The Peace Corps is revamping its application procedures. So many potential volunteers started the application but abandoned it after the bureaucracy took so long to finalize assignments. In 2014, people can’t wait more than a year to learn if they will be accepted, when they would travel to their assignment and where it would be. That was apparently the norm.
The Peace Corps remains an important tool for the United States in sending a message to the world that our country makes commitments to assist other countries in meaningful ways, not just in aid dollars committed to often corrupt governments. In this era when the United States is getting more infamous notoriety for drone strikes on targets abroad, the Peace Corps remains a shining beacon of ground-level hand-to-hand care for developing peoples scattered around the world. Citizens of other nations who work with Peace Corps volunteers never forget how an American made some kind of a difference in their lives.
Many people still think of the Peace Corps as some hazy, hippie kind of time-filler for young people who can’t locate positions in a tight job market. But for some of us, Peace Corps opened doors that we would have never walked through. For me, it led Notre Dame to give me a fellowship to attend graduate school. For me, it paved the way to a diplomatic career.
The Peace Corps isn’t perfect and my years in Chad were some of the hardest of my life. Yet, even to this day I know I am a better human being for what I learned through service in the Peace Corps.