#1
I'm about to enter my freshman year of college, and naturally I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do after college. I'm going into chemical engineering, and I really want to work with environmentally friendly means of production. Ideally I'd like to work with the research aspect of this, designing engines, plants, or the like.

I've been doing a lot of reading on developing countries, and I've decided I want to do some volunteer work . I'll try to do as many "alternative spring breaks" as possible, but I don't know if 1 week x 4 years will be all that I want. I've been looking into the Peace Corps too, and they offer work for volunteers in the environmental sector. They do education, development, and just planting trees too.

I also want to become fluent in Spanish. I've only taken it in school (6ish years) and am no where near fluent. I could easily survive in a Spanish-speaking area, but not be able to enjoy a normal conversation.


Ultimately then, I'll probably end up going to grad school. Is the Peace Corps a good thing to do between undergrad and grad school? How would having a chemE degree and doing the peace corps open up job opportunities? (Note that that is no where near the main reason for me wanting to do a service project...just something that I'm going to consider.)

Does anyone here have any experience with the Peace Corps or something similar?
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#2
Quote by Psalm 150:4
I'm about to enter my freshman year of college, and naturally I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do after college. I'm going into chemical engineering, and I really want to work with environmentally friendly means of production. Ideally I'd like to work with the research aspect of this, designing engines, plants, or the like.

I've been doing a lot of reading on developing countries, and I've decided I want to do some volunteer work . I'll try to do as many "alternative spring breaks" as possible, but I don't know if 1 week x 4 years will be all that I want. I've been looking into the Peace Corps too, and they offer work for volunteers in the environmental sector. They do education, development, and just planting trees too.

I also want to become fluent in Spanish. I've only taken it in school (6ish years) and am no where near fluent. I could easily survive in a Spanish-speaking area, but not be able to enjoy a normal conversation.


Ultimately then, I'll probably end up going to grad school. Is the Peace Corps a good thing to do between undergrad and grad school? How would having a chemE degree and doing the peace corps open up job opportunities? (Note that that is no where near the main reason for me wanting to do a service project...just something that I'm going to consider.)

Does anyone here have any experience with the Peace Corps or something similar?


Go on holiday to Mexico, it's not like you'll become fluent but you'll be much better at speaking to people. The classroom environment sucks, from what I've experienced.
#3
^ +1, you can't learn any better than by immersing yourself in the language.

Can't help with the peace corps though, sounds awesome though man.

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#4
It's not just that I want to learn the language..I want to volunteer and actually do something worthwhile too. Perhaps I could find a similar experience in Mexico...A year would be the ideal amount of time, I think. Peace Corps is 27 months...and they don't take everyone.
I'm not a Bible-thumper anymore. Realized I had a brain in '09.

I like guitars, running, and math.
#5
Well for the Spanish part all I can say is that if you know English, Spanish is going to be a walk in the park.Also, like the above poster's said, try to go to a place where the native language is Spanish( I suggest Spain, I don't like Mexico's Spanish),it will help a ton in the pronunciation.
#6
Quote by VillainousLatin
Well for the Spanish part all I can say is that if you know English, Spanish is going to be a walk in the park.Also, like the above poster's said, try to go to a place where the native language is Spanish( I suggest Spain, I don't like Mexico's Spanish),it will help a ton in the pronunciation.


I suggested Mexico because he lives in the US, it would be far cheaper to go on holiday there than to go to Spain.
#7
peace corps is super intense.

one of my best friends is doing it at the moment and i was considering joining, as well. i decided though, that it wasn't for me because of the time commitment and the lack of say in where you are sent.

before you apply, make sure that you are 100% willing to go and do whatever they assign you to because if you hesitate and reject the offer, you are damn near ineligible from applying again.

when considering applying, you will read some absolute horror stories and you will also hear some amazing things. do a lot of research.

also, be aware that the application process takes nearly a year and a half and you will have to jump through an inordinate number of hoops.

about where you might get sent, as i am sure you are aware, they do allow for you to state your preference in terms of general broad geographic location (eastern europe, africa, south america, asia, etc). however, your preference can easily be overruled and may wind up slowing the application process.

your best bet is probably to find out what sort of work is going on in your preferred region and tailor your application to suit that need.


if you are hesitant about doing the two years of service because of the time away from home and whether that fits for you, there are other similar programs out there with smaller time committment, though they lack the prestige of peace corps (and therefore may not look as good in the future when applying for jobs, etc)

if you are hesitant about working in non-profits and community development, maybe try americorps. i just finished a year of that and it was eye-opening. yes, you don't get the foreign experience, but i assume that it could easily prepare you for peace corps.

good luck with your decision and good for you thinking about this sort of thing so early on in college.
#8
Quote by uhh_me?
peace corps is super intense.

one of my best friends is doing it at the moment and i was considering joining, as well. i decided though, that it wasn't for me because of the time commitment and the lack of say in where you are sent.

before you apply, make sure that you are 100% willing to go and do whatever they assign you to because if you hesitate and reject the offer, you are damn near ineligible from applying again.

when considering applying, you will read some absolute horror stories and you will also hear some amazing things. do a lot of research.

also, be aware that the application process takes nearly a year and a half and you will have to jump through an inordinate number of hoops.

about where you might get sent, as i am sure you are aware, they do allow for you to state your preference in terms of general broad geographic location (eastern europe, africa, south america, asia, etc). however, your preference can easily be overruled and may wind up slowing the application process.

your best bet is probably to find out what sort of work is going on in your preferred region and tailor your application to suit that need.


if you are hesitant about doing the two years of service because of the time away from home and whether that fits for you, there are other similar programs out there with smaller time committment, though they lack the prestige of peace corps (and therefore may not look as good in the future when applying for jobs, etc)

if you are hesitant about working in non-profits and community development, maybe try americorps. i just finished a year of that and it was eye-opening. yes, you don't get the foreign experience, but i assume that it could easily prepare you for peace corps.

good luck with your decision and good for you thinking about this sort of thing so early on in college.



Thank you very much! I'm just starting my research on it now, since I'll be doing whatever I do in 4 years. I'm definitely considering other options..Peace Corps was just the first thing that I've seriously looked into. I'll look into AmeriCorps too. 27 months is my main hesitation regarding PC now..I think that a year would be ideal...that way I would graduate in May, return the following May, then perhaps get an internship over the summer before grad school.

Hmm...
I'm not a Bible-thumper anymore. Realized I had a brain in '09.

I like guitars, running, and math.
#9
I know several people that did a stint in the Peace Corp. They all developed excellent Spanish language skills. They're also some of the weirdest people I've ever met. I'm not sure that's due to their PC experience or not but so far every PC person I've met is a fucking loon.
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