Fed up with the snow? How about two years in the moist jungle climate of Venezuela, or the vast desert of Angola? Alicen Burns is Iowa’s chief recruiter for the Peace Corps and she’s looking for new volunteers. Burns says many people have heard of the organization but are a little fuzzy about how it works. Burns, who lives in Ames, says volunteers go into it based on their education, experience and interests, in areas including: agriculture, business, information technology, construction, health and many other possibilities. Burns says the Peace Corps sends volunteers into 26 different programs in 71 nations, mostly in Africa and Latin America. It’s a 27-month commitment. There’s three months of training in the country, then two years of service as a volunteer with a specific community. Burns says 94 Iowans are currently on Peace Corps assignments across the globe. Of those, 46 are University of Iowa alumni volunteers, ranking the U-of-I 24th in the U.S. in the number of Peace Corps volunteers. While you are a volunteer, Burns says all of your expenses are paid. You don’t have to fundraise or spend your own money to take part. It’s a government program so you get a monthly stipend, full medical and dental insurance and your airfare to and from the country is taken care of by the Peace Corps. There’s also a six-thousand dollar “readjustment allowance” when you return. For more information, surf to “www.peacecorps.gov” or call 800 424-8580.
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