Peace Corps Releases Be a Volunteer

September 14, 2011

Short film portrays how Americans can live, learn and work with a community overseas

Washington, D.C., Sept. 14, 2011 In a new short film released by Peace Corps entitled Be a Volunteer, Peace Corps volunteers use compelling examples to showcase the daily life of volunteers serving around the world. In less than 13 minutes, the comprehensive short film highlights the service of volunteers and the benefits of living and working with a community overseas. Be a Volunteer can be viewed on the Peace Corps website.

Be a Volunteer represents the rich diversity of Americans inspired to serve with Peace Corps in communities around the world, said Peace Corp Director Aaron S. Williams (Dominican Republic, 1967-1970). Americans can learn about the incredible work and experience that is Peace Corps and explore whether service, and the chance to become a global citizen, is the right fit for them.

The short film depicts volunteers living and working in their local communities, said Brennan Winter (Zambia, 2004-2006). Its inspiring. I teared-up when I saw the urban gardening project in Senegal.

Be a Volunteer shows Americans from all backgrounds and regions of the United States working on projects in agriculture, business, education, environment, health, and youth and community development. Volunteers also discuss Peace Corps support of volunteer health and safety, communication with family and friends, volunteer housing and daily life, and benefits including graduate school and career opportunities after service.

Peace Corps volunteers serve for 27 months, which includes an average of three months of in-country training in language, cross-cultural and technical skills. In addition to gaining invaluable leadership experience, there are many benefits for Peace Corps volunteers:

  • Student Loans Partial Cancellation and Deferment: Volunteers with Perkins loans may be eligible for a partial cancellation benefit, ranging from 15 to 70 percent of an existing loan. Volunteers may qualify for school deferments with other loan programs.


  • Transition Funds: Returning from overseas requires some adjustment. To assist with the transition back home, volunteers are paid $7,425 (before taxes) at the close of 27 months of service.


  • Living Expenses: Peace Corps provides volunteers with a living allowance that enables them to live in a manner similar to the local people in their community, which covers housing, food, and incidentals.


  • Medical and Dental: Volunteers have full coverage during service and access to affordable health insurance for up to 18 months following service.


  • Vacation Time: Volunteers receive two vacation days per month of service, a total of 48 days over two years.


  • Graduate School Opportunities: Combine graduate school with Peace Corps service, or get lifetime eligibility as a returned volunteer for graduate school scholarships, credit for service, fellowships, and internships.


  • Advantages in Federal Employment: Volunteers who complete two years of service receive one year of noncompetitive eligibility for employment in the federal government.


  • No Fee: Unlike most international volunteer programs, there is no fee to participate in Peace Corps and travel costs are provided to and from the country of service.
Peace Corps recommends that applicants submit their applications as early as possible to match applicant skills to upcoming volunteer positions worldwide. Applicants should submit a completed application nine months to a year in advance of anticipated date of departure.

About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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