Peace Corps at K-State

Frequently Asked Questions from Prospective Peace Corps Volunteers

  1. I hear it's very hard to get into the Peace Corps. Is that true? How competitive is it?
  2. Can I choose the country where I'll serve? How long is a Peace Corps assignment?
  3. I have student loans. Can they be deferred while I serve in the Peace Corps?
  4. Do I need to speak another language?
  5. Can married couples join the Peace Corps?
  6. What kind of job placement assistance does Peace Corps provide?
  7. How much will I get paid in the Peace Corps? What do I have to pay for?
  8. Do I get vacation time? Can I come home for a visit? Can family or friends visit me?
  9. Will I be the only Peace Corps Volunteer in my community?
  10. Does my health care coverage last after my Peace Corps service overseas? Are there any special plans I can join?
  11. I'm not a U.S. citizen. Can I join Peace Corps?
  1. I hear it's very hard to get into the Peace Corps. Is that true? How competitive is it?
    Applicants must meet certain education and work experience requirements. When evaluating an applicant, the Peace Corps considers the "whole person" including your life experiences, community involvement, volunteer work, motivations, and even your hobbies. In most cases, applicants with a bachelor's degree in any discipline, strong motivation and a commitment to Peace Corps service will be competitive.

  2. Can I choose the country where I'll serve? How long is a Peace Corps assignment?
    The Peace Corps makes every effort to accommodate your interests and preferences for serving as a Volunteer, but we cannot guarantee placement in any specific country or region. Our main priority is to place you in a country where your skills are most needed, so we encourage you to be flexible when you are offered an assignment. Peace Corps assignments are for two years plus three months of training in your country of service.

  3. I have student loans. Can they be deferred while I serve in the Peace Corps?
    In general, while you are a Volunteer, you may defer repayment of your Stafford Loans (formerly known as Guaranteed Student Loans), Perkins Loans, Federal Consolidation Loans, or Direct Loans. In addition, Volunteers with Perkins Loans receive a 15 percent cancellation of their outstanding balance for each year of their two years of service. The Peace Corps does not grant deferments, cancellations or grace periods for government or private loans. You must obtain these from your lending institution. The regulations that authorize loan deferment and cancellation are sometimes complicated, but your Peace Corps recruiter can help explain the different rules that apply to each type of loan.

  4. Do I need to speak another language?
    The Peace Corps teaches more than 180 languages and dialects. During your pre-service training, you will receive intensive language instruction to prepare you for living and working in your overseas community. While some countries where Volunteers serve prefer people who have studied French or Spanish, it is not always a requirement.

  5. Can married couples join the Peace Corps?
    Peace Corps service can be a rewarding, enriching experience for married couples. Today, about 10 percent of Peace Corps Volunteers are married. In all cases, both spouses must serve as Volunteers and live and work in the same community. The Peace Corps is unable to place couples with dependent children and cannot guarantee placement in the same country of couples or friends who are not legally married. Applicants can begin the Peace Corps application process while engaged, but must be married for at least six months before departing for their overseas assignment.

  6. What kind of job placement assistance does Peace Corps provide?
    The Peace Corps' Returned Volunteer Services publishes a bimonthly job bulletin and career manuals and provides self-assessment tools to help returned Volunteers explore career options. In addition, returned Volunteers have non-competitive eligibility status for appointments to U.S. government executive branch agencies for a period of one year after the completion of their service.

  7. How much will I get paid in the Peace Corps? What do I have to pay for?
    You are not paid a salary. Instead, you will receive a stipend to cover your necessities - food, housing expenses and local transportation. While the amount of the stipend varies from country to country, you will receive an amount that allows you to live at the same level as the people you serve in your community. Your personal expenses - souvenirs and vacation travel - will be your responsibility. The Peace Corps pays for your transportation to and from your country of service and provides you with complete medical and dental care. At the conclusion of your service as a Volunteer, you will receive a "readjustment allowance" of $225 for each month of service. If you complete your full term of service, you will receive $6,075.

  8. Do I get vacation time? Can I come home for a visit? Can family or friends visit me?
    The Peace Corps provides two vacation days for every month of service. You may wish to travel home for a visit, or your family and friends can make the trip to see you in your overseas community. Visiting a Peace Corps Volunteer is one of the most exciting ways to see and learn about another country's people, cultures and traditions. The cost of your vacation travel, home or elsewhere, is your responsibility. 

  9. Will I be the only Peace Corps Volunteer in my community?
    Every Volunteer's experience is unique. Some Volunteers are placed in rural communities, hours or even days away from the nearest Peace Corps Volunteer. Others live in bustling towns or large cities, where the nearest Volunteer lives down the street or even in the same apartment building. Serving in the Peace Corps requires flexibility and independence. So be prepared to live alone, with another Volunteer, or a host family.

  10. Does my health care coverage last after my Peace Corps service overseas? Are there any special plans I can join?
    The Peace Corps offers a comprehensive health insurance package called Corps Care, and it is specifically designed for Volunteers who have completed their service overseas, or who leave Peace Corps for other reasons. This plan can be activated during the last month of service, and Volunteers can purchase up to eighteen months of coverage for themselves and their dependents. Volunteers are strongly urged to sign up for coverage before they leave their country of service. The Peace Corps will pay the premium for the first month, with Volunteers electing to pay for coverage thereafter. There are no pre-existing condition exclusions or other medical restrictions on eligibility for this health insurance plan.

  11. I'm not a U.S. citizen. Can I join Peace Corps?
    We appreciate the interest of our friends around the world, but the answer is no -- only U.S. citizens may join Peace Corps.

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Useful links

Peace Corps
Peace Corps at K-State
Benefits of Peace Corps Service