Monday, September 26, 2005

I get tons of questions about Peace Corps in general, so here's a quick break down. The links are to different pages that I found interesting and helpful during my research of and preparation for Peace Corps service. There are also a number of books that were quite helpful. If you want book recommendations, or if you can't find what you're looking for here, let me know!

Peace Corps Mission:
  1. To help the peoples of interested countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of the American people on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people.
Application Process: A rolling process that takes between 6 months and one year to complete from start to finish, so apply early!

Length of Service: Pre-service training, which last between 2 and 3 months, after which you are sworn in as an official Peace Corps volunteer and you begin your 24 months of service.

Where do volunteers serve?:
To date, PC volunteers have served in over 138 countries around the world. There are currently just over 7700 volunteers serving in 72 countries in seven different regions: Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, North Africa & the Middle East, Eastern Europe & Central Asia, Asia, and Pacific Islands

What do volunteers do?: Work in the areas of Education, Youth Outreach, and Community Development; Business Development; Environment; Agriculture; Health and HIV/AIDS; and Information Technology

Acronyms: Peace Corps is famous for its use of different abbreviations, creating what seems to be a language entirely its own. I will probably use them in different blog postings, so I thought I would include a glossary. Below are a few of the most common:

  • APCD: Associate Peace Corps Director- the director, often a HCN, in charge of your program
  • CD: Country Director- senior Peace Corps official in the country of assignment
  • COS: Close of service- completion of Peace Corps service
  • DOS: Description of service
  • EAP: Emergency action plan- strategy developed by each country to respond to crisis
  • ET: Early termination- separation from service other than COS
  • HCN: Host country national
  • IOS: Interruption of service- occurs when an entire program is closed in a country during a volunteer's service period
  • IST: In-service training
  • Medevac: Medically evacuation
  • Med Sep: Medical separation- occurs when a PCT or PCV is sent home for medical reasons)
  • OMS: Office of medical services
  • PCMO: PC medical officer
  • PCT: Peace Corps trainee- prospective PCV currently training in-country
  • PCV: Peace Corps volunteer- PCT who has been sworn-in
  • PST: Pre-Service Training- period of approx. 8-12 weeks of in-country training
  • RPCV: Returned Peace Corps Volunteer- a PC volunteer who has successfully completed service
(information gathered from and the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook)