Regional Recruiter for the Peace Corps Bryce Rinkenberger hosted an information session entitled “Launching Your Career with the Peace Corps” for Kalamazoo College students interested in Peace Corps service after graduation at the CCPD’s Career Expo last Wednesday.
“K students come into the Peace Corps with a pedigree because they’re coming from an institution that has a reputation of producing high quality volunteers,” Rinkenberger said.
K is currently number 14 on the list of small colleges providing Peace Corps volunteers based on the percentage of the student body engaged in service.
Rinkenberger, who served as a Peace Corps agricultural volunteer in Paraguay, presented the numerous benefits volunteers receive both during and after their 27 months of service. While serving, volunteers get a living stipend, coverage for medical expenses, vacation days, and student loan assistance in addition to valuable life experiences, said Rinkenberger.
“I worked with a health volunteer who also taught pregnant women yoga on Saturday mornings. There’s so much about the Peace Corps that’s about identifying a need and presenting options to help,” Rinkenberger said.
There are also many career benefits after serving in the Peace Corps. Volunteers have non-competitive eligibility for jobs in the State Department as they can apply for positions as a prior government employee. The Peace Corps also provides a great networking opportunity for finding future jobs, as volunteers meet with many NGOs and other organizations while serving. There are also Peace Corps programs that aid with the cost of graduate school or allow volunteers to work in the service and earn credit towards their degrees simultaneously.
“The Peace Corps is always enthusiastic about recruiting K students…they come to every Career Expo because they know that K students have had great experiences as part of their K plan that makes them potentially great volunteers,” said Joan Hawxhurst, the CCPD Director.
Since the establishment of the Peace Corps in 1961, 288 K graduates have served internationally and nine alumni are volunteering currently, according to the article “K-Plan and the Peace Corps” on the K College website.