Peace Corps

  www.peacecorps.gov
  www.peacecorps.gov

Peace Corps Reviews

Updated November 19, 2014
Updated November 19, 2014
413 Reviews
4.3
413 Reviews
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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.  

    great experience

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

    I worked at Peace Corps

    Pros

    I am a volunteer who had a remarkably good experience with Peace Corps- good site placement, no issues with admin, lots of professional and personal development opportunities.

    Cons

    however, I know that not everyone is as lucky as I was - including volunteers in my program. If I had had serious issues, I was not 100% confident the admin staff would have had sufficient competency to handle it.

    Recommends
  3.  

    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
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  5.  

    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
  6.  

    Worth the pain.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Agroforestry Extension Agent in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Agroforestry Extension Agent in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    Unbelievably unique opportunity to gain a global perspective and complete projects from inception to completion. The kind of experience you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

    Cons

    Often very difficult living conditions along the lines of no electricity or running water and extreme weather. You must be on duty 24/7 and witness some harsh injustices.

    Recommends
  7.  

    Life changing

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Peace Corps

    Pros

    Works that is meaningful for you

    Cons

    Tough living conditions at times

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the great work

  8.  

    Don't expect to last as a staff if not your home country

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

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

    Pros

    Worked as a Program Trainer (staff) in Latin America and proved to be a great experience. I got a change to get to know each one of the volunteers prior to them being placed on their communities, work with different communities, and work with all the different staff at the office throughout the trainings. Salary/benefits were above average for local conditions, however, definitely not competitive when compared to other large governmental organizations. Time-off was great. There were several months during the year when we would work 60-80 hrs/week, but were able to accrued extra time and then take additional time off. Office culture was above average, great staff and good management overall.

    Cons

    Upper management was not able to provide effective strategies for Project Managers to improve their quality of work. This resulted in high trainer turnover over 5-7 years due to working relationships with PM--most likely because of political strings.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's good to suggest for staff to "manage up", but it comes a time when the PMs need to improve their quality of work and actually do their job and manage.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Once in a lifetime experience

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

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

    Pros

    You get to travel to a new country and immerse yourself in a new culture. You get to plan your own projects based on your community's needs plus have one-on-one interaction with people in your community. The Peace Corps staff in country are very supportive plus you have all your fellow volunteers who help you out and whom you can collaborate with.

    Cons

    You will get lonely because it will probably be the first time you have ever been away from your friends and family for a LONG time. However you learn your limits from that so that's good. If you really like a structured work day and such and are not good at planning by yourself it will also be hard for you. Also, many programs are in countries with no running water or electricity so if you're high maintenance that's something to think about too.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep funding Peace Corps! :)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great life-work balance and experience for furthering career or earning MA degree

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

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

    Pros

    Minimal oversight. Very good for people who are outgoing and self-motivated. Great work-life balance. Compensation is low, obviously, but no problem getting by on allowance.

    Cons

    Pre-Service Training could be better, but is pretty useful in terms of cultural and linguistic training.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    An amazing adventure

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in Washington, DC

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

    Pros

    It is a way to see life from a completely new perspective and do something truly worthwhile.

    Cons

    Many people cannot sacrifice so much of themselves.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nothing, I loved my time.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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