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UWF and Peace Corps announce new Peace Corps Prep Program

The University of West Florida and Peace Corps announced Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, a new partnership centered on an undergraduate certificate program called Peace Corps Prep. Scheduled to launch in January 2021, the Peace Corps Prep program will combine targeted coursework with hands-on experience, building the competencies needed for students to be strong Peace Corps volunteers or other intercultural fieldworkers. UWF is one of seven new university partnerships.

Images taken during September 2013 asset gathering trip to Nicaragua.

Peace Corps Prep is a certificate program, which teaches students sector-specific skills, foreign language proficiency, intercultural competence and leadership. While having a Peace Corps Prep certificate does not guarantee acceptance into the Peace Corps, enrolling in the program will help students be more competitive.

“Students today are passionate about service and leaving their mark on the world,” Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen said. “Through the Peace Corps Prep program at the University of West Florida, students can develop skills specifically targeted to Peace Corps service and careers in the international development and service communities.”

Peace Corps Prep will be structured as an interdisciplinary certificate program housed in the Office of International Affairs. Students will learn about leadership, intercultural competence, foreign language, and a professional sector of their choice such as education, health or the environment. These skills give them a competitive edge when applying for Peace Corps service, and can be built upon and marketed throughout their careers.

“Part of UWF’s mission is to provide students with 21st century global skills to help them compete in a borderless workforce,” said Rachel Hendrix, executive director of International Affairs at the University of West Florida. “We believe this program will not only foster global initiatives on our campus, but will continue to expand the number of UWF alumni who participate in the Peace Corps.”

There are more than 140 Peace Corps Prep partner institutions across the country. Established in 2007, the program aims to meet the demand for Peace Corps volunteers with broad and relevant areas of expertise and to support schools’ efforts to provide substantive, globally focused experiences for their students.

The program centers on empowering students to prepare themselves to be the best Peace Corps volunteer they can be. The program is an opportunity for colleges and universities to globalize their campuses through a partnership with the Peace Corps. This diversity-focused program enhances students’ undergraduate experience by preparing them for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service.

“Peace Corps Prep is a wonderful opportunity for all undergraduate students to develop competencies that will fortify their aspirations to serve abroad,” said La’Teashia Sykes, Peace Corps director of University Programs. “A special thanks to all of our partnering institutions for cultivating students’ interest in Peace Corps service.”

For more information about the Peace Corps Prep program at the University of West Florida, visit

About the Peace Corps:

The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, Volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit