Peace Corps Prep aims to advance the goals of the Peace Corps under its charter: to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans. Although participation in Peace Corps Prep does not guarantee that applicants will be accepted as volunteers, the specialized curriculum and experience should make them strong candidates.
The components of the curriculum are based on the four focus areas:
- Sector-specific skills
- Foreign language proficiency
- Intercultural competence
- Professional savvy and leadership
3 courses + 50 hours related experience
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 3 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.
For each sector, we have listed suggested coursework, but this list is not exhaustive. If you find a class related to your chosen topic, list it on your application and it will be reviewed by the Office of Community Service & Learning. If the class is not approved, the OCSL will recommend a similar course for you.
Foreign Language Skills
Requirements may vary
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 500-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 500-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 want to serve in a country that speaks your same language, you can skip this requirement!
3 approved courses or experiences
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.
Study abroad is another way to fulfill the Intercultural Competency requirement. You may participate in UNH Managed programs, UNH Exchange programs, UNH Approved programs, or Short-Term Study Abroad programs. All of these programs will fulfil this requirement. Visit the UNH Center for International Education and Global Engagement for more information on the differences between these programs.
Professional and Leadership Development
Resume and interview support + leadership experience
International development is a highly professional sector. It is difficult to break into and demands great initiative and leadership to advance professionally within the field. PC Prep requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps
- Resume review and interview prep with Career and Professional Success
- 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.