As young adults across the country flock to foreign lands bearing the Peace Corps name, rankings released Tuesday reveal that Boston University is one of the largest producers of volunteers for the organization.
“The Peace Corps is appealing to students because it gives them an opportunity to serve internationally, to gain another language and makes them very competitive when they come back to the United States to get a job,” said Diane Gallagher, an employee at BU’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center and returned Peace Corps volunteer.
This year, 35 BU undergraduate alumni are currently serving in the Peace Corps, making BU the 25th most volunteer-producing school among large schools in 2014, the release stated.
“Peace Corps recognizes BU as a very good school and that is why we spend a lot of time there recruiting,” said Elizabeth Chamberlain, the public affairs specialist for the Peace Corps. “You have some special programs that we used to recruit students. BU has been on the top college list at least for the last nine years.”
The principal objective of the Peace Corps is to foster relationships between America’s youth and the people of foreign countries with the idea of benefitting both parties, Chamberlain said.
“The mission of the Peace Corps is world peace and friendship,” she said. “It is a combination of the fact that it is an adventure in the sense that … you actually live in the community for two years and that allows Peace Corps volunteers to integrate into the community, to make friends, to really get settled in … It really allows them to figure out what the community needs.”
Gallagher said the international awareness BU engrains in its students renders them ideal Peace Corps volunteers.
“The best volunteers that we have, mostly, are from Boston University because you get a very diverse background,” she said. “You are able to deal with international situations and you have the curiosity. A lot of students do not build that in, Boston University does.”
Former intern at the Peace Corps Headquarters Kara Korab said participating in the Peace Corps is a worthy way for college graduates to help others while gaining valuable life experience.
“What better could you do for yourself and for other than spend two years helping so many people and doing such a great cause?” Korab, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, said. “You get to go to an amazing place, meet incredible people and really make an impact on the world. At this point in our lives, we are at this age where you are going to have the rest of your life to do whatever you are going to do. Now is the prime opportunity to really make a difference.”
Emily Nicaise, who graduated from CAS in 2013 and has also interned at the Peace Corps, said the program gives graduates the opportunity to see a world different from their own.
“It’s a serious commitment, but it can change a lot of people’s perspective of the world around them,” Nicaise said. “A lot of people, even though they have traveled, they have been to England and a lot of other first world countries, but it is really cool to work in another country being American and represent America in this positive way.”