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Peace Corp Prep Program

The Virginia Tech Peace Corps Prep Program is a certification program focusing on preparing students for international work in multiple sectors, as well as Peace Corps service. The program is open to all Virginia Tech undergraduate students, with multiple track options that align with many existing course plans. Students will be given relevant courses from which to choose, and gain knowledge through leadership development and experiential learning. Specifically, the community economic development track aligns very closely with Pamplin’s GBP minor, as well as core requirements for many business majors. To check out all other tracks, click here.

COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TRACK      

“Harness 21st‐century tools to help communities lift themselves. Volunteers work with development banks, nongovernmental organizations, and municipalities to strengthen infrastructure and encourage economic opportunities in communities. They frequently teach in classroom settings and work with entrepreneurs and business owners to develop and market their products. Some Volunteers also teach basic computer skills and help communities take advantage of technologies such as e‐commerce, distance learning, and more.”

Certification requirements

There are 4 sections that students must complete to receive a certificate through the Peace Core Prep program.

Students will need to take three courses from one of the following areas:

  • Business
  • Public Administration
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Mass Communications

Recommended courses:

Course Number and Title

Pathways Concept Area

AAEC 1005: Economics of Food and Fiber Systems

-

AAEC 3014: Analytic Methods in Applied Economics  

 

-

AAEC 3454: Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship  

-

AAEC 4323: Rural and Regional Development and Prosperity  

 

-

AAEC/FREC/WATR 4464: Water Resources Policy and Economics

-

ECON 2005: Principles of Economics 

3

HUM/RLCL/COMM 3204 : Multicultural Communication

3

IS 4014: International Development   *

 

-

MGT 3444: Multicultural Diversity in Organizations

3

BIT/MGT 2404: Multicultural Problem Solving and Analytics  *

5

ECON 3034: Poverty and Discrimination  *

7

MGT 4314: International Management   *

7

MGT 4334: Ethical Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility  *

-

MKTG 4644: Marketing, Society, and Public Interest   *

-

SOC 2034: Diversity and Community Engagement   *     

3

SOC/PSVP 3854: Globalization: Sociological Perspectives   *

-

SPIA 1024: Community Service Learning   *                  

3

SPIA 3554: Transdisciplinary Problem Solving for Societal Issues   *

-

SPIA 4464: Data and the Art of Decision‐Making  *

-

AAEC 3204: International Agricultural Development and Trade   *

-

AAEC 3324: Environmental and Sustainable Development Economics *

-

ECON 3004: Global Economic Policy  *

-

ECON 3024: Economic Justice  *

-

ECON 4124: Growth and Development  *

-

GEOG 2244/SPIA 2014: Sustainable Urbanization   *     

-

MGT 3074: Social Entrepreneurship   *

-

HTM 3484: Socio‐Cultural Impacts of Tourism  *

-

PSCI /GEOG/IS 2064: The Global Economy and World Politics   *           

-

PSCI/IS 4054: Seminar in Global Political Economy   *

-

GEOG/NR 1115: Seeking Sustainability I  **

-

GEOG/NR 1116: Seeking Sustainability II  **

-

GEOG/NR 4444: Practicing Sustainability  **

-

ENGL 4804: Grant Proposals and Reports  

-

* Counts toward the Global Business Practices to Improve the Human Condition minor
** Counts toward the Pathways to Sustainability minor
For students pursuing the full Global Business Practices Pathways minor, a capstone study abroad course (3954), independent study (4974) or undergraduate research (4994) may meet Peace Corps Prep requirements. See your Faculty Contact. 

And build 50 hours of related field experience through an activity such as:

  • Working with businesses, organizations, or cooperatives in accounting, finance, microfinance, management, project management, budgeting, or marketing
  • Starting and running your own business or other entrepreneurial activity
  • Training others in computer literacy, maintenance, and repair
  • Website design or online marketing
  • Founding or leading a community‐ or school‐based organization
  • Complete a Virginia Cooperative Extension Summer Internship

In addition to regular service opportunities offered by VT Engage and internships arranged through Career Services, students may find their own opportunities. Career and Professional Development provides a gateway for internship opportunities. Field experience choices for the community economic development track must be pre‐approved by the Faculty Contact, Dr. Catherine Larochelle claroche@vt.edu.

Working across cultures often entails verbal and nonverbal languages distinct from your own. Building foreign language skills is thus a second key component of the Peace Corps curriculum. Requirements vary by region:

  • Latin America: Individuals wanting to serve or work in Spanish-speaking countries must apply with strong intermediate proficiency. This typically means completing two 200-level courses.
  • West Africa: Individuals wanting to serve or work in French-speaking African countries should be proficient in French (or, in some cases, any Romance Language), usually through one 200- level course.
  • Everywhere else: The Peace Corps has no explicit language requirements for individuals applying to serve in most other countries.

However, you will still likely learn and utilize another language during service, so it is only helpful to have taken at least one foreign language class. If you are a strong native speaker and hope to serve in a country that speaks your same language, you can skip this requirement.

Engaging thoughtfully and fluidly across cultures begins with one’s own self-awareness. With this learning objective, you will deepen your cultural agility through a mix of three self-reflective courses in which you learn about others while reflecting upon your own self in relation to others. The goal is for you to build your capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences.

Prolonged intercultural experiences—such as studying/volunteering abroad, supporting new Americans/immigrants in the community, or teaching in diverse schools—may partially fulfill this requirement.

Peace Corps service and similar international development work opportunities are highly professional and selective. The Virginia Tech Prep Program requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for Peace Corps or any other professional endeavor:

  1. Have your resume critiqued by a career counselor in Career Services.
  2. Schedule an interview preparation session with a career counselor in Career Services.
  3. Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully. For example, organizing a campus event, leading a work or volunteer project, or serving on the executive board of a student organization
  • Click the application link
  • Review of applications will begin when applications are submitted. Applicants will be notified within 2 weeks

If you have questions about the program, please read the Student Guide or contact Larry Vaughan at larryjv@vt.edu

Virginia Tech is among the top 20 large universities providing Peace Corps volunteers for two years of international development service.

For information about Peace Corps and guidance on the application process, contact Anne Patterson(Returned Volunteer: Ethiopia 2015-2016), the Virginia Tech Campus Peace Corps Recruiter at peacecorps@vt.edu .

Contact information

For information about Peace Corps and guidance on the application process, contact Anne Patterson(Returned Volunteer: Ethiopia 2015-2016), the Virginia Tech Campus Peace Corps Recruiter at peacecorps@vt.edu .