For some students, taking a leap of faith is as quick and exhilarating as bungee jumping off a bridge. For others, that leap of faith involves saying “yes” to living and working on the opposite side of the globe for 27 months as a Peace Corps volunteer.
The Peace Corps accepts less than 17 percent of applicants, but more than 215 Broncos have served abroad since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961 by the federal government. Currently, 20 Boise State alumni serve in Africa, Asia and South America.
Boise State supports its applicants through a Peace Corps Prep program, which helps students build language and leadership skills.
“We work with each student to help them identify which sector of Peace Corps service they might be most interested in and then help that student build their resume with courses and experiences to become a competitive applicant,” said Holly Mikesell, project coordinator for academic planning at Boise State.
The Peace Corps sends volunteers to work abroad at schools and non-profit organizations, with governments and business leaders. Their work: addressing systemic problems in communities.
“It’s really rare in this life to have the opportunity to be able to go somewhere for two years and live in a community at the same level as the people,” Mikesell said.
“The benefits that the Peace Corps provides to a student are immeasurable and can jump-start a career. There’s really no field – from marketing to nursing to social work to politics and beyond – where this kind of experience wouldn’t benefit them and make them attractive to prospective employers.”
BS, political science and sociology, ’18
For Brook Chick, the many service opportunities offered at Boise State positioned her to serve in Gambia, one of Africa’s smallest countries. She also credits the Career Center and political science department for making her application more competitive.
Chick is stationed in the bush village of Pallen Fula, where approximately 1,000 people speak a variety of languages, such as Wolof, Pulaar and Mandinka. She works at the village’s elementary school developing extra-curricular programs. Chick collaborated with teachers to launch a girls’ club – a safe space to learn about healthy relationships, menstruation (making reusable and affordable menstrual pads) and to explore an area that is commonly inaccessible to Gambian women: sports. “It has been amazing to see the joy and happiness of the students,” said Chick.
“I am very grateful for the opportunities and support Boise State offered me throughout my undergraduate career to get me to this amazing point in my life.”
— Brook Chick