By Shannon Rae Gentry
As SCAD students look forward to graduation this June, the slowly recovering economy may have some worried about finding job prospects in their fields. Or some young men and women may not be ready to return to the workforce after years of project deadlines and sitting in class absorbing valuable knowledge.
Some plan to hit the backpacking trails to celebrate the end of a milestone. However, as accumulated academic expenses slowly collect interest, the proverbial monkey on graduates’ backs may prevent any such post-graduation luxuries.
An option to help adventurous graduates actually live abroad, while gaining work experience and time to figure out the “next steps” is to become Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs).
Since 1961, countries across the globe have invited PCVs to work within communities, and while the program has developed over the years the mission still encompasses three simple goals in cross-cultural education.
PCV assignments reflect host country needs and attempt to match volunteers’ professional experiences and backgrounds. Usually falling into one of several categories, including Education and Youth Development, PCVs with arts and humanities degrees have many project opportunities. Volunteers often apply their special interests to the work so their skills can benefit along with the community.
Benefits of service also include deferment of student loans and a monthly living allowance. Granted, people do not join the Peace Corps for profit or to live an extravagant lifestyle–often not even a comfortable one–but rather to live and travel abroad for little to no money.
“I was interested in pursuing Peace Corps because [I] heard from former volunteers what a challenge it could be,” says former volunteer Joseph Eddy, now a Volunteer Placement and Assessment Specialist with Peace Corps. “I see it as a great opportunity to serve the US and a community abroad, all the while having a rich cultural experience.”
Peace Corps commonly requires a four-year degree and a positive attitude, offering a fit for many personalities, ideals and interests. Much like what students, faculty and staff have found at SCAD over the years.
Though Peace Corps is not the only option for SCAD graduates, it just might be the right fit for some. Go to www.peacecorps.govContact Shannon Rae Gentry.