Prepare for the Peace Corps
For 13 years, the Peace Corps has ranked the University of Mary Washington among the nation’s top-producing colleges for alumni now serving as Peace Corps volunteers. UMW’s Peace Corps Prep program will prepare current students for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, students will build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support.
What is Peace Corps Prep?
Peace Corps Prep is a program for undergraduates that centers on one empowering question: How can you prepare yourself to be the best Peace Corps Volunteer you can be? There is no one right answer to that question, but the Peace Corps has identified four core competencies that are critical to the intercultural fieldwork Peace Corps Volunteers do:
- Sector-specific skills
- Foreign language proficiency
- Intercultural competence
- Professional savvy and leadership
Completing the Peace Corps Prep program does not guarantee acceptance into the Peace Corps. However, completion of the program will give you a competitive edge.
This program is not a UMW Certificate Program (it will not be included on a student’s transcript). Once you complete the program, you will receive a certificate of completion from the Peace Corps.
Leveraging concrete knowledge and skills is central to on the ground international development work. Through this PC Prep program, you will begin to build a professional specialty, which should serve your career well whether or not you become a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Participants will complete the requirements of each competency listed below by their graduation date (Training and Experience, Intercultural Competence, Professional and Leadership Development, and Foreign Language Skills).
Training and Experience
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. See Requirements
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. See Requirements
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). See Requirements
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 Prep curriculum. Where would you like to serve? PC Prep minimum course requirements align with those needed by applicants to the Peace Corps itself, which vary by linguistic region. See Requirements
- Must be a UMW degree-seeking student
- Must be a second-semester freshman, sophomore, or first-semester junior in good standing.
- Review the Peace Corps Prep Student Guide
- Complete the Peace Corps Prep Application.
- You will be contacted by the UMW Peace Corps Prep Coordinator, Jose Sainz, Director, Center for International Education, regarding next steps.