There are many paths for people to take after college and one of those is to join the Peace Corps.
The Peace Corps is a volunteer program that offers assistance to people living outside of the United States. The University of Rhode Island offers a Peace Corp Prep Program that helps recruit the best college students according to Dr. Michael Rice, one of the coordinators and faculty advisors for the program. Rice said that there has been a total of 30 students that signed up for the Prep Program at URI.
“Of those we’ll be having 10 Peace Corps Prep Certificate Awardees and typically URI on average [has] about five or six students applying to the Peace Corps each year,” he said.
One of those students this year is Ari Samoyoa, a super senior who’s majoring in psychology with a minor in sociology and a focus on pediatrics. He will be going into the Peace Corps for two years starting on Sept. 16, 2017: a dream of his since middle school.
“I wanted to go in to be involved in it and in order to serve,” Samoyoa said. He added that he had intentions to join the military though an accident withheld him from passing the physical training. Samoyoa applied for three different places, getting his first choice of Macedonia, a landlocked Balkan nation above Greece. There he will be teaching children with special needs.
Samoyoa said that URI offers a lot of resources to help students who want to join the Peace Corps. He added that he wishes the University would advertise the program more so that students would be more aware of resources they have on campus.
“I was not aware of those tools when I applied or when I got here but I was happy to hear that they were here,” he said adding that it was too late for him to take advantage of them. Though he wasn’t able to take advantage of them, Samoyoa said that URI still prepared him for the Peace Corps through his classes and through the diversity here.
Many students around the nation look into applying to join the Peace Corps: over 20,000 in 2015 and more in 2016. To students thinking about the experience, Samoyoa says to apply.
“It’s a once in a lifetime chance,” he said. “Do it.” Ha added that before students sign up that they should think through it as it is a two-year commitment. One would have to be willing to leave family, friends and their lifestyle to live in a “tent like environment” according to Samoyoa.
“Do you research and be prepared to go from being the majority to the minority,” he added. “Many students should definitely think about that. Here you will be going from one place to another where you will not have the same status as everyone else. You may not even have some common ground.” Samoyoa says that’s something that students should be aware of. One more thing he thought students considering the program should think of is the amount of time that goes into the program and if one is going into it, be on top of it and organized.
“One thing I would like to comment to students who might be interested is just to be aware you are representing our country, our way of life and that just because many countries and many individuals in the country may not see the benefit of certain foreign relations with our country, there are benefits to it. And whether you agree with it or not, in the end you are doing a service for people,” said Samoyoa. He added to forget you are an American and realize that you are a human being helping another human being.