Minnesota Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing States in 2016

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Today, Peace Corps announced that the Twin Cities region, which includes Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington, ranks No. 5 among the top metropolitan areas with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers. The state of Minnesota also ranks No. 5 among states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per 100,000 residents. There are 180 volunteers from the Twin Cities and 232 volunteers from Minnesota currently serving worldwide. Since the agency’s founding in 1961, 6,753 Minnesotans have served in the Peace Corps.

“During my time leading the Peace Corps, I have seen the tremendous impact that volunteers have when they share their unique hometown perspectives with the communities they serve,” said Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “Volunteers represent our nation’s rich diversity by coming from all corners of the U.S. They are able to share our nation’s rich cultural heritage with communities around the world, leaving a legacy of peace and friendship that is timeless.”

This is the fourth straight year Minnesota has ranked among the top 10 states with the highest number of Peace Corps volunteers per 100,000 residents. The Twin Cities have consistently ranked among the top 10 metropolitan areas, and this year marks the region’s first appearance among the top five. Minnesota and the Twin Cities region have been rising in the ranks for the past three years. Volunteers from the Land of 10,000 Lakes are among the more than 225,000 Americans who have served around the world as agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development volunteers since 1961.  Continue reading “Minnesota Ranks Among Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing States in 2016”

Peace Corps Holidays

Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows Volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. Below, we highlight stories from Peace Corps Volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas. From one Peace Corps Volunteer to another, these Volunteers share their advice to those embarking on their first festive season in service.

Attend our Holidays Away From Home online event Monday, December 19th to hear more about serving overseas during the holiday season. 

Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays”

On-Campus Recruiters Unite To Bring Peace Corps To Michigan State

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Emily Weiss is one of the two on-campus Peace Corps recruiters at Michigan State University.

While serving in the Peace Corps, Emily Weiss didn’t have a road map to success or a list tasks to mark off her check list each day. She didn’t have a “How-to Manual” on becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer.

All Emily had was her passion and 27 months to make a lasting impact on her community in Guinea.

Two years removed from her Peace Corps service, Weiss is now one of the two on-campus Peace Corps recruiters at Michigan State University, where the Michigan resident obtained her bachelor’s degree in physiology in 2013. Continue reading “On-Campus Recruiters Unite To Bring Peace Corps To Michigan State”

Chicago Native Begins Peace Corps Service in China

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Jessica Bustamante, 29, of Chicago, Illinois, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for China June 17 to begin training as a secondary education English teacher trainer. Bustamante will work at the community level to teach college-level students basic English writing and listening skills. She will provide her students with the necessary training needed to become primary and middle school teachers throughout the community.

“I was with my twin sister, Janette, when I received a notification of my acceptance,” said Bustamante. “My heart dropped suddenly, and the moment felt surreal as I told her that I had been invited to serve in China. A part of me still feels that way. We hugged each other, and I clearly remember Janette saying, ‘June 2016 is going to be here before you know it.’ Indeed, it’s here already.” Continue reading “Chicago Native Begins Peace Corps Service in China”

Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Flora Tano

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Name: Flora Tano
Country of Service: China, 2013-15
Assignment:  Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Recruitment Territory: Chicagoland

When you applied where you did hope to go or hoped to do?
I had no particular preference; however, I assumed that being a native French speaker and from the Ivory Coast would automatically destine me for an African country.  I was wrong. Peace Corps had something else for me. Continue reading “Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Flora Tano”

Detroit native immerses into Chinese culture as Peace Corps volunteer

Daniel Hayes is a secondary education English teacher trainer in China.
Daniel Hayes is a secondary education English teacher trainer in China.

Daniel Hayes is a Peace Corps volunteer in China, 2014-16, and works as a secondary education English teacher trainer at a teachers’ college. The Detroit native is participating in Peace Corps’ Master’s International Program, which allows him to serve and complete his master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Eastern Michigan University at the same time. Below, he describes living and working in China. Interested in serving in China? Search our current openings in China and apply by July 1 to depart in 2016. 

When I first stepped off the plane in China and walked through a sparkling airport it certainly didn’t feel like a typical Peace Corps experience. The airport was grand in scale and welcoming guests with an artificial panda display. As I walked through the air conditioned transportation hub, I saw numerous people taking out their iPhones to check messages. After securing my baggage and hopping on a bus, my fellow volunteers and I departed for the hotel where we would stay for two weeks. My face was glued to the window as a whirlwind of tall buildings passed my field of view. When we reached the hotel we were taken to a nice meeting room and given a brief orientation and schedule for the next few weeks. Continue reading “Detroit native immerses into Chinese culture as Peace Corps volunteer”

Chicago, Illinois rank on Peace Corps’ annual list of top volunteer-producing states, metro areas

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Lauren Karplus, a native of Bloomington, Ill., served as Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland, from 2012-2014.

Chicago, including Naperville and Joliet, again this year ranks among the top metropolitan areas for producing Peace Corps volunteers. Currently, 224 Peace Corps volunteers call Chicagoland home, making it the fourth highest-producing metro area for volunteers nationwide in 2014.

Illinois ranks fifth among the top states for Peace Corps volunteers. It’s the top state in the Midwest with 284 residents now serving overseas.

Peace Corps volunteer Jack Guen-Murray, a native of Oak Park, Ill., makes a difference as an English education volunteer in China. He teaches seven English classes at a vocational college and reaches an average of 250 students per semester. He shares his Chicago home with his Chinese community through images and shared values, such as food, family and holidays.

“I would say the greatest part about living in another country is obtaining an external perspective, a new awareness and gaining a new appreciation for your own country,” said Guen-Murray, who graduated from Lake Forest College in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Asian studies and philosophy. “You see social issues from new angles that are impossible to see from inside the U.S., and you begin to place your wants and values on new scales.”

Continue reading “Chicago, Illinois rank on Peace Corps’ annual list of top volunteer-producing states, metro areas”