Kai Artis plans to be a Peace Corps volunteer after she graduates from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
She would love to volunteer in Asia. A new prep course soon to be offered on campus will provide Artis and others like her a competitive edge when applying for Peace Corps service.
The Peace Corps Prep Course is a two-year undergraduate certificate program available for all majors designed to give students valuable hands-on experience and leadership skills.
“I think it’s awesome that this program is going be offered here to help students who want to venture out into the world and volunteer their services in other countries,” Artis said.
The university held an event on campus recently to announce the partnership with Peace Corps. Artis was among several students who came out to hear from Peace Corps recruiters.
Sophomore Amoy Shreves has always wanted to explore Jamaica where her parents are from. She hopes this new prep course will put her on that path. Shreves is studying nursing but would prefer teaching English on the Caribbean island.
“I have always been interested in traveling and learning about other cultures,” Shreves said.
Malika Mercer, assistant director of the Career Center, will serve as prep course coordinator. Mercer said the course will be offered beginning in February.
The Peace Corps Prep program will combine targeted coursework with hands-on experience, building the competencies needed to be strong Peace Corps volunteers or other intercultural fieldworkers.
“One of the great things about Peace Corp Prep is the opportunity for our students to give back,” Mercer said.
“The students will get to experience cultures unlike their own and the challenges that come with those differences. My hope is that it will provide them with a cultural awareness and competence they might not be afforded otherwise.
“It is a wonderful opportunity academically and culturally for students, and I’m excited to have Peace Corps Prep at UNCP.”
Receiving a Peace Corps Prep certificate does not guarantee acceptance into the Peace Corps.
The Peace Corps Prep program will be housed in the Career Center. Students will learn about and practice leadership, intercultural competence, foreign language, and a professional sector of their choice such as education, health or the environment.
The Career Center provides students and alumni with resources and opportunities that promote career development and lifelong learning. The center hosts over five career fairs throughout the year and are available to assist students with major exploration, résumé and cover letter critiques, mock interviews, job searches and more.
The Peace Corps has Peace Corps Prep partnerships with more than 75 leading academic institutions nationwide. Established in 2007, the program aims to meet the demand for Peace Corps volunteers with a broad and relevant set of expertise, and to support schools’ efforts to provide substantive, globally focused experiences for their students.
UNCP has 14 students who became Peace Corps volunteers, with one currently serving overseas today.