Once again, UNC has claimed a top-five ranking for volunteer-producing schools by the Peace Corps. Coming in at No. 5 this year, UNC students have shown great interest in the serving Peace Corps and public service in other countries.
The Peace Corps is a volunteer program that works to promote world peace and friendship by helping the development of other countries. Volunteers work in communities with local leaders to attack present-day challenges. Volunteer work lasts 27 months, according to Carla Koop, a Peace Corps public affairs specialist.
Raymond Farrow, associate provost for Global Affairs and interim chief global officer, said it’s exciting to see the growth UNC has made with the Peace Corps in just a few years. UNC, which was ranked 15th in 2015, is now tied for 5th with The Ohio State University and the University of Washington.
"The Peace Corps is one of the premier global opportunities that I think are available to anyone,” Farrow said. “It's really an extraordinary opportunity to actually go and work in collaboration in a community abroad.”
This is the 10th year UNC has been ranked in the top 20 large-size schools to volunteer with the Peace Corps. There are 62 Carolina students volunteering in different countries around the world, and more than 1,340 graduates have served with the Peace Corps since 1961.
Thomas Phillips, a graduate student seeking a Ph.D. in Romance Studies, said the most important piece of his professional career was volunteering with the Peace Corps. He worked in a small community in the Republic of Georgia teaching English as a foreign language.
While in Georgia, Phillips trained teachers and worked on other development projects. He learned an entire new language, history, culture and a new world view from working with his surrounding community. The experience he had was life-changing, and he values that as it was the start point for his professional career, Phillips said.
Students interested in working with the Peace Corps can apply online on its website. Applicants who seek a Peace Corps recruiter are 55 percent more likely to become volunteers, Koop said.
Anna Williams is the Peace Corps campus recruiter, who assists students on their journey to becoming a future volunteer. She volunteered in Togo and Rwanda and encouraged UNC students to also volunteer with the Peace Corps.
“Every student at Carolina should consider it,” Phillips said. "UNC and Peace Corps are a great match because the values that the University has really are shared.”
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