Family and Friends
Serving in the Peace Corps is not a solo experience. Family and friends back home play a key role in a Volunteer’s success and experience many of the highs and lows of service right alongside a serving Volunteer.
Together, a Peace Corps Volunteer and their family and friends will explore a new culture, learn more about themselves than they ever thought possible, and feel the transformational change of dedicating themselves to making the world a better place.
Peace Corps service is challenging, and Volunteers need the support of family and friends back home to stay positive and motivated. But service is also an extraordinary, life-changing opportunity. When your Peace Corps Volunteer comes home, their life will be immeasurably enriched—and so will yours.
Be sure to check out Peace Corps Family and Friends on Facebook to connect with other parents, friends, and family members of currently serving Volunteers.
Health and safety
Health, safety, and security are the Peace Corps’ top priorities. Highly trained, full-time professionals are on staff in every country to provide first-rate health care and safety support to Volunteers.
Peace Corps Volunteers serve in communities where local leaders have invited them to live and work. Sites are carefully selected to promote safety, security, and health to the fullest extent possible, but the agency cannot prevent all risks to Volunteers.
It is critical for applicants to completely and accurately fill out their Health History Form when they are applying for service, as some health conditions that are easily managed in the U.S. can present challenges in the environments where Volunteers serve.
Once in service, Volunteers will be assigned a Peace Corps medical officer responsible for their care. If a health problem occurs that cannot be treated locally, the Peace Corps will pay to transport a Volunteer to a regional facility or the U.S. for treatment. The Peace Corps assumes the costs of necessary medical and dental treatments for conditions Volunteers have at the time of their entry into Peace Corps, as well as for conditions that develop during Peace Corps service.
Returned Volunteers may be eligible for benefits under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act for injuries or illnesses that occurred during their Peace Corps service.
Please note that Peace Corps medical staff are bound by laws regarding medical confidentiality. A Volunteer's medical information may only be released to family or friends with the Volunteer's written consent. In a life-threatening situation, medical information will be shared with an emergency contact person previously identified by the Volunteer.
For more information, see Medical Care During Service.
Like the Peace Corps mission, safety and security depend on a Volunteers’ development of close relationships with host country community members. The Peace Corps serves at the invitation of the host country, and Volunteers are placed in communities where local leaders have specifically requested their assistance.
Volunteers' daily safety is best assured when they are well integrated into the local community, valued and protected as extended family members, and viewed as contributors to development. There is risk associated with living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off.
Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assaults do occur. Volunteers receive extensive training and ongoing support to promote their personal safety, and are required to follow local laws and Peace Corps regulations to keep themselves safe.
Safety and security managers in each country are available around the clock, and can be contacted any time a Volunteer feels unsafe and needs assistance.
For read information, visit Safety and Security.
Benefits of service
In addition to serving a community overseas, Peace Corps service gives Volunteers the chance to learn a new language, live in another culture, and develop career and leadership skills. The Peace Corps experience can enhance long-term career prospects, whether a Volunteer wants to work for a corporation, a nonprofit organization, or a government agency.
The Peace Corps can even open doors to graduate school. Volunteers receive a living stipend, complete health-care coverage, and a readjustment allowance when they depart service. They may also be eligible for student loan deferment or partial cancellation.
For more information about the benefits of serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer, visit Benefits.
Having a child leave home is hard no matter where they go. Knowing that she is overseas in a place she dreamed of going to and is changing the lives of those around her is a comfort.Sidonie Sawyer, mother of Peace Corps/Burkina Faso Volunteer Zazie Sawyer