace Corps legacy as a UC Berkeley graduate.

We're on campus!

Stop by our table on Upper Sproul Plaza to pick up Peace Corps materials and add your email to our mailing list, meet with Cal recruiter Clint Niehus during his office hours, or come to one of our many semester events!


Clint Niehus, Cal Peace Corps Representative

Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal from 2010-2012
Clint welcomes inquiries and referrals from the university community. Attend his weekly office hours in the College of Natural Resources, bi-weekly office hours in the Public Service Center, or one of his many Spring semester events (schedule below)! Clint encourages you to review the information available on the Peace Corps website to help guide any questions you may have for him. Clint can be contacted via email or phone (510-452-8451) for questions or to schedule an informational interview and review a resume.
Peace Corps @ Cal Spring 2014 Calendar (PDF)

Campus events:

Attend any of our campus events to get more information about Peace Corps service.


Opportunities abroad:


Education Volunteers: 

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is the Peace Corps' largest program. Volunteers work in middle or secondary schools teaching English throughout the world. Some volunteers teach science and math. In addition to classroom teaching, volunteers develop other projects related to their schools or communities. Some volunteers have spent time tutoring before they head oversees.


Community Economic Development Volunteers: 

Most often an economic development volunteer's experience begins in an education setting, later moving to a workplace setting that could include assisting private businesses or public organizations, Junior Achievement programs, cooperatives, agribusiness, women's and youth groups, or universities and secondary schools.


Environment Volunteers: 

Environment volunteers work on a wide variety of activities, including teaching environmental awareness in elementary and secondary schools, working on environmental education with youth groups or community organizations, and planting trees within a community.


Agriculture Volunteers: 

Agriculture volunteers work with small farmers to increase food production while promoting environmental conservation practices.


Health Volunteers: 

Health volunteers raise their communities' awareness of the need for health education and water sanitation projects. They help train community health workers and educate families on the need for sound nutrition and basic hygiene. They may construct wells, tap springs, build sanitary latrines, or teach HIV/AIDS prevention.


Community Development Volunteers: 

This is one of the most open and flexible programs in the Peace Corps, as well as one of the most competitive to qualify for. Community development volunteers conduct assessments to determine ways to address a community's needs. Depending on experience and interest, volunteers work in health, water sanitation, youth development, municipal management, environment, agriculture, or business projects.


How do I prepare for the Peace Corps?


In addition to other skills and interests, the best way to prepare for Peace Corps service is to get a degree! Over ninety-percent of Peace Corps programs require at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify for particular Peace Corps assignments. UC Berkeley students from all colleges and majors are welcome to apply for Peace Corps service because overseas communities are very diverse and have different needs. You can find out how your degree qualifies you for particular Peace Corps program areas by attending one of our semester events, speaking with Cal recruiter Clint Niehus, or by checking out the Peace Corps website. 


Why choose the Peace Corps?


Benefits in skills:

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers describe their service as a life-defining leadership experience that they draw upon throughout their lives. As a volunteer, your most significant accomplishment will be the contribution you make to improve the lives of others, but you will also gain useful skills along the way. Some skills include language, cross-cultural adaptation, and technical training.


Benefits in support:

The federal government foots the bill for your entire length of service, including travel to and from the country of service, monthly living and housing allowance, full medical and dental coverage, and 48 days of paid vacation. Moreover, the Peace Corps grants leave, support, and resources in the unfortunate case of an immediate family member emergency back home.


Benefits in education:

The Peace Corps has unique partnerships with graduate schools across the nation for UC Berkeley students that wish to pursue an advanced degree! Check out for information about our graduate school opportunities.


Benefits as an RPCV:

The Peace Corps offers wonderful post-service opportunities including advantages in federal employment, job and networking support, and a readjustment allowance of $7,425 pre-tax upon completion of service. Visit the website or attend a Peace Corps event to learn more about the many benefits of service.

What is the process like?

The Peace Corps application process starts with an online application which includes essays and recommendations, an interview with a Peace Corps staff member, and health and legal clearances. We suggest beginning the process about 9-12 months before you would like to depart for the Peace Corps - so if you want to leave right after you graduate, then apply at the end of your Junior year! Check out for more information!



What should I do to become a competitive candidate for Peace Corps service?

As previously mentioned, many Peace Corps programs require at least a Bachelor’s degree, but other skills and interests can make you stand out from the crowd. Consider taking language courses, especially two semesters of French of Spanish, because many programs have a basic Spanish or French language requirement, and learning a new language is an essential part of Peace Corps training and your success as a volunteer. Take an active role in your community, school, service or student organization to further develop your leadership skills. Check out the Public Service Center for more information about leadership positions in public service on the UC Berkeley campus!


Be sure to watch for application workshop events with Cal recruiter Clint Niehus to make your application stand out from the rest!

Attention Cal Returned Peace Corps Volunteers:

Check out our Cal Alumni Association page and connect with other Cal Alumni who have served in the Peace Corps!

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