Fairfield University is pleased to collaborate with the Peace Corps to offer a unique interdisciplinary preparatory program which prepares students for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. This program will enable Fairfield University to reach more students with global opportunities, better prepare students with cultural competency skills, and encourage students to learn in non-traditional destinations.
The program concentrates on the following four core competencies:
The program includes a diverse faculty who teach within the six Peace Corps sectors: education, health, environment, agriculture, youth in development, and community economic development.
For questions, please contact Fairfield University Peace Corps Prep Program co-directors, Anita Deeg-Carlin, associate director of the International Studies Program, and Julie Mughal, assistant director for Humanitarian Action, Center for Faith & Public Life, at email@example.com.
Hear from Ashley Toombs '07 talk about her enriching experience serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru.
The Peace Corps (PC) Prep program at Fairfield will prepare students for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, students will need to meet the following four core requirements:
Leveraging concrete knowledge and skills is central to on-the-ground international development work. Through Fairfield’s PC Prep program, students will begin to build a professional specialty, which will serve their career, whether or not they become a Peace Corps volunteer.
For PC Prep, students are required to complete at least three courses that align with a specific work sector. Students must also accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferably in a teaching or outreach capacity.
There are six sectors in which Peace Corps Volunteers serve—outlined below. Students will choose one sector to focus on and complete at least three courses plus 50 hours of related experience in that sector.
Learn more about the six Peace Corps sectors:
Requirements vary by placement.
Most students must hone their capacity to interact professionally using a non-English language. Minimum course requirements vary by desired placement region as follows:
Latin America: Students indicating an intention to serve in Spanish-speaking countries must build strong intermediate proficiency, having completed two 200-level courses or have learned Spanish through another medium.
West Africa: Students indicating an intention to serve in French-speaking African countries must build proficiency in French or another Romance language, having completed one 200-level course or learned the language through another medium.
Everywhere else: Students indicating an intention to serve anywhere else do not have explicit language requirements to complete the program, but are encouraged to study a foreign language.
Students who are strong native speakers, or who can demonstrate fluency, who wish to serve in a country that speaks the same language are exempt from taking the Foreign Language Skills Requirement.
3 approved courses or 1-2 courses + substantive intercultural competence
Engaging thoughtfully and fluidly across cultures begins with one’s own self-awareness. With this learning objective, students will deepen their cultural agility through a mix of three introspective courses in which they will learn about others while reflecting upon their own self in relation to others. The goal is for students to build their capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences.
Students are required to take at least one of the following core courses:
Students are required to choose two additional electives from the above or below list:
Resume and Interview Support + Leadership
Peace Corps service and similar international development work opportunities are highly professional and selective. PC Prep requires five specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps (or any other professional endeavor). Students are required to:
Luke Fain ’17
Luke graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and currently serves as an agriculture volunteer for the Peace Corps in rural Ethiopia. While at Fairfield, Luke was a member of LEAF, Students 4 Social Justice, and co-president of the Outdoors Club. His service with the Peace Corps consists of improving food security and nutrition by encouraging and assisting families in building small, at-home gardens and raising and properly caring for small animal husbandries such as chickens and bees. Ethiopia has over 50 languages, and Luke is currently learning two of them: the national language and the local language of Keffa where he lives. After his time in the Peace Corps, Luke is interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail and spreading the word on the wonders of Ethiopia - a country he’s grown to love and call home.
Patience Mhlanga ’14
Patience currently serves as a Peace Corps Health Volunteer in rural Zambia. She lived in Zambia as a refugee for five years and was excited to be able to return to Zambia to serve in the Peace Corps. While at Fairfield, Patience tutored English and mentored middle school students in Bridgeport through the AmeriCorps Program. She then served full-time as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Minnesota through Minnesota Alliance with Youth organization. While in Minnesota and after discernment, Patience decided to pursue Theology at Duke University. From there, she joined the Peace Corps. In Zambia, she focuses primarily on HIV and malaria prevention, nutrition, and sanitation. Patience also works with women to develop activities to generate income for themselves and their families. After the Peace Corps, she hopes to pursue a public health degree in maternal and child health.
Emma Cannon ’14
A JUHAN fellow at Fairfield, Emma double majored in International Studies and Spanish with a focus on Latin America. Emma was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala for two years, where she worked in support of the Healthy Schools Project, a national initiative that aims to improve basic health and hygiene in primary school students in rural Guatemala. She received the JUHAN Humanitarian Citizenship Award in 2014. She currently works at University Research Co., LLC (URC) & Center for Human Services (CHS) Support Zika Response activities in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador and Jamaica.
Ashley Toombs ’07
Ashley graduated from Fairfield University in 2007 with a double major in International Studies and Spanish. In 2015, she earned her Master’s of Public Administration, Environmental Science, and Policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Ashley is currently the manager of External Relations at BRAC USA where she supports technical assistance efforts, public engagement, and strategic fundraising initiatives. Previously, Ashley was part of the fundraising team at the Nature Conservancy’s New York office. She also spent four years working with the Peruvian Environmental Ministry, both as a Peace Corps Volunteer and as a technical facilitator specializing in community-based environmental management and youth development.