Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor
Murray State is the first school in Kentucky to become a Peace Corps Prep partner school with a new program that will begin this fall for students interested in the Peace Corps or an international career post-graduation.
The program focuses on experiential learning, community service and international studies tailored to the student’s interests. Completing the track doesn’t guarantee the student will be accepted into the Peace Corps, nor does it require them to apply.
The program is available to any undergraduate student, no matter their major. Students in the program will gain foreign language proficiency, intercultural competence and develop leadership skills in addition to sector-specific skills in different areas from health to community economic development.
“Intercultural competency is becoming increasingly important in a world that is becoming more interconnected than ever before,” said Allison Strong, senior from Cincinnati.
Strong is an international studies and nonprofit leadership studies double major interested in the Peace Corps. She said she believes the program will help create empathy and understanding during times of divisiveness and disunity within the world.
“Besides linguistic and technical skills, the courses that form the program aim to give participants a global consciousness and an awareness of cross-cultural differences,” said Peter Weber, director of the nonprofit leadership studies program.
“Developing a more global awareness is crucial in our increasingly global societies, and will be for sure an asset for students entering the job market,” he said.
Weber is on the task force committee that brought the Peace Corps Prep program to Murray State.
“I think the Peace Corps Prep program can be really important because it represents a first step toward this openness to new and different perspectives,” Weber said.
Previously completed courses that meet the requirements of the program will count toward completion, meaning any student can apply for the program no matter their class standing, Weber said.
Students interested in the program are required to meet with the program coordinator, Renae Duncan.
Murray State is one of fifty other universities in the United States that offer the program, according to the Peace Corps’ website.
“The fact that I can now visit the Peace Corps’ website and see Murray State University on its list of partner universities gives me one more reason to be so proud to call myself a Racer,” Strong said.