Peace Corps Reviews

Updated 17 September 2014
Updated 17 September 2014
378 Reviews
4.3
378 Reviews
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Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet
Carrie Hessler-Radelet
95 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Leadership experience, learn a new language, experience new cultures (in 31 reviews)

  • You go planning to meet really interesting Host Country Nationals (HCN) and you end up meeting some amazing fellow Americans as well (in 21 reviews)


Cons
  • Admin doesn't quite understand the realities of being a volunteer, but that depends country to country (in 21 reviews)

  • Five-year rule causes too much turn over, you need to be looking for a new job when you walk in the door (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great experience! I highly recommend it!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Community Economic Development Volunteer  in  Arequipa, Arequipa (Peru)
    Former Employee - Community Economic Development Volunteer in Arequipa, Arequipa (Peru)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I think the pros are obvious. You get to live in another country and experience a foreign culture like very few Americans have. You gain a perspective on development that is very difficult to get anywhere else.

    Cons

    Sometimes you do feel the bureaucracy of the Federal Government. The pros outweigh the cons.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Help out your volunteers when they need it.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Exceptional, Challenging Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer Health  in  Brikama Ba (Gambia)
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer Health in Brikama Ba (Gambia)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - PAID field experience
    - diverse options in terms of location placement, work opportunities, experiences i.e. health sector vs agfo, Latin America vs Eastern Europe, rural bush life vs island life vs developing urban area
    - unique opportunity for international experience while serving your nation
    - a large degree of freedom to determine your own work i.e. pick your own project

    - NCE when you complete service
    - graduate school fellowships/scholarships

    Cons

    - minimal input on country placement (could be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective)
    - limited emphasis placed on M&E of projects
    - limited institutional memory - can often feel like reinventing the wheel
    - placement country and staff capabilities vary heavily

    Recommends
  3.  

    Really wonderful experience but can be a crap-shoot

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer  in  Kigali, Kigali (Rwanda)
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in Kigali, Kigali (Rwanda)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Test your independence, great philosophy of working on a grass roots level and respecting host country nationals, an incredibly unique and potentially very rewarding experience.

    Cons

    PC didn't do a great job with matching volunteers with their interests all the time. Other volunteers weren't as driven as expected. It's the US government and things can get bureaucratic/politicy

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have a shorter, but more rigorous application process and baby volunteers less (especially during training). Allow volunteers more control over their placements.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Community Development Volunteer

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Peace Corps

    Pros

    Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is an incredible experience. I loved my community, the high quality language instruction, and the community development projects in my country.

    Cons

    Peace Corps is a demanding experience, emotionally and physically. I would encourage all applicants to deeply reflect on whether or not this type of experience is right for them.

    The bureaucracy is frustrating, no matter what country you are in.

  6.  

    Peace Corps is not for everybody, but I have certainly never regretted my decision to join.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - TEFL Volunteer  in  Panamá (Panama)
    Current Employee - TEFL Volunteer in Panamá (Panama)

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Opportunity to dedicate your time to something about which you are really passionate about; ability to work independently without too much bureaucratic constraint and without the boss breathing down your neck or mandating your work hours.

    Cons

    Feeling a lack of productivity. Being a full-time community organizer can make you feel like hanging out and making friends is part of your job. (Which can also be a pro.) Type-As will have to learn to relax and go with the flow in order to get people to trust you and work with you on projects. Type-Bs will have to learn to be proactive in order to get anything done in your Peace Corps site.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management needs to be as willing as the volunteers are to get their hands dirty and deal with the unpopular and unsexy issues!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    It was life changing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - English Education Volunteer  in  Chisinau (Moldova)
    Current Employee - English Education Volunteer in Chisinau (Moldova)

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Life experience that will be a huge asset to future careers. Empowering yourself and the community where you serve.

    Cons

    Cultural challenges, weather, harsh living conditions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Support volunteers fully and make sure their voices and concerns are heard.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    An opportunity to learn about other cultures and discover your strengths and weaknesses

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - GSA  in  Cochabamba (Bolivia)
    Former Employee - GSA in Cochabamba (Bolivia)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    This is one in a life time experience to grow. You have international exposure, improve language skills, learn how to work and adapt to work within a different culture and within bi-national teams.
    It gives you the opportunity to value what you had the opportunity to enjoy in US.

    Cons

    It can be challenging at times to adjust to new cultures, salaries are not great,

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It can be bureaucratic.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9.  

    Timeliness? Not so much. Opportunity to test yourself and experience the world? Eee, bomma le borra!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - NGO Volunteer  in  Gaborone (Botswana)
    Current Employee - NGO Volunteer in Gaborone (Botswana)

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I feel that I am part of a family of volunteers (even international ones) where we are bound together in this odd place, trying to figure out how to maneuver and support eachother. In my work with NGOs daily, I get to see beyond the reports, articles, and textbooks the dynamics of development on the ground and how messy if can be - but, also, since we have no clear job description, you can find your own strengths in working with host country nationals in developing sustainable changes (if it is possible).

    Cons

    Staff is unresponsive on the ground. We are not allowed to drive, can barely afford transport and communication, food is hard to fit in the budget if you want to go beyond grains (at least we are getting the local context), but with all this... It takes days for staff to remember to respond to a text or e- mail. Also, we need several layers of permission for basic things. Even my local friends wonder why we are sent here and expected to accomplish so much (even if we have no clear job description - we must report on and measure our activities quarterly) with few resources, bureaucratic rules, and unresponsive ness.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your volunteers and try to help adjust pay for those of us living in more expensive areas than the others. No area is the same - stop treating it that way! And please stop expecting us to have laptops, etc., then do nothing to help us get and maintain the appropriate sort.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Formative experience - extremely helpful for defining future career

    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer  in  Dakar (Republic of Congo)
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in Dakar (Republic of Congo)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great opportunities to learn from community because of independent work environment.

    Cons

    Level of funding from Congress would allow for greater support for training and other support services for volunteers.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    A challenging experience that builds character and helps one understand how the developing world operates.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - CED Peace Corps Volunteer  in  Okongo (Namibia)
    Former Employee - CED Peace Corps Volunteer in Okongo (Namibia)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Being able to work with diverse groups of host country nationals (HCN) and hear their stories.
    - Clearly seeing the results of your and your colleagues' work.
    - The ability to use a wide range of skills and having the freedom to take part in a number of unique projects.
    - Becoming an expert in the country and part of the world that you are assigned to.
    - Gaining basic proficiency in a foreign language.
    - Becoming integrated in and very close to a host family and a, typically small, host community.

    Cons

    - Peace Corps Pre-Service Training (PST) is often too broad and not specific or technical enough.
    - The potential and quality of volunteer sites often varies dramatically.
    - Peace Corps staff, like sites, vary dramatically in both ability and knowledge which can be frustrating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The Peace Corps has a huge amount of potential. However, more technical training needs to be provided during PST on policies and document formatting requirements specific to the country that a group of volunteers is serving in. For example, providing more technical information during PST could help ensure that volunteers did not waste months of their time assisting HCNs with writing business plans and government contract bids that did not actually meet the basic requirements of the country's financial institutions and government offices. This was a situation I observed firsthand, on numerous occasion, during my own service that could have easily been rectified with a few additional country specific community economic development technical training sessions during PST.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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