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

Navigating Identities in the Eastern Caribbean

Peace Corps’ ICDEIA approach seeks to reflect and support the diversity of the United States through its staff and Volunteers, who represent a broad collection of social identities, including race, ethnicity, color, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, marital status, and socioeconomic status, among others.

How might a Volunteer’s social identities impact their service?

The information below provides additional context about how different social identity groups may experience service and what types of ICDEIA-related support you can expect from the Peace Corps.

Accessibility and disability considerations

Peace Corps staff will work with Volunteers with disabilities to support them in training, housing, jobsites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.

In the Eastern Caribbean, staff are sensitive and attentive to the needs of Volunteers. They are committed to exploring approaches to support Volunteer learning and well-being throughout their service.

Gender role considerations

In the Caribbean, gender roles are shaped by various factors including cultural, religious, and social. Both women and men have equal rights and hold positions of power and leadership. While a patriarchal culture may still exist, women are held in high esteem and respected.

Women often experience unwanted attention, including cat-calling or sexual comments that they find unsettling or insulting. There are no laws in the Eastern Caribbean against sexual harassment, so men are accustomed to making all types of remarks when a woman passes by. Dealing with the behavior of some men in the Eastern Caribbean can be challenging to an American woman of any age. Remarks may vary from a simple “Psst!” to “Looking good, baby!” to more sexually explicit solicitations. Attitudes and behaviors of this sort are also experienced by women who live and work in the Eastern Caribbean. They have developed coping skills to manage unwanted attention.

Volunteer safety is our number one priority, and during pre-service training, staff and currently serving Volunteers will offer strategies for living safely and comfortably and identifying support systems that can be utilized throughout service. Host families and counterparts can serve as resources to offer insight in how to manage unwanted attention.

Our staff will work and support you from your arrival in the country to discuss and build your own skills. You will also have a community of Volunteer peers, your host family, and a community liaison to help you navigate unwanted attention or comments.

LGBTQI+ considerations

Many Caribbean people are tolerant and welcoming. However, Volunteers who identify as LGBTQI+ and are open about their sexual orientation may find it challenging as this is not culturally acceptable.

LGBTQI+ individuals can become subjects of continued harassment and violence. Some West Indians have religious objections to LGBTQI+ individuals and may shun or mock them.

LGBTQI+ Volunteers must exercise discretion when it comes to revealing their sexual orientation and gender identity. Volunteers who wish to share their identities with their communities should discuss possible implications of this with staff and other LGBTQI+ Volunteers before doing so. A Volunteer’s safety and effectiveness in their community could be jeopardized if they decide to be out in their community.

Peace Corps staff will work with Volunteers to provide them with locally informed perspectives and are open to support Volunteers.

Racial and ethnic diversity considerations

Volunteers of diverse racial and ethnic social identities are welco1me and appreciated on the islands that we serve. Given the burgeoning tourism industry across some islands, Volunteers in general are often mistaken for tourists from the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

A Black/African American, Latino/Latinx, Asian, or Pacific Islander American Volunteer may be perceived as a tourist but often as an American by many Caribbean people. There may be some unwanted attention based on different misconceptions and understanding of the identity.

Black/African Americans may also be perceived as Caribbeans returning to live in the region. Volunteers who identify as Black or Caribbean have felt welcome and shared similarities and differences between their culture and East Caribbean culture with their communities.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Volunteers are often assumed to be Chinese. Unwanted attention may include being called Chinese and making sounds that are believed to be the languages spoken in China. Americans who identify as South Asian may find similar foods in such as rotis and doubles, in the local cuisine.

White Volunteers may be assumed to be a tourist and experience an associated privilege. We encourage them to be an ally to Volunteers of color and to their communities who may not have the same experience. Additionally, this may be the first time they are in the minority and may take some time to adjust.

It is important for each Volunteer to celebrate and share their own racial and ethnic identities to their comfort level with their communities.

Age considerations

Diverse age groups exist in the Volunteer cohorts in the Eastern Caribbean. Volunteers who serve in the Caribbean range from their 20s to 50+. There may be an assumption that older Volunteers are immediate “experts” in various aspects of their field and the activities that they support. This can be both an opportunity to collaborate on community-prioritized projects and a challenge to manage expectations. Older Volunteers also often find that they are treated with particular respect. They must take care to avoid exploiting this status while at the same time possibly facing the challenge of maintaining the stamina of a host family’s grandmother or grandfather. Older Volunteers should take special precautions to maintain their health during service.

Religious considerations

Most communities in the Eastern Caribbean are devout Christian and take religion very seriously. They pray, read the Bible, and generally engage in a variety of religious activities. Prayers are offered at meetings and gatherings.

Depending on the religion, Saturday and Sundays are reserved for church, after-church lunch, and gathering with family and friends.

Some Volunteers join their host families or coworkers at church and have found that helpful with the integration process.

Many American evangelists travel to the Caribbean to hold crusades and are well-received. There may be expectations that people coming to live and work in the Eastern Caribbean will be active Christians.

Generally, communities are respectful and understanding of different religions and individual choices. Curiosity and questions about differences between faiths may come up for Volunteers of Jewish, Muslim, and other religions or practices. They are rarely subjected to discrimination, and overall life is safe in the Eastern Caribbean.

Considerations for Volunteer couples

Couples serving in the Eastern Caribbean generally have positive Volunteer experiences. They support each other in integrating into the community, evaluating progress in their assignments, and providing perspective on their challenges.

In addition to individual projects, couples often find opportunities for collaborative work. However, given how small communities are in the Eastern Caribbean, some couples may find they do not have enough time for themselves.

Other challenges include occasionally feeling left out of the social “loop” among other Volunteers. The woman partner will receive the same types of sexual harassment as a Volunteer who is single. Generally, though, most local men refrain from such behavior when they know that the Volunteer is married.

Couples can opt into living apart or together during pre-service training and live with host families for part of the training. They will live together throughout their service,

Types of ICDEIA support available in country

Peace Corps Eastern Caribbean is on a continuous journey to embrace diversity and cultivate collective strength. Our staff-led community group focuses on supporting meaningful learning. We want to continuously deepen our team's understanding and practice of ICDEIA together as a community.

Our goal is to join forces with Volunteers to collaboratively build and extend our learning community into a Bridge committee. Post is dedicated to fostering learning and understanding, and to working with Volunteers to strengthen the availability of Volunteer committees and affinity groups.

Upon arrival in country, during training/orientation, Volunteers will engage in conversations and activities with our team to discuss ICDEIA principles as it relates to you as an individual, your interactions with your peers, our staff, and your future community members. Sessions include Volunteer diversity, danger of a single story, and identity mapping, to name a few. We are a dedicated and community-centered group supporting each other, our Volunteers, and our communities.