If you are considering applying to the Peace Corps, hopefully, explaining my experience throughout the application process will be helpful for you. I applied hoping to be considered, but was nervous I may not have the necessary background or skills to actually be a serious candidate. I applied anyway and would suggest doing so for anyone with similar concerns– the worse thing that can happen is being told “no”, but it is better to find out than to not try at all. Plus, you can always try again later on.
The application itself is relatively easy and should take about an hour according to the website. However, the motivational statement and resume will set you back a few hours if you have not already prepared them. I would highly recommend doing a little research before attempting these parts, such as Peace Corps sample resumes (this is important) and what you might want to include in your motivational statement.
Look up samples! Research what your resume should look like and contain. My resume was a glorious three pages, beginning with “Qualifying Skills”, “Professional Experience”, “Education”, “Specialized Skills”, and ending with “International Travel”. I decided that showing where I had traveled would be important because it demonstrated that I am adventurous and like experiencing new places that may have different cultures, ideologies, etc.
Three pages seems like a lot, but the Peace Corps wants to get an idea of who you are. They want to know how many hours you spent tutoring kids in math during high school– Really! I was asked to complete a Skills Addendum Form, which basically asks questions that identify whether you are actually qualified for that position or not. When I received the email to complete this, my initial response was panic and I thought my Peace Corps dream had come to an end so early on in the process. However, I reached out to a recruiter via email and he was nice enough to call me with some suggestions that proved to be really helpful (otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now). I completed the Skills Addendum and sent in an updated resume with how many hours I spent doing certain tasks; for example, “Tutored foreign exchange students in English (5 cumulative hours)”.
While I was preparing to write my motivational statement, I read a few blogs/samples and then researched the Peace Corps’ Core Expectations, their mission, and global initiatives. I wanted my statement to represent my passion for service and desire to make positive change in the lives of others, while showing that I had taken the initiative to learn about how the Peace Corps plays a part in the world. My motivational statement is included below and may be semi-cheesy, but I’d rather risk sounding cheesy than not showing how much I wanted to be a part of the Peace Corps.
My Motivational Statement
Since I was ten, I have always wanted to do big things in this world– I even told my best friend that I was going to be Oprah when I grew up. She was brilliant and successful, but I was most impressed when I watched a news special about the school she had built for girls in Africa. When I was graduating from high school, I was asked to write about my future profession and this was when I first wrote about my desire to finish college and then join the Peace Corps as a teacher. Oprah knew what a valuable tool having an education was and I saw the Peace Corps as my opportunity to give that to others.
Now that I have completed college, my desire to join the Peace Corps is just as powerful as it was when I wrote about my future profession. My reasons for joining have expanded, but the initial desire to do good is still strong. One of my biggest motivators is the desire to enact change and add positivity to the lives of others. I am careful with how I word wanting to help others because sometimes the intent is good, but it can also lead you to believe that another person’s way of life needs to be changed if it differs from your own thoughts or initial beliefs. My goal is to fully immerse myself in the culture of the community and to work with them and their children in hopes of building bright futures for them all. I hope my presence and joining the community led solutions will influence how education for adolescent girls is viewed and make education more accessible to them.
Education is very important to me and I recognize that the work required of a Peace Corps volunteer cannot be completed in a short period of time and that I must be present for the allotted amount of time. To improve the quality of life people, I understand that there are steps I must go through in order to be successful. Establishing rapport with the local community and the students takes time and I must act in a professional manner to best represent the Peace Corps, the United States, and myself. In order to fulfill my role in as a teacher, I know that I must also be a student when I am learning from the local people and show my respect for their beliefs.
Joining the Peace Corps has been a dream that has followed me since high school and I hope that I will have the opportunity to actually do it. I hope to influence positive change in the lives of others I come in contact with and leave a lasting impression. What I really admire about the role of an educator is the fact that they get to work with children who have infinite possibility and will have the power to shape their own future as individuals and as a community.
This blog does not reflect the views of and is not associated with Peace Corps, any of its staff or volunteers, or the United States Government.