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What CSULB students should know before joining the Peace Corps

Peace Corps specialist offers advice and information to interested students.

Daniela Alvarez, Staff Writer

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Cal State Long Beach is one of two schools in Southern California to have Peace Corps campus recruiters, according to the Peace Corps website. CSULB is now ranked in the top ten for Top Volunteer Producing Hispanic Serving Institutions.

The stated mission of the Peace Corps is to provide service opportunities and outreach, like health and education, to those living outside the United States and provide them with an understanding of American culture while exposing American volunteers to cultures of other countries.

There are several logistics to joining the Peace Corps that students may not already know. According to the Peace Corps website, volunteers live with a host family during service and there are no application fees or fees associated with visas, passports, or plane tickets for candidates invited to serve.

As students prepare to graduate, the CSULB Peace Corps recruitment is a way to expand students’ options in their next steps for starting a career. David Reese, supervisory public affairs specialist for Peace Corps West Region, shared information on the volunteer program and what students should know if they consider joining.

Has there been more of an interest in students wanting to join the Peace Corps? What are some of the reasons students decide to join?

Yes, students continue to have a strong interest in volunteerism as well as a willingness and dedication to live, learn and work in communities overseas. Today’s volunteers are also America’s grassroots global ambassadors. They travel abroad because they want to share their skills and background in work sectors such as agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. In return, our volunteers receive practical benefits, learn new languages, gain leadership and international development experiences, and work with host communities as partners and friends.

Elaborate on what a “Producing Hispanic-Serving Institution” is and why it is of importance for CSULB and its students.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions are generally defined as colleges, universities or systems/districts where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25 percent of the total enrollment. CSULB, currently ranks No. 8 among the Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Hispanic-Serving Institutions. This is the third year that CSULB has placed among the top HSIs in the country for producing volunteers.

The Peace Corps promotes diversity and one of our primary goals is to help the people of other countries gain a better understanding of Americans and our multicultural society. The agency actively recruits people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences and is committed to ensuring that volunteers represent the diversity of America.

What do students find are the most rewarding parts about joining the Peace Corps?

Service in the Peace Corps is a life-defining, hands-on leadership experience that offers volunteers the opportunity to travel to the farthest corners of the world and make a lasting difference in the lives of others. Peace Corps volunteers also integrate into their communities and develop lasting relationships as they work toward sustainable change that lives on long after their service. Finally, volunteers return home as global citizens with new perspectives. They develop cross-cultural, leadership, language, teaching and community development skills that give them a competitive edge for advanced education and job opportunities.  

What is it about California that produces more volunteers than any other state?

California is a rich source of globally aware and service-oriented schools and communities that are committed to making a difference working in communities around the world. Because Californians have a multitude of talents and a global awareness — it’s no surprise that California consistently leads the nation as the top producer of Peace Corps volunteers.

How can students get more information about joining the Peace Corps?

CSULB students can contact on-campus Peace Corps recruiter, Alben Phung, [email protected] or [email protected] He is a returned volunteer from Ethiopia and can answer many questions that students may have about their application, resume and Peace Corps service. His office is located in the Career Development Center in BH-250.

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