Peace Corps Reviews

Updated 26 August 2014
Updated 26 August 2014
374 Reviews

4.3
374 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
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Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet
Carrie Hessler-Radelet
95 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Leadership experience, learn a new language, experience new cultures (in 31 reviews)

  • You go planning to meet really interesting Host Country Nationals (HCN) and you end up meeting some amazing fellow Americans as well (in 21 reviews)


Cons
  • Admin doesn't quite understand the realities of being a volunteer, but that depends country to country (in 21 reviews)

  • Five-year rule causes too much turn over, you need to be looking for a new job when you walk in the door (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Volunteer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Volunteer  in  Senegal (Brazil)
    Former Employee - Volunteer in Senegal (Brazil)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Volunteer while living abroad with a paid stipend, excellent medical care, and language training. Peace Corps is well respected within the development community and is an excellent resume builder for someone looking to start an international career.

    Cons

    Difficult working conditions, incompetent bureaucracy, and safety issues. The high degree of staff turnover and differences in work culture between local staff and American volunteers creates a hard to navigate bureaucracy that makes even the simplest tasks difficult. Peace Corps field positions are amazing, life-changing experience but much of your time may be spend wrangling with administrative tasks.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great experience! I highly recommend it!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Community Economic Development Volunteer  in  Arequipa, Arequipa (Peru)
    Former Employee - Community Economic Development Volunteer in Arequipa, Arequipa (Peru)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I think the pros are obvious. You get to live in another country and experience a foreign culture like very few Americans have. You gain a perspective on development that is very difficult to get anywhere else.

    Cons

    Sometimes you do feel the bureaucracy of the Federal Government. The pros outweigh the cons.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Help out your volunteers when they need it.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Great Training, Work, and Travel

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - English Teacher Trainer  in  Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia)
    Former Employee - English Teacher Trainer in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    As a volunteer and as a staff member, I have seen PC from different angles. I was able to spend more than 2 years as a paid-volunteer overseas. In that time, I learned a new language, a new culture, and international experience. I was well taken care of, and I didn't spend any of my own money (except for the blood tests I had to get before I left). As an employee, I could not have had a better experience. They love their staff, and they take care of them. It is a lot of work, but I never felt overwhelmed and the benefits were great.

    Cons

    The volunteer application is very long. Mine took a year, but other's took longer. You will be "roughing" it for two years. Don't expect first class accommodations. However, this is what a lot of people want out of their experience, the chance to live with locals in a developing country.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to find ways to keep volunteers safe and healthy. My experience was fine, but there is always room for improvement.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Community Development Voluneer  in  Victoria (Grenada)
    Former Employee - Community Development Voluneer in Victoria (Grenada)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Fantastic learning, great friends, beautiful sights, and an opportunity to make a difference and travel the world!

    Cons

    Far from home (but you know that going in), difficult fitting into the culture

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Exceptional, Challenging Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer Health  in  Brikama Ba (Gambia)
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer Health in Brikama Ba (Gambia)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - PAID field experience
    - diverse options in terms of location placement, work opportunities, experiences i.e. health sector vs agfo, Latin America vs Eastern Europe, rural bush life vs island life vs developing urban area
    - unique opportunity for international experience while serving your nation
    - a large degree of freedom to determine your own work i.e. pick your own project

    - NCE when you complete service
    - graduate school fellowships/scholarships

    Cons

    - minimal input on country placement (could be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective)
    - limited emphasis placed on M&E of projects
    - limited institutional memory - can often feel like reinventing the wheel
    - placement country and staff capabilities vary heavily

    Recommends
  7.  

    Really wonderful experience but can be a crap-shoot

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer  in  Kigali, Kigali (Rwanda)
    Former Employee - Peace Corps Volunteer in Kigali, Kigali (Rwanda)

    I worked at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Test your independence, great philosophy of working on a grass roots level and respecting host country nationals, an incredibly unique and potentially very rewarding experience.

    Cons

    PC didn't do a great job with matching volunteers with their interests all the time. Other volunteers weren't as driven as expected. It's the US government and things can get bureaucratic/politicy

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have a shorter, but more rigorous application process and baby volunteers less (especially during training). Allow volunteers more control over their placements.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Community Development Volunteer

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Peace Corps

    Pros

    Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is an incredible experience. I loved my community, the high quality language instruction, and the community development projects in my country.

    Cons

    Peace Corps is a demanding experience, emotionally and physically. I would encourage all applicants to deeply reflect on whether or not this type of experience is right for them.

    The bureaucracy is frustrating, no matter what country you are in.

  9.  

    Timeliness? Not so much. Opportunity to test yourself and experience the world? Eee, bomma le borra!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - NGO Volunteer  in  Gaborone (Botswana)
    Current Employee - NGO Volunteer in Gaborone (Botswana)

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I feel that I am part of a family of volunteers (even international ones) where we are bound together in this odd place, trying to figure out how to maneuver and support eachother. In my work with NGOs daily, I get to see beyond the reports, articles, and textbooks the dynamics of development on the ground and how messy if can be - but, also, since we have no clear job description, you can find your own strengths in working with host country nationals in developing sustainable changes (if it is possible).

    Cons

    Staff is unresponsive on the ground. We are not allowed to drive, can barely afford transport and communication, food is hard to fit in the budget if you want to go beyond grains (at least we are getting the local context), but with all this... It takes days for staff to remember to respond to a text or e- mail. Also, we need several layers of permission for basic things. Even my local friends wonder why we are sent here and expected to accomplish so much (even if we have no clear job description - we must report on and measure our activities quarterly) with few resources, bureaucratic rules, and unresponsive ness.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your volunteers and try to help adjust pay for those of us living in more expensive areas than the others. No area is the same - stop treating it that way! And please stop expecting us to have laptops, etc., then do nothing to help us get and maintain the appropriate sort.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Peace Corps is not for everybody, but I have certainly never regretted my decision to join.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - TEFL Volunteer  in  Panamá (Panama)
    Current Employee - TEFL Volunteer in Panamá (Panama)

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Opportunity to dedicate your time to something about which you are really passionate about; ability to work independently without too much bureaucratic constraint and without the boss breathing down your neck or mandating your work hours.

    Cons

    Feeling a lack of productivity. Being a full-time community organizer can make you feel like hanging out and making friends is part of your job. (Which can also be a pro.) Type-As will have to learn to relax and go with the flow in order to get people to trust you and work with you on projects. Type-Bs will have to learn to be proactive in order to get anything done in your Peace Corps site.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management needs to be as willing as the volunteers are to get their hands dirty and deal with the unpopular and unsexy issues!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    It was life changing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - English Education Volunteer  in  Chisinau (Moldova)
    Current Employee - English Education Volunteer in Chisinau (Moldova)

    I have been working at Peace Corps full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Life experience that will be a huge asset to future careers. Empowering yourself and the community where you serve.

    Cons

    Cultural challenges, weather, harsh living conditions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Support volunteers fully and make sure their voices and concerns are heard.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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