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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!
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 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 work with small farmers to increase food production while promoting environmental conservation practices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.peacecorps.gov/gradschool for information about our graduate school opportunities.
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.
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 www.peacecorps.gov for more information!
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!