About Peace Corps

Peace Corps Mission
To promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:
  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans
Peace Corps established:  March 1, 1961
Total number of countries served:  139
Current number of countries served:  65 countries
Total number of Volunteers/Trainees to Date:  215,000+
Current number of Volunteers/Trainees:  7,209
Volunteer Gender:  63% female, 37% male
Volunteer Average Age:  28.7

Volunteer Sectors:
Education: 40%
Health: 22%
Environment: 12%
Community Economic Development: 11%
Youth in Development: 7%
Agriculture: 5%
Other: 3%

Where Volunteers Serve:
Africa: 46%
Latin America: 20%
Eastern Europe/Central Asia: 13%
Asia: 10%
The Caribbean: 4%
North Africa/Middle East: 4%
Pacific Islands: 3%

About Peace Corps
So as Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs), what are we? Peace-loving nomadic hippies? Motivated do-gooders? Resumé builders gaining experience in global development? Experts putting their technical skills to use? College grads taking some time to figure out what they want to do with their life? Students working on their Master's degree? YES... to all of the above, and more! (I guess I'm a blend of first 3 categories.) PCVs commit to this life overseas for many different reasons, and we don't all fit under one label. But the application and screening process is pretty intense, so "joining the Peace Corps" isn't as casual as it sounds. In general, PCVs are united in our desire to make a difference and experience life in another culture.

PCVs live and serve for 2 years in a developing nation, working at the grassroots level toward sustainable change. Most of us are placed in rural villages, but some of us (like myself) end up in semi-urban areas or even big cities, depending on where the need lies and where our skills best fit. We spend 2-3 months in training before being placed in our permanent sites. The training is pretty rigorous: we study the culture, learn about the political system, acquire useful technical skills, and learn the local languages (basic proficiency is required before we can be installed). 

Some PCVs are assigned to work with existing projects or NGOs, but for most of us, our service is an open book to make of it what we choose! For me, that opportunity is exhilarating. I can create my own projects from scratch, partner up with local organizations, and dictate my own schedule. Despite this freedom, it's a challenging life adjusting to the culture, making do without many conveniences (running water, electricity, etc.), navigating a very different social and political landscape, swapping between languages, pushing ahead and innovating new projects, and being pointed out daily as someone foreign and different. Still, the rewards make it all worth it: a deep integration with our host family and community, a lasting impact on individuals, new ideas planted, and projects started and taken over by the community (the best possible outcome!).

“Peace Corps has been a leader in international development and citizen diplomacy for more than 50 years. In an increasingly interdependent world, we tackle challenges that know no borders — such as climate change, pandemic disease, food security, and gender equality and empowerment. Although times have changed since the Peace Corps' founding in 1961, the agency's mission - to promote world peace and friendship - has not.” —Peace Corps website