Peace Corps

Muskeez

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Wondering if anyone here has ever joined the Peace Corps or has had family members involved? My son will be graduating from college after this falls semester, so around Christmas time. He is unsure of what he wants to do for a living. A college instructor suggested the Peace Corps, and my son talked with this instructor's son who did it for 2 years in Paraguay. My son is considering Paraguay or El Salvador. I know nothing about the Peace Corps, or either of these countries. He is always looking to help others, but to me it just seems scary to have my son gone for 2 years in a strange country where he will not know anyone. He is very naïve and gullible to be honest. He is unsure if he wants to do this but is leaning toward it. Thanks in advance for any advice or experiences that anyone can share.
 

mdunc8

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I had a couple friends head down to the middle of the jungle in Suriname for a few years. They were told they would be spending much of their time teaching English, but ended up helping a small village with sanitation and health issues. At first they weren't too happy about the change in plans, but they ended up loving the experience. Other than what my friends have told me, I know nothing about the organization.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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What is his degree in? What is his motivation? College, do good, idealism?

Not all future employers are going to look positively on his service there. I can tell him he will have challenges getting a security clearance or could be tripped up in other background investigations.

He will be exposed to every facet of the country he works in good/bad/otherwise, in an uncontrolled environment, and based on your comments might not have a strong grasp on the realities of this. He will be in contact with locals who may not have the best intentions. If you google the peace corps and look at some articles you will find alot, there is a huge issue with sexual assault in particular throughout this type of organization.

I have a fair amount of experience operating in envirnments such as this, and with organizations like the Peace Corps, and would be happy to provide some additional insight and information related to those countries. You need to develop some street smarts to operate in those countries. Shoot me a PM and I would be happy to chat more.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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Not all future employers are going to look positively on his service there. I can tell him he will have challenges getting a security clearance or could be tripped up in other background investigations.

I should clarify. He will recieve additional scutiny and they will look into every association he had when he was there. The bottom line is that he should be very careful if he is considering entering government service after this.

Has he considered the Foreign Service Exam and working for DOS? Much better option, IMO.
 

Jwill

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http://www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/step.html

If I had a re-do I think I would try for a USFS position right out of school. Have a friend that had a good experience with the Peace Corps, but I don't think it would be for me. Good luck to your son, whatever he decides.
 

TRS_Montana

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All of the people that I know who have done the Peace Corps have loved it. My wife and I looked into it. They are very protective and do a good job ensuring the safety of their volunteers. Also, every one of them has gotten a good job (or is still in school) afterwards. I think if your son is in to traveling and wants to get a little diversity in his cultural background, this is a great option!
 

MinnesotaHunter

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All of the people that I know who have done the Peace Corps have loved it. My wife and I looked into it. They are very protective and do a good job ensuring the safety of their volunteers. Also, every one of them has gotten a good job (or is still in school) afterwards. I think if your son is in to traveling and wants to get a little diversity in his cultural background, this is a great option!

It is cool to hear that people have enjoyed their time volunteering, and I hate to come off as jaded in this regard. I guess I have just been exposed to the bad side.

I don't mean to be argumentative in this, but in 2012 the rate of sexual assault against female Peace Corp volunteers was 3.25% vs. a US national average of .04%. They can assert that the Peace Corps takes good care of their folks, but it is still risky business. Peace Corps Volunteers are not part of the embassy and are not under any different protection than a US Citizen on vacation.

Muskeez, I did a little looking this afternoon. If he were my kid I would definitely want him to go to Paraguay. El Salvador is not the best place to visit these days. 33 Americans killed there in the last few years. The offer stands to provide any info I can dig up to help him stay safe.
 

Muskeez

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Thank you for all of the replies so far! This is what I want to hear, the good and the bad. I will likely PM you, MN hunter, in the next few days when I learn a little more about this. His major is in Sociology. He may not take my advise on too many things since we tend to have different views these days, but I'm thankful that he called me to share what he learned so far and that he was considering doing this. Last summer he worked at a "church camp" in western Nebraska. This summer he will be working for "Save Our Youth.org" which is an organization in Denver that works with inner city kids to help them see the importance of completing their high school education and help them through other social issues I guess. If he does not do this Peace Corps thing he will likely look into another semester of college in a studies abroad program in another country. (Another added expense to the current college loans!)
 

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