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New Peace Corps Prep Program boosts applicants' advantage

Peace Corps
Creative writing sophomore and Peace Corps prep student Seannah Franklin (left), and communications senior and Peace Corps Ambassador Program intern Sarah Brown (right), pose for a portrait.

When ASU Students apply for the Peace Corps, they are competing against people from all over the U.S. 

This nine to 12 month process can be daunting to those who have not had much experience in the field. The Peace Corps Prep Program aims to help with that.

Students can obtain the Peace Corps Prep certificate through 100 hours of community service in a related internship, and have the option to take intercultural competence and foreign language courses.

Students work with Christian Ammon, ASU’s Peace Corps Prep coordinator, to find internship opportunities they are interested in. 

“I want to help students interested in joining the Peace Corps to become the most competitive they can be, using the roadmap that the Peace Corps Prep offers them,” Ammon said.

The Peace Corps application process is sectioned off into six sectors, including education, environment, agriculture, youth and development, community economic development and health.

The internships that the students participate in are related to these Peace Corps sectors.

At the beginning of the program, a job description is identified, Ammon said. There is also a midterm which determines how the applicant has done in the internship, he said. Toward the end of the internship, the students will state whether they have met the requirements.

Participants have the opportunity to collect recommendation letters at the organizations they have interned at when applying to the Peace Corps.

“A student may say to a Peace Corps recruiter, 'if you want to know more about my experience in a particular work sector, you can talk with my internship supervisor,'” Ammon said. "This will be supportive evidence to strengthen their claim that they have the knowledge necessary to work within a particular work sector."

Eight students are currently participating in the program, which started this semester, Ammon said. This semester’s internship sites include the American English and Culture Program at ASU and research opportunities focusing on sustainability or AIDS and HIV, Ammon said.

Breanne Lott, ASU’s Peace Corps campus recruiter, said the program is designed for university students to make sure they have experience to put on their resumes.

“There might only be ten positions available and you’re competing with people all over the U.S. to be the most qualified for that position, so I think a lot of times students are nervous because they don’t have experience yet. … Peace Corps Prep is a good way to get them extra experience,” she said.

The intercultural competency courses are meant to make students better Peace Corps volunteers by giving them broader perspectives on global issues and community awareness, Lott said.

The foreign language section of the program is not required, Lott said, but if participants know which region they are interested in serving in, they can take language courses which will give them a competitive advantage in the language field section of the application.

“ASU has a lot of different opportunities for students to get engaged (in the) Peace Corps at ASU, and this is just the newest of those opportunities,” Lott said.

Creative writing sophomore Seannah Franklin is currently participating in the Peace Corps Prep program.

“It’s basically a roadmap so you get the experience once you apply senior year,” she said.

Franklin has been interested in joining the Peace Corps since last year because of her desire to go out and volunteer. She would like to teach English as a second language.

“I don’t have a specific place I want to go,” she said. “I’m pretty open, I’d just like to go teach.”

Although she currently does not have an internship site locked down, she wants to intern at a place where she can teach or assist classes that teach English as a second language.

“Peace Corps Prep sets you up for success as far as getting into the Peace Corps, and that’s what I like most about it,” Franklin said. “It really gives you that competitive boost you need."

Related Links:

ASU students get a glimpse of Peace Corps life

ASU grads see world through Peace Corps


Reach the reporter at jenny.ung@asu.edu or follow  @Jenny__Ung on Twitter.

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