a landscape view of a city in colombia

Peace Corps Prep Equips McCombs Senior for Healthcare Work in Latin America

  • Aug 5, 2021
  • Jenan Taha

Supply chain management and pre-medical track senior Aron Bhachawat is on a path to make a difference in others’ lives through medicine. The soon-to-be-graduate recently completed Peace Corps Prep—a certificate program that prepares students to work abroad as Peace Corps volunteers—and hopes to serve in the healthcare sector in South America.

Bhachawat, who ultimately plans to become a physician, chose to pursue Peace Corps service to immerse himself in the unique healthcare issues faced by underserved communities in Latin America. He says the Peace Corps Prep Program strengthened his intercultural and professional competencies, giving his Peace Corps application a competitive edge.

“My biggest takeaway from the program was being able to see how my knowledge from a classroom setting can be applied in a real-world setting to actually aid people,” Bhachawat said. “The idea of serving abroad in an underserved community entices me and fills the urge I have to actually use my knowledge for the betterment of others while also helping to build and boost the community around me, as well as myself,” he said.

aron holds a certificate and wears a mask and sunglasses

Since the creation of Peace Corps in 1961, 1,897 UT alumni have served abroad as volunteers. UT ranks among the country’s top volunteer-producing large universities.

The Peace Corps Prep Program continues that legacy of global service by providing a way to recognize students whose interests align with Peace Corps for their coursework and extracurricular service.

The program focuses on four core competencies: sector-specific skills, foreign language proficiency, intercultural competence and professional and leadership development. While having a Peace Corps Prep certificate does not guarantee acceptance into Peace Corps, enrolling in the program will help students compete.

But the certificate program doesn’t just benefit those interested in service. It also can help students become competitive applicants for graduate school and careers in their fields of study, even if they decide not to apply to Peace Corps.

Bhachawat says the program has given him hands-on experience in the health field, and he advises other students interested in serving abroad to take advantage of the program.

“Helping people has always been at the forefront for me, being a pre-medicine student, and the program allowed me to see past my textbook courses and watch how volunteers in Peace Corps can go abroad in remote areas and truly make a difference in people’s lives.”

Learn more about Peace Corps Prep.