Peace Corps Prep Program
The Peace Corps Prep program will prepare you for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, you'll build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support. These four competencies are the following:
- Training and experience in a work sector
- Foreign language skills
- Intercultural competence
- Professional and leadership development
This document explains each of these requirements in detail. Use this guide to map out your Peace Corps Prep course of study. In particular, refer to this when completing your PC Prep application, where you'll need to document how you plan to fulfill each requirement. This guide aligns point-by-point with each section of the application!
Training and experience in a specific work sector
Three courses + 50 hours related exprience
Leveraging concrete knowledge and skills is central to on-the-ground international development work. Through this PC Prep program, you will begin to build a professional specialty, which should serve your career well whether or not you become a Peace Corps Volunteer.
For PC Prep, you need to complete at least three courses that align with a specific work sector (they can but do not need to come from your academic major or minor). You also must accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferably in a teaching or outreach capacity.
Peace Corps Tip
If you intend to apply to the Peace Corps, the best way to assure that you will be a strong candidate is to explore Peace Corps' openings and identify the type of assignments in which you'd like to serve (www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/volunteer-openings), then review the positions' required and desired qualifications and build them up accordingly. In the process, you should fulfill these PC Prep experiential requirements!
There are six sectors (www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/what-volunteers-do/) in which Peace Corps Volunteers serve-detailed below. Choose one sector to focus on then complete at least three courses + 50 hours of related experience in that sector. These sectors are:
Note: Actual Peace Corps assignments are based on local needs, and thus may or may not align seamlessly with your qualifications. Flexibility is central to the Peace Corps experience!
Foreign language skills
Requirements vary by language
Working across cultures often entails verbal and nonverbal languages distinct from your own. Building foreign language skills is thus a second key component of the PC Prep curriculum.
Where would you like to serve? PC Prep minimum course requirements align with those needed by applicants to the Peace Corps itself, which vary by linguistic region.
- Latin America: Individuals wanting to serve in Spanish-speaking countries must apply with strong intermediate proficiency. This typically means completing two 200-level courses.
- West Africa: Individuals wanting to serve in French-speaking African countries should be proficient in French (or, in some cases, any Romance Language), usually through one 200-level course.
- Everywhere else: The Peace Corps has no explicit language requirements for individuals applying to serve in most other countries. However, you will still likely learn and utilize another language during service, so it is only helpful to have taken at least one foreign language class.
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!
Three approved courses or 1-2 courses + substantive intercultural experience
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 your own self in relation to others. The goal is for you to build your capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences. Some example courses:
You'll take this core course:
- GSR 210: Comparing Multicultural Perspectives (4 credits)
And choose 2 additional electives from these below:
- HIS 333 History of Disability in the U.S. (3)
- HIS 352 Social Movements and Revolution in Modern Latin America (3)
- HIS 352 History of Race, Gender, and Culture in Latin America (3)
- HIS 381 Gay and Lesbian History (3)
- HIS 430 History of Latin America (3)
- GOV 329 Comparative Governments of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (3)
- GOV 353 Civil Rights and Civil Rights Movement (3)
- GOV 370 Human Rights (3)
- GOV 387 Nationalism and Developing Nations (3)
- REL 201 World Religions (3)
- SOC 268 Cultural Anthropology (3)
- SOC 436 Social Inequality: Race, Class, and Gender (3)
- WLC 313 Topics in Language Diversity
Is there another course in the catalog that you feel meets this requirement? Please discuss it with your PC Prep Coordinator.
Peace Corps Tip
Prolonged intercultural experiences-such as studying or volunteering abroad, supporting new immigrants or refugees acculturate to the United States, or volunteering in diverse schools-would also strengthen your Peace Corps candidacy significantly.
Professional and leadership development
Peace Corps service and similar international development work opportunities are highly professional and selective. PC Prep 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 Gallaudet Career Center or your major Department.
- Attend a workshop or class on interview skills at the Gallaudet Career Center.
- Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully. For example, organizing a campus event, leading a work or volunteer project, or serving on the executive board of a student organization.
- Successful completion of GSR 110: Career Development (1 credit)