Skip to main content
US Flag An official website of the United States government

Connect with the Peace Corps

If you're ready for something bigger, we have a place where you belong.

Follow us

Apply to the Peace Corps

The application process begins by selecting a service model and finding an open position.

Peace Corps Volunteer
2 years, 3 months
Log in/check status
Peace Corps Response
Up to 12 months
Log in/check status
Virtual Service Pilot
3-6 months
Log in/check status

Let us help you find the right position.

If you are flexible in where you serve for the two-year Peace Corps Volunteer program, our experts can match you with a position and country based on your experience and preferences.

Serve where you’re needed most

Behind the bean

Wearing traditional Guatemalan outfits while serving coffee.

I received a rainbow of reactions when I told my family and friends that I was joining the Peace Corps…again. 

From “yaaayyy!” to “what?” to “awesome!” to shocked because… “you don’t even like coffee!”

Interestingly enough, part of my assignment was to develop a marketing plan for selling roasted coffee in the United States for a cooperative of small-scale farmers in Guatemala. I knew in order to be effective, I would have to surrender my “nothing but a bunch of beans and caffeine” way of thinking and show up with an empty cup. 

What awaited me was more jolting than a shot of espresso. 

Ripening coffee cherries
Ripening coffee cherries

I was lost in translation. Although they spoke Spanish, and I spoke Spanish, I felt like I was on another planet. What I heard was a whole new language – from acidity to fair trade to parchment to wet processed; this new coffee language left my mind a percolating.

I was impressed with my co-workers. I got to work with a team so dedicated, so knowledgeable, and so passionate about coffee… I strongly believe it ran through their veins. They were the experts who wholeheartedly made sure everything ran smoothly. 

Not to mention their ability to dissect flavors like nobody’s business – talk about sophisticated palettes. 

Cupping coffee
Cupping coffee

I was amazed when I met the farmers. Men and women who lived and breathed by the coffee grown on their lands, picked by their hands. I saw the struggles and hardships etched on their faces. But I also saw the hope and resilience shining in their smiles. 

Since coffee is only harvested once a year, the cooperative provided a means to participate in innovative projects that would decrease economic risk for the farmers as well as support sustainable growth and improve their everyday lives. Some of these opportunities included bio-factories specializing in the production of organic fertilizers; crop diversification through beekeeping (no extra land required as beehives can be positioned between coffee plants); and breeding goats – a “pay it forward” system that allows community members to share newborn goats with other families, thus contributing to their food security. 

Coffee export team
Standing with co-workers on last day in the office.

I was inspired by youth. I witnessed time and money invested into the sons and daughters of farmers so that they could learn every aspect of coffee production… beyond the farm and beyond the harvest.

I was motivated by the women who were not only farmers but who were leaders… leaders within the cooperative; leaders providing technical assistance to other members; leaders within their communities. These women farmers worked the fields every step of the way, resulting in a line of coffee that is entirely women grown. Boom!

I was welcomed with open arms. By everyone. All the time. Any time. Me… a coffee novice gringa.

I was saddened when it was time to leave and extended my service twice… that little bean grew on me. But behind the bean was what captured my attention and stole my heart… a community of men and women pouring their lives into cultivating specialty, organic, fair trade coffee with care. And what lies beyond the bean is another community gathered together, sharing life’s ups and downs over each sip.

Behind and beyond the bean, coffee changes lives. I should know – from avoiding the Arabica with a vengeance just over a year ago to a strictly hard bean, shade grown, sun dried, single origin, specialty coffee snob who drinks her coffee black.