Kind words from our friends around the world...


"Peace Corps 101 is a tremendous idea, something that I hope will serve as a model for the kind of discussion that ought to take place among current volunteers, returnees, and those who will serve in the future - and the curious. Peace Corps is defined by its volunteers above all else, by their diversity of talents and accomplishments: just as one cannot consider the agency as primarily based in DC, one cannot fully understand Peace Corps just by the official, top-down word from Washington. Everything that the Peace Corps is - joyous, exciting, amazing, frustrating, painful, and life-changing - altogether reflects humanity at its most beautiful as well as its ugliest; Peace Corps volunteers themselves represent some of the best that the United States has to offer, in part because of the unique insight they develop over the course of service. Peace Corps 101 taps into that insight, and (I hope) allows the students to benefit from the collective wisdom of the volunteers, and gain not just a greater understanding of Peace Corps service, but indeed a better sense of Peace Corps' relevance to countries where volunteers serve, to the United States, and ultimately to the world as a whole."

Peter Treut - RPCV (Senegal 2005-09)
Peace Corps Volunteer Leader
Professor in Peace Corps 101


"Peace Corps 101 provides an innovative and informative curriculum with a first person account of one of the most powerful and transformative experiences that only a few thousand Americans have the honor to experience every year. Travis Hellstrom has developed a practical curriculum with professors from all walks of life who are united by their unique experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer. If anyone is thinking of applying to Peace Corps to be a Volunteer, Peace Corps 101 offers an open and honest account of what to expect."

Barbara Ferris - RPCV (Morocco 1980-82)
 International Women's Democracy Center
President Founder


"For Peace Corps being around for over 50 years, it's amazing to me how little PCVs, RPCVs, and posts around the globe know about each other. Imagine the inspiration we could generate, the road blocks we could jump over, and the new ideas we could cultivate if PCVs and their allies started talking more. Making this conversation happen is what helped to create Peace Corps 101. The course is thorough, creative, and full of positive energy without sugarcoating the realities of being in the Peace Corps. As with anything, there's room to grow and develop the program, but Peace Corps 101 has laid a strong foundation towards creating a intelligent and energetic group of Peace Corps enthusiasts that could only further develop the agency's community for the better. I'm excited to see where things go after a successful first semester.

Like Travis said in the course overview: "Peace Corps has been called "the toughest job you'll ever love" but you don’t have to learn that the hard way." Let's keep this up."

Amanda Wybolt - PCV Senegal (2009-12)
Stomping Out Malaria in Africa 
Volunteer Coordinator 


"Peace Corps 101 was a great opportunity to get to share about Peace Corps while sharing stories. It's almost like we systematically involved outsiders on the conversations that we would normally have with each other."

Brandon Marlow - RPCV (Mongolia 2008-10)
Peace Corps Recruiter, Peace Corps Fellow
Professor in Peace Corps 101


"I’m glad Travis is spearheading this project. I know I had many questions about Peace Corps before I joined and even after I was accepted for an assignment. I wanted to know a lot of specific things about service, pre-service, post-service, the lifestyle, differences based on geographic assignment, the choices I’d have about where in the country I’d be assigned (if I had a choice), how to handle situations I might encounter, health questions, etc. Some of these can be answered by a recruiter, but a recruiter is one person with limited time. Peace Corps 101 will represent a diversity of opinions from across the Peace Corps spectrum geographically, and will look at a range of key topic areas that will lend themselves to extended discussion as necessary – with the associate professors offering off-line “office hours” as well. The forum will allow prospective Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) to participate from anywhere in the world, and to access any lesson missed through the Peace Corps 101 website, as all lessons will be recorded. The associate professors are people who have served at many different times, and who are at different stages of their post-Peace Corps careers – so the experience, perspective, and expertise brought to bear through this forum will be significant. I am one of them, and look forward to sharing my experiences in Peace Corps, and subsequently in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community."

Ariel Wyckoff - RPCV (Mongolia 2000-02) 
Board Member of Friends of Mongolia


"Congratulations, Travis! The world is lucky to have someone like you who can do the work and also help others to do it, too."

Sas CareyFounder of Nomadicare




"Participating in Peace Corps 101 during my first year of service was a really motivating and reassuring experience. It was encouraging to hear that other volunteers faced similar triumphs and challenges, despite serving in very different sites. The classes on transitioning back to America were especially helpful for me! The course really helped me to feel like a part of the Peace Corps family and has inspired me to stay involved with other RPCV’s when I return to America in a year."

Bonnie Nelson - Peace Corps Volunteer, AmeriCorps Alum
Founder of Everyday Service


"Lots of people talk about getting all Peace Corps Volunteers connected on a phone call, and Peace Corps 101 led by Travis Hellstrom actually did it. It goes to show that one person can make a difference! The National Peace Corps Association is thrilled to be a partner of this important program. Personally, I loved hearing the voices of people that I had only connected with on social media or over email. Having a live conversation really matters."

Molly Mattessich - RPCV (Mali 2002-04)
Manager of Online Initiatives and Africa Rural Connect
National Peace Corps Association


"In an exemplary Peace Corps fashion, in Peace Corps 101 Travis Hellstrom has wedded together an innovative on-line platform and the traditional volunteer passion to make a difference into an invaluable resource for serving and returned Peace Corps volunteers. The entire Peace Corps community owes Travis an enormous debt for this outstanding example of "continuing to serve."

Kevin F. F. Quigley - RPCV (Thailand 1976-79)
President of the National Peace Corps Association


"I thought Peace Corps 101 was an excellent way to document the complete Peace Corps experience. The class brought together a wide variety of volunteers (invitees, current, newly returned, and veteran volunteers) which adding the depth needed to fully describe and showcase the Peace Corps experience. The format of the class allowed the hundreds of individual stories to be heard and aggregated them to timeless advice and words of wisdom everyone can appreciate and use. I throughly enjoyed the class and am glad I had an opportunity to appreciate. I'm a RPCV living in Boston with my Honduran dog and cat. I'm volunteered as a Professor during Peace Corps 101 but my day job is working for a technology company in Sales and Marketing. I'm currently training for my first marathon :) I love Peace Corps and it was experience I'll never forget."

Vanessa Porter - RPCV (Honduras 2008-10)
Professor in Peace Corps 101


"I know that I (and my parents) would have loved it if Peace Corps 101 had been around when I was going through the application process. It was an excellent course, with useful information for applicants, PCVs, and even RPCVs like myself! Though not the same young idealist I was when I applied for Peace Corps, I still very much believe in the Peace Corps "dream". I feel that with every new group of volunteers Peace Corps is getting closer to making that dream a reality, and I like to think that in some small way I am helping. I also dream of one day convincing my dear husband to get his U.S. Citizenship so we can serve together in the Peace Corps when our son is grown!"

Cassandra Weiner - RPCV (Mongolia 2007-09)
Professor in Peace Corps 101


"Although I was a "Professor" in Peace Corps 101, I got at least as much as I gave. Another great job Travis (I am a big fan of Travis)! A little about me... I am 60 years old - oops, 61 in 9 days! My background is a sales and marketing manager for Fortune 500 companies back in the day - the first woman promoted to management in Shell Chemical. My dream since 1962 was to join the Peace Corps. Even at 60 years old, the Peace Corps changed my life to its core. I was assigned to an NGO which sounded good, but appearances were not what they seemed. Their mission was religious and insular while my interests and Peace Corps' focus was on community partnerships for improvements in education and organization. Cultural and religious clashes ensued, and I 'gave up' more times than I ever have before. But I always returned to try again. Thankfully, the Peace Corps recognized that it wasn't working and allowed me to serve the Chamber of Commerce with a more goal-oriented outlook. There, I had remarkable experiences and incredible successes that capitalized on my skills. With input, I composed business plans and strategies and helped them form NGOs with the legal documentation needed. I formed a great network of friends in the community and was really amping up when I needed to be transported back to California for medical treatment. My fervent wish is to complete treatment and be returned to service before the end of the year. And, of course to participate in strategic projects that help not only the Peace Corps, but the phenomenal missions that many of us begin following service. "

Debra Pritchard - RPCV (Philippines 2010-12)
Professor in Peace Corps 101