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The Peace Corps Volunteer's Handbook: A Personal Field Guide to Making the Most of Your Peace Corps Experience Paperback – August 30, 2016
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“The Peace Corps Volunteer’s Handbook is a fantastic companion for any applicant on their journey to becoming a PCV. As a campus recruiter, I am constantly interacting with potential applicants who want to know as much as possible about Peace Corps. This book will enhance my advice and guidance when working with them. It is entertaining to read and REAL—no matter how unique each experience is, it all boils down to what is in this book. I love that it is YOURS and can help in YOUR journey as a PCV. To make it even better, you can give this and the experiences you write in this book to help future Volunteers. It's a must read! Enjoy the accomplishments, challenges, growth, friendships, embarrassing moments, and laughter that you have while in Peace Corps. And don't forget to pay it forward!”
—Amy Panikowski, RPCV (Malawi 00-01), University of Florida Peace Corps Recruiter (05-10)
“Travis' book is an invaluable resource for those thinking about applying to Peace Corps, those currently serving, and even those who have returned after their service. Based on his own personal experience, and those of other volunteers and applicants, he goes through the process step by step, explaining the application process, the ups and downs of living in a developing country, and how to make the most of your service!”
—Mike Sheppard, RPCV (The Gambia 03-05), Founder of PeaceCorpsWiki.org and PeaceCorpsJournals.com
“You lucky *@^%!?#$ don’t know how lucky you are to have such a kickass handbook written for you. This handbook is full of helpful suggestions and wisdom for a wide variety of PC experiences, even the apocalyptic ones. Now, at the end of my service, I still find myself going back to this book for advice on reviving my enthusiasm for the ‘toughest job I’ll ever love,’ keeping my ‘American standards’ in check, and just being a good Volunteer in general.
Luggage space is precious when one travels, but this handbook will definitely be in my backpack home. It’s not simply a reminder of all the lessons I’ve learned from my PC experience but a personal scrapbook that is uniquely mine. Plus, what else is going to stop me from hyperventilating whenever I go into culture shock? Be grateful…”
—Alexandra Yang, RPCV (Mongolia 08-10)
“Lucky you! Peace Corps Volunteer service is not just an opportunity; it’s an AMAZING opportunity—and a privilege. You join a 50-year legacy of Americans who make a difference in communities overseas, and then continue to change the world long after their service is complete. By addressing not just the practicalities of the Peace Corps, but the emotional and psychological aspects, The Peace Corps Volunteer’s Handbook provides invaluable, down-to-earth advice that can help you make the most of this transformative experience, as well as guide you when you come home.”
—Erica Burman, RPCV (The Gambia 87-89), Director of Communications and Editor of Worldview Magazine, National Peace Corps Association
“I have found that The Peace Corps Volunteer’s Handbook contains the most extensive explanation of the application process available. Honest testimonials from current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers serve as the most valuable resource, and the handbook is full of relevant information and insight. Currently nominated for an assignment in Eastern Europe, I would like to thank the contributors to the handbook for aiding in making my application process as smooth as possible. The handbook will surely continue to be a valuable resource for me while I serve and a recommended read for all those interested in the Peace Corps.”
—Julie Nelson, Peace Corps Nominee (10-12)
“The must-have book for anyone thinking of joining the Peace Corps (as well as current Volunteers). Not only is The Peace Corps Volunteer’s Handbook filled with insight into what it's like to be a PCV, the book becomes your own personal keepsake with interactive sections and chapters; something to reflect upon long after you've returned home. Every PCV’s experience is unique, but this book succeeds in weaving the Peace Corps Experience into an invaluable resource for before, during, and after your service.”
—Christopher Beale, RPCV (Eastern Caribbean 05-07), Founder of Other Places Travel Guides by RPCVs
“Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is a wonderful experience, but it’s also not right for everyone. The tips and candid information in The Peace Corps Volunteer’s Handbook will be a great tool for helping you decide if Peace Corps might be right for you.”
—Jim Carl, RPCV (Swaziland 79-81), Country Director (Mongolia 07-10)
"The Peace Corps Volunteer’s Handbook is a great tool to learn more about the Peace Corps from the inside. The RPCV in me wishes something like this would have been available when I was deciding what the next step in my post-university life should be. The former Peace Corps recruiter and placement officer in me wants to remind you that each applicant's experience is unique and nothing you read anywhere will be exactly how it will be for you. Therefore please use this book just for what it is...a tool to teach you more about how absolutely life-changing the Peace Corps can be. Use the tips to help navigate your way through the long application process. But above all else, use this book as inspiration, not as gospel. Peace Corps policies, trainings, programs, even the countries we serve in will change over time. Be flexible and you will be a Peace Corps Volunteer one day!"
—Jason Bowers, RPCV (Slovak Republic 00-02), Peace Corps Recruiter & Placement Officer (04-10)
About the Author
Travis Hellstrom is a writer and founder of Advance Humanity (advancehumanity.com). After graduating from college with a degree in Pre-Med/Biology, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia from 2008 to 2011. There he worked with local hospitals and clinics in the eastern steppe of Mongolia to help doctors, nurses and residents improve the overall health in the community. Currently he is Chair of the MBA Program at Marlboro Graduate School, with a focus in Social Innovation and Mission-Driven Organizations. He earned his Masters Degree from SIT Graduate Institute. You can visit his website at travishellstrom.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
I read this with enthusiasm, because it stirred up a host of good feeling about my own time in-country, and I can personally vouch for the advice he's given as it unlocked several cherished memories about my service. Travis has distilled and efficiently presented the combined advice of over a dozen RPCVs and PCVs (and others) into one supremely helpful guide for anyone about to serve.
I hope you'll take his advice and invest in "making this book your own," because you really will change dramatically during your service. What better way to document your growth over 27 months than with a companion book, customized for your needs?
And if you find places in the Handbook that need updated or improved, send in those comments and suggestions to the author. Everything can be improved, including this handbook (and Peace Corps too for that matter), and that will in turn help future volunteers.
Examples for everyone. I encourage the college students I work with to use Travis' book.
Travis is an extraordinary man who is a big thinker. I'm so glad he made this book!