Q&A with Peace Corps volunteer: Jacob Hamilton


If you’re struggling to find a post-college path that feels right and you enjoy volunteering, helping others and traveling, it might be helpful to consider serving in the Peace Corps. At 5 p.m. on Mar. 19, in room 110P of the Student Services Building, ISU alumni Jacob Hamilton will be giving a talk on his experience working with the Peace Corps in Morocco.

Submitted Photo

Submitted Photo
Hamilton, left, with friend, is grateful for his experiences with the Peace Corps.

What happened to you in college that led you to work with the Peace Corps?

I wouldn’t say my college age was the time of conception for the Peace Corps. I was much younger, perhaps high school, when I first thought it would be interesting to join. I’ve always had a desire for adventure and to travel. I think the more likely cause was my desire to be a writer as a youth. It never seemed possible to do so without exploring and living life, without finding out what it was like to see another culture, or to watch stories unravel. Most fictional stories are a re-doctoring, re-configuring of real life. You can’t write or talk about life unless you live it.

Can you tell me about the work you are doing in Morocco? What is the goal of your service? 

Work in the Peace Corps is pretty ambiguous, which is what I love about it. I don’t have a boss constantly breathing down my neck, asking what I am doing, telling me to switch gears, goals or direction. When I wake up in the morning I decide the trajectory of my day and the goal for my work.

A majority of the Moroccan population, somewhere around 25 percent, I think, is 25 and younger. Then, factor in that employment is down in Morocco, and you have a lot of youth, 25 and younger, who have a lot of extra time on their hands. I work mostly through the Dar Chebab, which translates to “Youth Development.” However, I do work outside the Dar Chebab for other projects.

Usually, the plan after graduation is to get a job, move out, get married, etc. Why is joining the Peace Corps an alternative post-graduation option that students should consider?

The nature of your question, in my mind, is the answer. If that is what a person really wants then, by all means, they should do these things and be happy about it. However, I think it’s important for any person to think outside of the box when deciding upon the rest of their life. The employment rate in America is low, and I hear all the time about the lack of jobs available. A very expensive college degree does not ensure a job, not like it used to. Even in cases of specialty degrees like pharmaceuticals and speech pathology, there is a lot of job competition where an applicant would largely benefit from “Returned Peace Corps Volunteer” on their application.

On another note, I feel the Peace Corps has made me a better American and made me much more grateful for what I have and given me a deeper understanding of my country and culture. I’m a firm believer that you can’t truly understand something until you have stepped outside of it and looked in or viewed it from another culture.

One Response

  1. Joanne Roll

    Could you describe in more detail exactly what it is you do. What kinds of requests to you get from the young people with whom who work? What are their problems, besides unemployment?


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