The Peace Corps was introduced in 1961 as a way to get college age students interested in what is going on around them in a world. It offered them the opportunity to discover about life in other countries. At the same time it allowed them the chance to volunteer their services and to really make a difference in the lives of others. It can be a humbling experience to live in a country that isn’t as developed as our own. Yet a person can definitely learn to appreciate things differently afterwards.
Today the Peace Corps continues to be a very strong force. There have been close to 200,000 volunteers who have contributed to this program. They have dedicated part of their time to working with people in these countries to provide them with services they desperately need. It may be medical care, education, basic living skills, and even working with AIDS infected individuals.
The Peace Corps isn’t just open to college students though. In fact, any one who wants to offer their assistance in such a way can. The average age of those that choose to be a part of the Peace Corps are 25 years old and single. It is about 50/50 among males and females that sign up to volunteer their time. Many older people choose to be a part of the Peace Corps after they retire. The oldest volunteer they have right now is 80 years of age. The oldest person to ever volunteer was 86.
Individuals that sign up for the Peace Corp often commit to at least one year of service. They don’t get paid for their work but their basic living expenses are covered. They often get to choose the country they want to go to and the areas of assistance they get to offer. During times of emergency though they may be asked to go to another country or to perform other services that are desperately needed.
Individuals must be at least 18 years of age and a citizen of the United States to join the Peace Corps. It is helpful is you know the language of the country you will be going to but it is not required. You will have to submit an application for review. If you are accepted for the program you will be notified of the next steps to take. Generally this involves attending an informational seminar and talking with a Peace Corps recruiter one on one.