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Mr. Strauss says volunteers often are not sent where they are needed most — and in fact, there is a lot that needs to be done right in the United States.

“The appeal of Peace Corps is rooted in the broadly held appeal of wanting to do right by others,” he says. “The international aspect of the agency seems to magnify that appeal as people wrongly imagine that it will be easier to make a difference far away from home than it is a block or two off Main Street, USA. It isn’t. I encourage anyone thinking about volunteering for the Peace Corps to make sure that they’ve tried out volunteering at home first.”

Mr. Field says part of what Peace Corps volunteers are learning abroad is useful skills to bring back to their home communities.

“Volunteers receive both practical, tangible benefits and a life-defining experience from their service,” he says. “Volunteers live and work in other cultures, make significant impacts on local communities, develop invaluable leadership skills and learn a new language. These are important experiences for all Peace Corps volunteers to bring back to their home communities and for young people entering the global marketplace.”