Peace Corps volunteers playing with children in Botswana

Peace Corps Week Celebrates and Prepares Longhorn Volunteers

  • Mar 1, 2022

Since the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served with the organization in over 140 nations across the world. This year’s Peace Corps Week, Feb. 28-March 4, celebrates 61 years of international peace, friendship, volunteerism and service to others. 

The relationship between The University of Texas at Austin and the Peace Corps has been a productive one. UT alumni have made a strong showing throughout Peace Corps history, with 1,913 of them serving abroad as volunteers. In 2020, UT Austin appeared for the fifth straight year among the Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing schools, ranking No. 1 in Texas. 

And since 2019, Longhorns have had the opportunity to bolster their volunteering journey through UT Austin’s Peace Corps Prep program.  

Completion of the program earns participants a certificate from the Peace Corps and a competitive edge when applying for Peace Corps service. The program integrates coursework with hands-on experience and professional development to help build four competencies: 

  • Sector-specific skills 
  • Foreign language proficiency 
  • Intercultural competence 
  • Professional savvy and leadership 

Michael Houang, program specialist with Peace Corps’ Office of University Programs, said the Peace Corps Prep program is in high demand at UT Austin. In 2019, only 35 students participated in the UT program, but in 2021, the number grew to 75. Houang, a returned volunteer, also encouraged participation in the program because it can make students more competitive for the global job network. 

“Students come out of the program feeling like they have a better understanding of how they want to use their interpersonal skills on the global stage,” Houang said.  

He also recommended that interested students reach out to Michael Mosser, UT Austin’s Peace Corps Prep coordinator, who can give them more information about how the program can fit into their degree plan. “Ask for more information on this program,” Houang said, “because it could open up the door right into that pathway.”  

Find more information about Peace Corps Prep and other UT Austin Peace Corps opportunities on the Texas Global website or by contacting the Peace Corps Campus Recruiter.   

Read the entire article at the Daily Texan.