St. Lawrence University has established a new partnership with the Peace Corps centered on an undergraduate certificate program that will combine targeted coursework with hands-on experiences and build the competencies needed for students to be strong Peace Corps volunteers or other intercultural fieldworkers.
The University’s Peace Corps Prep program, a certificate program that teaches students sector-specific skills, language proficiency, intercultural competence, and leadership, will launch in October 2021. Only about 150 other colleges and universities are part of the Peace Corps Prep Program, and St. Lawrence is among a handful of colleges in New York State to offer it.
In 2019 and 2020, St. Lawrence was ranked the top volunteer-producing small college or university by the Peace Corps and had earned a spot on the organization’s top-25 list every year since 2014. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, nearly 300 Laurentians have served abroad as volunteers. As of March 2020, 19 St. Lawrence alumni were volunteering through the Peace Corps in countries around the world before the COVID-19 pandemic forced them home.
Peace Corps Prep will be structured as an interdisciplinary certificate program where students will learn about leadership, intercultural competence, world languages, and a professional sector of their choice such as education, health, or the environment. These skills give them a competitive edge when applying for Peace Corps service, and can be built upon and marketed throughout their careers.
“Part of St. Lawrence’s purpose is to transform students’ passions into world-changing abilities,” said Robin Rhodes, director of International Student Academic Support at St. Lawrence and the coordinator of the Peace Corps Prep program. “Being able to offer the Peace Corps Prep program to our students alongside the extensive globally-minded curriculum and off-campus study opportunities we are known for will prepare an even larger contingent of Laurentians to serve in the Peace Corps and play a role in making the world a better place.”
“Being able to offer the Peace Corps Prep program to our students alongside the extensive globally-minded curriculum and off-campus study opportunities we are known for will prepare an even larger contingent of Laurentians to serve in the Peace Corps and play a role in making the world a better place.” -Robin Rhodes
Established in 2007, the Peace Corps Prep program aims to meet the demand for Peace Corps volunteers with broad and relevant areas of expertise and to support schools’ efforts to provide substantive, globally focused experiences for their students. The program centers on empowering students to prepare themselves to be the best Peace Corps volunteer they can be. The program is an opportunity for colleges and universities to globalize their campuses through a partnership with the Peace Corps. This diversity-focused program enhances students’ undergraduate experience by preparing them for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service.
While having a Peace Corps Prep certificate does not guarantee acceptance into the Peace Corps, enrolling in the program will help students be more competitive.