Sent on an international mission to promote global development, Peace Corps volunteers commit to working abroad in order to help address the needs of people from Mozambique to Guinea to El Salvador, and everywhere in between. Volunteers aim to provide a greater understanding of foreign countries through American service, an objective that resonates with 10 D.C.-area colleges according to a new report released Tuesday.
The Peace Corps ranked the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities of the year according to the size of their student population, effectively highlighting the schools that recognize the value of positive international relations. There are currently 7,209 Peace Corps volunteers and trainees serving 65 countries, many of whom have roots back here to the DMV region.
The ranking of the premier large, medium and small institutions that graduate the most students who travel out of the country to pursue a 27-month stint of service abroad features a whole range of local schools. Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland came in 22nd and 23rd in the large school category, with 39 and 38 undergraduate alumni in service respectively. The University of Virginia, American University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Howard University and the College of William and Mary took the second, third, fourth, seventh, 16th and 22nd spots for medium-sized schools, with 44, 43, 41, 27, 18 and 17 volunteers respectively.
As for small schools, only the University of Mary Washington and St. Mary’s College of Maryland made the cut. They received 10th and 21st place, with 13 and 11 alums in service, respectively, to boast of. It’s abundantly clear that each of the universities mentioned take international service to heart.
But it’s not the title that matters to the institutions. Rather, they’re just proud to have groomed such responsible, caring individuals who are willing to venture out of their comfort zone and make a significant impact on a community in need. These schools have made a point of inspiring their students to pursue a life of service, and have clearly succeeded in doing so.
“The same passion that launched the Peace Corps more than 50 years ago fuels progress in developing countries today thanks to the leadership and creativity that college graduates bring to their Peace Corps service,” Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said in a press release. “The unique Peace Corps experience helps recent graduates cultivate highly sought-after skills that will launch their careers in today’s global economy.”
Not only are these volunteers helping those struggling abroad, they’re cultivating a resume chock full of cross-cultural leadership experience, community development skills and a global perspective. These experiences will provide them with a competitive edge for jobs in whichever industry they intend to pursue upon returning home.