Volunteer Teacher Benefits
In addition to your regular salary, peace corps volunteer teachers also get time off (leave) and housing provided.
Time off as a Volunteer Teacher
Peace Corps volunteers accrue 48 hours of personal leave time per month. You can “bank” this travel. During Ukraine service, I went home to America for a week and spent several vacations in Eastern Europe. Volunteers use this time to travel within and outside of their country of service. Travel policies vary from post to post – in my experience, it was very easy to mix business and pleasure while traveling within country, and thus not have to use my personal leave.
In some countries, there are travel restrictions, often directed by the US State Department. I had wonderful travel experiences in and out of country while a Peace Corps volunteer. But I was always reminded that being a Peace Corps volunteersis a 24/7 assignment. Neighbors will visit you. Colleagues will chat with you in the street. Children will want to play “futbol” with you. Even during your time off, as a volunteer teachers you must always remember you’re still representing the Peace Corps mission and the USA.
Yes, some Peace Corps volunteers live in huts in the jungle. But as Peace Corps projects have moved into urban areas during the past 20 years, more and more volunteers are living in “modern” housing (albeit “modern” by developing world standards). All volunteers live with a host family from anywhere from a few months to their entire 27- month assignment. (Though in most countries, you do eventually live on your own.) The Peace Corps philosophy is that volunteers should live in the same kind of housing and environment as your host country colleagues.
In Ukraine, I lived in a fifth-floor flat in Soviet-style concrete building. My apartment was large, cozy and furnished. In theory, there was heat and electricity – in reality, not so much. The same was true 10 years later in Albania, where the electricity and water supply was even more irregular. In both places, I walked flights of stairs in the dark, took bucket showers, read by candlelight, and sometimes wore a hat and gloves during the winter. That said, I recognized that my situations were comfortable compared with other volunteers. Because I lived in a large and modern city in Albania, I was the rare volunteer with wireless internet access.