What is Peace Corps?
Peace Corps is a life-defining leadership experience in which American citizens go abroad for 27 months to enrich communities in the developing world with your skills and through cultural exchange.
The Peace Corps has been a leader in international development and citizen diplomacy for more than 50 years across more than 139 countries. In an increasingly interdependent world, we tackle challenges that know no borders—such as climate change, pandemic disease, food security, and gender equality and empowerment. Although times have changed since the Peace Corps' founding in 1961, the agency's mission—to promote world peace and friendship—has not. Today, the Peace Corps is more vital than ever, working in collaboration with partner organizations and using cutting-edge technologies and well-tested best practices to enhance impact.
Our more than 215,000 current and returned Volunteers know that the Peace Corps changes lives—both their own and the lives of people in communities around the world. They learn about leadership, ingenuity, self-reliance, and relationship building and become global citizens. Peace Corps Volunteers reflect the very best of humanity, innovation and aspiration for a better tomorrow. When they return home, they share their stories and experiences and give back to their own communities, helping to strengthen international ties and increase our global competitiveness.
There are many different types of positions available in the Peace Corps, covering six main sectors: Education, Health, Agriculture, Environment, Youth in Development and Community Economic Development. Volunteers complete three months of training in their host country and then serve two years in their assigned community. You must be at least 18 and a US citizen to qualify. To learn about benefits, FAQS, or to view current job openings, visit
Peace Corps UF Campus Recruiter
Amanda Brinton became part of the UFIC team in August 2019 as the UF Campus Peace Corps Recruiter. Amanda received her B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation at the University of Florida in 2009. After graduation, Amanda began working for the Sierra Club as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Washington D.C. Chapter. During her time with the Sierra Club, Amanda managed volunteer outreach and involvement along with campaign support and advising. From 2012-2014, Amanda served in the U.S. Peace Corps in an indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon where she led and assisted with projects primarily focusing on recycling, accessibility to potable water, and environmental education in the schools. During her time in the Peace Corps, Amanda’s professional focus shifted from tropical forestry and indigenous land tenure rights to solid waste management and recycling in Latin America and the Caribbean.
After Peace Corps, Amanda wanted to gain experience in Brazil and in turn spent the next six months teaching at a social business English school in a disadvantaged community in Sao Paulo. Amanda since has graduated from the Master of Sustainable Development Practice at the University of Florida in the spring of 2017 and is completing a Ph.D. program in the School of Natural Resources and Environment. Her specialization is in solid waste management in island nations and territories in the Caribbean specifically focusing on ways waste management can improve community development and local employment opportunities. Amanda is an instructor for the International Scholars Program course, Waste Management in Developing Countries and can speak Spanish and Haitian Creole. As the campus recruiter, Amanda will perform outreach activities to student groups and classrooms, advise students on ways to become more competitive during the Peace Corps application process, and provide guidance about general Peace Corps questions.
Spring 2020 Update: In light of the move to online courses, Amanda will be offering virtual appointments through Zoom instead of in-person office hours. To schedule an appointment with Amanda, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Makes a Competitive Applicant?
Peace Corps (PC) accepts applicants from all majors. Some assignment areas have more rigid requirements such as possessing particular degrees while other assignment areas have more flexibility in how one may achieve appropriate experience in that area. For many assignment areas, volunteering and/or working in that sector for a solid amount of time, makes an applicant eligible for the position. This means that an applicant who is majoring in journalism can be just as competitive as an applicant majoring in agribusiness.
A good first step is to explore available job positions within the Peace Corps. Job postings can be found online at www.peacecorps.gov. Find out what PC is looking for and look for ways to develop transferrable skills here at UF.
Gators now also have the advantage of enrolling in the Peace Corps Prep program on campus to enhance their skills for Peace Corps service. PC Prep was launched in the Fall of 2015 and is offered in conjunction with the International Scholars program. It is open to undergraduate students across all majors and is designed as a way to help guide students through the process of gaining relevant skills. Find out how you can internationalize your degree and build your resume for sector specific work through Peace Corps Prep.
UF degrees beneficial to Peace Corps
The University of Florida has a wide range of colleges and departments that provide majors in areas that Peace Corps needs. There are also a number of minors, certificates and other academic programs offered at UF that will enhance an applicant’s competitiveness. Peace Corps has some work sectors that are in high demand by the countries we serve. Agriculture and environment are particularly difficult sectors to find qualified individuals. Education and Health are the largest sectors, encompassing about two thirds of the total number of PC positions. Majors and certificates in TESOL, STEM teaching, Health Education, Public Health, etc. are therefore very helpful, although not necessary.
Again, all majors are eligible for Peace Corps service. While taking specific coursework can certainly assist in developing skills which PC seeks, applicants are competitive based on the skills they have. Some gain those skills through coursework and others have sought out work and volunteer experiences that have allowed them to practice relevant PC skill sets. In addition to sector specific skills, PC seeks culturally competent individuals with leadership experience, who are engaged in their community.
Here at UF there are lots of ways to gain PC relevant skills outside of your coursework. Think outside of the box. Look into a FAB trip or study abroad. Many student organizations provide both leadership and sector specific skill building opportunities. Create your own development project and apply for a Projects for Peace grant. Work with International students. Volunteer at a local organization. For additional guidance on finding a relevant experience here at UF, contact the PC Advisor.
Interested in sharing your stories?
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers are a great resource for students interested in serving. If you are an RPCV and are interested in getting involved and sharing your stories with students, please contact Amanda Brinton, the UF Campus Peace Corps Recruiter to learn more about upcoming campus recruitment events. You can also read about what’s happening at UF in our biannual newsletter.