Peace Corps

  www.peacecorps.gov
  www.peacecorps.gov

Peace Corps Reviews

Updated 19 November, 2014
Updated 19 November, 2014
412 Reviews
4.3
412 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
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Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet
Carrie Hessler-Radelet
109 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Leadership experience, learn a new language, experience new cultures (in 33 reviews)

  • You go planning to meet really interesting Host Country Nationals (HCN) and you end up meeting some amazing fellow Americans as well (in 22 reviews)


Cons
  • Admin doesn't quite understand the realities of being a volunteer, but that depends country to country (in 22 reviews)

  • Peace Corps has a "five-year rule" which limits employment and reduces institutional memory (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    It might be the most interesting thing you ever do

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - English Teacher
    Former Employee - English Teacher

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

    Pros

    Training groups are small and build great camaraderie. Everyday things that happen will make great stories for years. Heck, the nasty stuff that happens too will likely make great stories and be retroactively appreciated - you can at the very least brag to most people back home. When you get over the challenges and do something, you will have a great feeling of competence, ability, and satisfaction. You feel like what you're doing helps people other than just yourself, and you can see the effects of that concretely and immediately - unlike if you were shuffling papers at a desk in a highrise somewhere, no matter how important that job may be theoretically. If you're someone who likes to prove that you can do things for yourself, you will probably get no shortage of opportunities to do that, whether it's communicating in an obscure language or figuring out how to bake a pizza without any of the required equipment. To make up for the strangeness and remoteness Peace Corps also takes care of a lot of stuff for you - visas, training (two MONTHS of training), various freebies appropriate to your environment, and so on, and all your medical expenses are free. When you've completed service, you get a bonus (over $7,000) and a year of "non-competitive eligibility" (preference in hiring for federal jobs). Even without the official preference, it impresses a lot of interviewers.

    Cons

    You will suddenly relocate to an under-developed country you probably don't know anything about, learn a new language, and make a commitment to it for at least two years. Some people want to do exactly that, but in my experience most people don't want to, especially if they have a stable job and a long-term relationship in the U.S. Periods of high pressure and unexpected problems alternate with ones of boredom and loneliness. You will be physically uncomfortable (too hot, too cold, too wet, too sick) and likely not have constant access to one or all of the following: transportation, plumbing, peanut butter, electricity, internet, TV, other Americans/English speakers, and so on. You will not get paid much, because you are expected to live similarly to the people around you, although this is enough if you don't have expensive tastes (I even saved a little money). Furthermore, in most of the countries, people don't value punctuality as much as in America, so you spend lots of time waiting around. The P.C. staff are great, but they may live more than a day's journey away, with bad postal and internet service. None of this bothered me too much, but it does bother a lot of people. Occasionally the placement decisions are inscrutable; I knew a couple of people who studied environmental science but got sent to teach English. PC looks good on resumes and in interviews, but there isn't a lot of mobility within Peace Corps itself, because it's intended to be a 2-year stint (5 years for country directors and other staff).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider placements and assignments carefully, and explain the decision to volunteers and allow their input.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    A challenging, but rewarding experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Education Volunteer in Freetown (Sierra Leone)
    Former Employee - Education Volunteer in Freetown (Sierra Leone)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    A chance to work very independently. Your experience is truly what you make of it.

    Cons

    You will be working in a bureaucracy, both in the PC office in country and PC HQ in DC, so be prepared for slow and sometimes unresponsive communications.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Use on the ground experience to shape local PC policies, rather than surrounding countries and DC.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Worthwhile, and certainly unforgettable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Former Employee - Health Volunteer
    Former Employee - Health Volunteer

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    It is what you make of it; lots of freedom and encouragement from PC supervisors, though this depends on the country of placement. You have substantial freedom, and work directly with community members and members of NGO's, PC, etc. alike, in managing projects and developing the health projects (as needed) in your site. It was a wonderful experience and (can) enhance your confidence, creativity, and ability to create sustainable projects with limited resources. Amazing that an organization will support you financially to live amongst a foreign culture for two years.

    Cons

    (As with Pros, Cons are very dependent on the country of placement) Lack of communication (and ergo efficiency) between PC supervisors, and often between supervisors and volunteers. PC offices (in-country) can be under-staffed and this makes it difficult for employees to stay up-to-date regarding volunteer's needs (even if they do care about volunteer happiness, etc.). Inefficient language training as well. There is of course lots of bureaucracy involved in working for the government. Many volunteers struggle with the seclusion, but this is a personal obstacle, and one that's worth overcoming for the chance to integrate with a new culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take advice from volunteers seriously regarding site preparation and training

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    High highs low lows - toughest job you'll ever love.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    I loved my project - youth development - and it launched my career.

    Cons

    Living in a developing country can pose challenges and the nature of Peace Corps service is full-on, you're a volunteer 24/7.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Community Economic Development Volunteer

    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Peace Corps

    Pros

    culture exchange
    working in development
    flexible work environment
    training

    Cons

    securing sustainability
    no work structure
    27 month commitment

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Health volunteer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Health Volunteer in Accra (Ghana)
    Former Employee - Health Volunteer in Accra (Ghana)

    I worked at Peace Corps as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Ability to work independently, be creative, learn about another culture and give back.

    Cons

    In country staff does not provide timely feedback

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide thoughtful and timely feedback to volunteers to continue to inspire them.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Worth the experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    You get real life grassroots development practice. Peace Corps does an excellent job training you in all aspects so you are ready to hit the ground running at your site. It is truly a unique experience.

    Cons

    It is an individual experience and depends on not only how much work you put in but the work of your counterpart. Things move slower in a developing country. Can be lonely at points.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Some rules are too repressive. The amount of reporting and paperwork is also a bit ridiculous.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Good Times as a Volunteer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in Johannesburg (South Africa)
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in Johannesburg (South Africa)

    I worked at Peace Corps as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Freedom to choose your scope of work.
    Lots of free time.
    See interesting places.

    Cons

    Low pay - Sometimes you live a quality of life below that of your host-country peers.
    You may get placed in a site where there is little community buy-in.
    Sometimes you will need to pass through unsafe areas during your travels exposing yourself to crime.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in more intensive site development.
    More accommodating medical staff in-country.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Not easy or fun, but wouldn't take it back!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Rural Health & Sanitation Extentionist in Villarrica (Paraguay)
    Current Employee - Rural Health & Sanitation Extentionist in Villarrica (Paraguay)

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    A life-changing experience that builds skills such as resourcefulness, determination, endurance... ability to overcome hardship.

    Cons

    You are totally on your own so you must be a self-starter and self-organizer in order to have a worthwhile experience.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great work & thank you for everything.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11.  

    Peace Corps Volunteer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer
    Current Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time

    Pros

    Learn a new language
    Meet amazing friends you'll have for a lifetime
    Push yourself past all your boundaries

    Cons

    After training little to no support from administrative staff
    Ambiguous program goals
    Very little transferable skills

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide more in country support to volunteers and make sure PCMOs in country are actually competent

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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