The Peace Corps Prep program prepares students for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service.
The program requires students to build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support.
1. Training and experience in a work sector
Students need to complete at least 3 courses that align with a specific work sector. These courses can but do not need to come from the academic major or minor. Completion of at least 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector is also required. There are six sectors in which Peace Corps Volunteers serve:
For the education track, complete 3 courses from Elementary Education, Communication Studies, English, Anthropology, Psychology, or Mathematics.
For the health track, complete 3 courses from Biology, Biochemistry/Chemistry, Global Public Health, Kinesiology, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Med, Pre-Pharmacy, or Pre-Nursing.
For the environment track, complete 3 courses from Environmental Studies and Sustainability or Biology.
For the agriculture track, complete 3 courses from Biology, Education Studies, History, Global Food Security, Political Science, Philosophy, or Economics.
5. Youth in Development
For the Youth in Development track, complete 3 courses from Anthropology and Sociology, Communication Studies, Elementary Education, Kinesiology, or Psychology
6. Community Economic Development
For the Community Economic Development track, take 3 courses from Accounting, Arts Management, Communication Studies, Mathematics, Computer Science, Business, Sociology, Public Relations, or Political Science.
2. Foreign Language Skills
Foreign language requirements vary by placement. Most students must hone their capacity to interact professionally using a non-English language. Minimum course requirements vary by desired placement region.
Students indicating an intention to serve in Spanish-speaking countries must build strong intermediate proficiency, having completed two 200-level courses or learned Spanish through another medium.
Students indicating an intention to serve in French-speaking African countries must build proficiency in French, Portuguese, German, or another Romance language, having completed one 200-level course or learned the language through another medium.
Students indicating an intention to serve anywhere else do not have explicit language requirements to complete the program, but they should still be
encouraged to study a foreign language.
Note: If you are a strong native speaker and hope to serve in a country that speaks your same language, you can skip this requirement!
3. Intercultural competence
Engaging thoughtfully and fluidly across cultures begins with one’s own self-awareness. With this learning objective, you will deepen your cultural agility through a mix of three introspective courses in which you learn about others while reflecting upon yourself in relation to others. The goal is for you to build your capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences.
For this competency, we require that all students take three of our Identity, Diversity, and Equity (IDE) courses. Departments ranging from the arts and humanities to the social sciences and the health sciences offer applicable courses.
Students also may substitute intercultural experiences for up to two of the courses. There are two choices:
Studying or volunteering abroad
This experience may count if the student is in a country that has at some point hosted Peace Corps Volunteers (see the list of current and past countries here). Studying or volunteering abroad in these countries from one week to a summer may substitute for one course while experiences that last a full semester may substitute for both electives.
Other intercultural experiences
Pending departmental approval, other intercultural experiences such as helping new immigrants or refugees acculturate to the United States, volunteering in diverse schools, alternative spring break experiences, and volunteering for programs such as Habitat for Humanity may meet this requirement.
4. Professional and leadership development
Peace Corps service and similar international development work opportunities are highly professional and selective. This program requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps (or any other professional endeavor):
- Have your resume critiqued by someone in the Wackerle Center
- Attend a workshop or class on interview skills at the Wackerle Center
- Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully, such as Stockdale Fellows or Scots ASPIRE.
- <blockquote class="callout-quote"><div class="callout-quote-text"><p> “Monmouth College and the Peace Corps Prep program taught me how to channel my education into a fruitful service that utilized my empathy, perseverance and passion for educating others.”</p></div><footer class="callout-quote-footer">Kaitlyn Walker ’18, Comoros</footer></blockquote>
- <blockquote class="callout-quote"><div class="callout-quote-text"><p> “The professors I had the privilege of learning from at Monmouth College have such diverse backgrounds and are truly dedicated to their work and students. Thanks to so many of my professors I was introduced to the Peace Corps and developed the necessary skills to become a Peace Corps Volunteer.”</p></div><footer class="callout-quote-footer">Taylor Sutschek ’16, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, South Africa</footer></blockquote>