People volunteer for the Peace Corps for many reasons. Maybe it’s because you want to live outside of the U.S. for a couple of years or learn another language. Or you want to do something worthwhile and meaningful with your life. Perhaps you feel you are in a rut personally and/or professionally and the Peace Corps is the perfect opportunity to change the direct your life is headed. There is no right or wrong reason to join and people from all ages and demographics to do so for completely different reasons.
I’ve already been asked quite a few times by friends, family, and the Peace Corps itself why I decided to join the Peace Corps. Why leave a life of relative luxury and move to a village with no running water and electricity? Why leave your family and friends and move to another country where I know no one? Why quit your job when the U.S. has double-digit unemployment and become a “volunteer”? All of these questions are justified and should warrant a good answer. However, it seems everytime I’m asked why I decided to join the Peace Corps, my answer is different than the previous time.
Truly, I don’t have one single reason why I decided to join. In one-way or another, each of the reasons I listed above applies to me in some way. However, one thing all of these motives for joining have in common is that I believe they will change me for the better. I want become fluent in another language. I want be a positive influence in someone else’s life. I want to discover what I truly want to do with the rest of my life. Sure all of these things can be accomplished without joining the Peace Corps, but sometimes you have to take a risk and do what is best for you.
As Peace Corps volunteer, we are sent off to a distant country with the challenging task of assimilating into a foreign culture and making a positive impact in the community we live in. At the same time, I’ve heard many times that the Peace Corps experience has as positive of an impact on the volunteer as it does on the community. If this is the case for me, then I will consider my Peace Corps experience a success.