For students wondering what to do after they graduate, the Peace Corps might be an appealing option for students who want to help provide social and economic development abroad.
That’s why Kansas State University hired Rebecca Roeder in late December — to assist students with the Peace Corps application process and inform them about the organization as a whole.
Roeder is a 2015 K-State graduate in communication disorders and Spanish. She served in the Peace Corps in Peru for two years from 2016 to 2018. The village she lived in was up in the mountains of Peru, and she mainly worked with children under three years old to inform parents of good parental practices and the benefits of good hygiene and nutrition.
“Chronic malnutrition is a big problem there,” Roeder said. “Working with the people was a very rewarding experience.”
The Peace Corps is a U.S. government organization that was started under former president John F. Kennedy in 1961. It has served 141 countries throughout the decades thanks to its ever-changing volunteer staff.
As a campus Peace Corps representative, Roeder said she seeks to spread awareness of her position and ways she can help students be involved in the Peace Corps.
“I have reached out to professors and instructors to talk to students about these opportunities,” Roeder said. “There have been several students already this semester come in and ask for advice and information. I expect to have more toward the end of the semester.”
Roeder said she has talked to several classes already and attended the Agri-Industry Career Fair.
“One of the areas of service in the Peace Corps is in agriculture,” Roeder said. “Since K-State is an ag college, we try to reach out and make this opportunity known.”
There are six areas of service in the Peace Corps: agriculture, environment, community economic development, health, education and youth in development. Education is the largest area for volunteers.
Roeder said most applicants for the Peace Corps have a bachelor’s degree, but the only requirement is to be 18 or older.
“Applicants have the option to apply to a specific program or can choose to apply to go where [they’re] needed most,” Roeder said. “When applying where needed most, applicants can choose which regions and sectors they would be most interested in serving in.”
Peace Corps volunteer service is a two-year commitment, Roeder said. In that time, volunteers live with a host family in the country they are serving. The volunteers also receive a living stipend to spend on food, travel expenses and receive health care coverage while serving.
“I got to see so much of the country,” Roeder said about her two years in Peru.
The Peace Corps application can be completed in an hour, Roeder added, and includes a “motivation statement” which asks applicants to express why they would like to serve, along with a resume and personal information. Then, applicants will be contacted for an interview.
If accepted, there are three months of training before the two years of service begin.
Roeder said her time in Peru gave her chances to explore her passions. A long-time Spanish learner, Roeder had the opportunity to learn Quechua, the local language that was first used in the Incan Empire. She got to live as someone in the village did — close to the poverty line, yes, but she said it was still a comfortable way of living for her due to the simplicity.
“It is something that I would recommend to students,” Roeder said.