Peace Corps – a good option just got better!
Getting field experience when you don’t have any is hard. That’s why I’m always surprised when I suggest Peace Corps as a great start how few people are excited by it. I honestly don’t know why – it’s a great structured way to get two years of overseas work experience, you can often defer debt you may have, they pay your insurance, living costs and resettlement, not to mention health and evacuation insurance, and it’s a great opportunity to network in the region.
Did I mention that you should network while you’re there? I’m horrified that people come back from Peace Corps without an extensive list of contacts in the development industry who they have studiously got to know over the last two years. The other major advantage is, of course, the Peace Corps alumni network – or ‘mafia’ as its often called. Don’t discount the value of this in getting your foot in the door with a recruiter who also did Peace Corps.
So – the Washington Post reported this week on some significant changes to the program – most notably that you can now choose your priority countries, and that this will be taken seriously, and that the wait will be cut from 1 year to 6 months for applications. Both of these are huge and overdue improvements that should make Peace Corps even more appealing.