Peace Corps Prep Program
The University of South Florida (USF) is a globally focused public research institution dedicated to student success. The University's mission is to deliver competitive undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, to generate knowledge, foster intellectual development, and ensure student success in a global environment. The Peace Corps Prep Program aligns with the strategic goals of the university and our efforts to provide students with high-quality global experiences—on campus and across the world. The Peace Corps Prep program will enrich USF students' educational environment, provide valuable work-force skills, and inspire students to choose Peace Corps service.
PEACE CORPS PREP OVERVIEW
The Peace Corps Prep (PC Prep) program will prepare you for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, you'll build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support. These four competencies are the following:
- Training and Experience in a Work Sector
- Foreign Language Skills
- Intercultural Competence and Global Citizenship
- Professional and Leadership Development
The Peace Corps Prep Student Guide explains each of these requirements in detail. Use this guide to map out your Peace Corps Prep course of study. In particular, refer to this when completing your PC Prep application, where you'll need to document how you plan to fulfill each requirement. This guide aligns point-by-point with each section of the application. Be sure to read all of it before you begin your journey.
1. Training and Experience in a Specific Work Sector
For PC Prep, you need to complete at least 3 courses that align with a specific work sector (they can but do not need to come from your academic major or minor). You also must accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferably in a teaching or outreach capacity. There are six sectors in which Peace Corps Volunteers serve—detailed below by clicking on each of graphic.
Choose one sector to focus on then complete at least 3 courses + 50 hours of related experience in that sector.
2. Foreign Language Skills
Working across cultures often entails verbal and nonverbal languages distinct from
your own. Building foreign language skills is thus a second key component of the PC
Latin America: Individuals wanting to serve in Spanish-speaking countries must apply with strong intermediate proficiency. This typically means completing two 200-level courses.
West Africa: Individuals wanting to serve in French-speaking African countries should be proficient in French (or, in some cases, any Romance Language) through one 200-level course.
Everywhere else: The Peace Corps has no explicit language requirements for individuals applying to serve in most other countries. However, you will still likely learn and utilize another language during service, so it is only helpful to have taken at least one foreign language class.
Note: If you are a strong native speaker and hope to serve in a country that speaks your same language, you can skip this requirement! Be sure to include it on your application and resume.
For information about all the language courses offered at USF, review the Department of World Languages Undergraduate Programs.
3. Intercultural Competence and Global Citizenship
Engaging thoughtfully and fluidly across cultures begins with one's own self-awareness. With this learning objective, you will deepen your cultural agility through a mix of three introspective courses in which you learn about others while reflecting upon your own self in relation to others. The goal is for you to build your capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences.
Intercultural Competence for USF Peace Corps Prep Program:
For this competency, you will need to take three courses: one core course in Diversity and Inclusion and two relevant electives. You will have the option of engaging in substantive intercultural experiences in place of one or both electives.
1. Core Courses: Select one in Diversity and Inclusion
- Diversity and Inclusion offering that helps you to increase cultural self- and other-understanding, building adaptability around relevant cultural differences.
- Intercultural Communication, Multicultural Counseling, or courses that integrate self-reflection into the study of marginalized groups (i.e., classes focused on race, gender, sexuality, or disabilities).
2. Electives: Select two relevant electives
- To fill out this competency, you will need to take two more courses of the Diversity and Inclusion type or more globally-oriented classes such as: International Development, area studies (i.e., African Studies, Latin American Studies, etc.), the Economics of Poverty, Peace Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Emerging Markets, World Literature, etc.
3. Optional: Intercultural experience in place of elective(s): You have the option
of substituting intercultural experiences for one or both electives.
a. Studying or volunteering abroad may count if you visit a country that has at some point hosted Peace Corps Volunteers. Studying or volunteering abroad in these countries from one week to a summer may substitute for one course. Experiences that last a full semester may substitute for both electives.
b. Other intercultural experiences, such as helping new immigrants/refugees acculturate to the U.S. or volunteering in diverse schools, may also count. If they also align with one of Peace Corps' six sectors, these experiences may simultaneously count for that hands-on experiential requirement. Each distinct intercultural experience lasting at least forty hours may substitute for one elective. You may want to join the Disaster and Humanitarian Relief Student Collaborative here at USF.
4. Professional and Leadership Development
Peace Corps service and similar international development work opportunities are highly professional and selective. PC Prep requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps (or any other professional endeavor):
- Attend a workshop or enroll in a class to improve your resume writing or interview skills offered by USF Career Services.
- Have your resume reviewed by USF Career Services in the Student Services Center.
- Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully and present it in your Final ePortfolio, along with your resume, For example, organizing a campus event, leading a work or volunteer project, or serving on the executive board of a student organization.
Become a Peace Corps Ambassador: Get to know USF's dedicated Peace Corps Recruiter and help spread the word about the unique opportunities available through Peace Corps service.
Not sure how to get involved? Download a road map to get you started.
The benefits of completing the Peace Corps Prep Program
- Developing your skills and knowledge through various coursework that builds upon your international competence and sector-specific interests, with hands-on experiences, and support from career services, advising, and other institutional departments.
- When you complete the PC Prep Program, you receive a Certificate of Completion from Peace Corps, as well as, a notation on your USF transcripts.
- With the successful completion of the PC Prep Program, you will be more competitive for job applications and your future career.
Peace Corps Resources
- Explore Peace Corps' interactive placement portal of where volunteers currently and previously serve.
- Search for a Peace Corps Recruiter near you.
- Take a look at Peace Corps' YouTube videos. There, you'll find videos on what volunteers do, the video to on how apply to Peace Corps, and many more resources.
For more information: Please contact Peace Corps Prep Coordinator, Dr. Alexxis Avalon at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (813) 974-5313. To schedule a meeting with her, you can see real-time availability and schedule a time here.
Disclaimer - Please Note: Enrolling in Peace Corps Prep won't guarantee selection into Peace Corps, but will strengthen your candidacy for applying to Peace Corps and add intrinsic value to your resume for other job opportunities.