Peace Corps representatives bring experiences to SF State
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Despite the low attendance, Peace Corps representatives gave audience members a close look at what it means to volunteer, at a panel discussion today called “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love.”

The panel, consisting of Nick Bosustow, Jayma Brown and Delilah Raybee, was part of SF State’s annual International Week program on Tuesday.

All three panelists had personally participated in the Peace Corps program, and were available to answer questions and discuss first-hand experiences.

The program sends volunteers to more than 70 countries with the length of service being 27 months, Bosustow said.

After fulfilling the basic requirements — being 18 years of age or older, in good health, a U.S. citizen and passing the application process — volunteers are placed where their skills match the needs of the country.

The service can range from teaching or contracting work to working in health education or business development.

The Peace Corps was established in 1960, when John F. Kennedy “challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries,” according to the official Peace Corps catalog.

Even though the mission has stayed the same, many changes have been made to the program.

“Safety and security is our number one concern,” Bosustow said. “We upgraded our system tremendously since the 60s when we simply used to drop our volunteers off and told them that we’ll be back in two years.”

Currently, the Peace Corps has officers on hand in all volunteer areas, who stay in constant contact with each individual and also keep up with the country’s politics and stay connected to the local police.

In addition, the Peace Corps program provides a 24-hour a day full health care plan to its members while they are abroad.

“I dislocated my knee in the Philippines, and the care I received there was the best I’ve ever had,” an audience member who volunteered in the 1960s stated from the back of the room.

Though the panelists said the experience of being a volunteer abroad has many positive aspects, such as discovering a different culture, exploring a new country and learning a new language, all three panelists said that it also has some negative aspects.

“It was very difficult for me to see all the excess and waste when I came to the U.S.,” Brown said. “But I still try to live the Peace Corps existence.”

The three-day Closing Service Conference really helped Raybee transition back into her own life, she said, in addition to keeping contact with other former volunteers.

As of now, the Peace Corps provides its volunteers with $6000 to help them adjust to their life back home.

But they are also currently working on a re-entry pilot program in six cities, according to Bosustow.

“Transitions are really tough,” Bosustow said. “They can take up to two years.”

After having volunteered abroad multiple times, Bosustow currently works as a Peace Corps recruiter in Northern California and is on SF State's campus twice a month.

For more information on International Week go to: www.sfsu.edu/~oip/iewhome.htm

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