Where Do Volunteers for the Foreign Service Live?

Robert Goetschkes
3 min readMar 10, 2023


Volunteers in the Peace Corps live and serve in communities throughout the globe. In sectors like agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth development, they participate in public service and citizen diplomacy activities.

Before going to their destinations, volunteers are expected to reside with host families for their pre-service training. This is a crucial aspect of cultural immersion that helps enhance language abilities and the process of adaption.

Volunteers in the Peace Corps frequently reside in urban areas, working with local communities, schools, small companies, and entrepreneurs. They facilitate the formation of ties and bonds between individuals of various cultures and origins.

Volunteers in a city may live with a host family or independently and have access to utilities such as electricity, running water, and restrooms. Depending on the country, they frequently have cell phone reception.

For instance, Samantha Druckman served as a youth development volunteer for three years in the small Moroccan city of Bejaad. There, she taught English, assisted young people in gaining life skills, and worked on a gender equality-focused initiative.

In addition to urban areas, Peace Corps Volunteers serve in rural villages, forming relationships and assisting with education and health initiatives. Also, they participate in environmental activities, aiding in preserving natural resources and supporting sustainable agriculture.

Peace Corps Volunteers reside in rural villages in isolated dwellings with few modern amenities. They rely on solar panels for power and communal wells for water. Several of these towns lack cell phone service; thus, satellite phones are supplied to volunteers for emergency communications.

Volunteers living in a rural community may be required to cook over an open fire or traditional wood-burning stove. Regional and seasonal differences affect food preparation and consumption, and the availability of fresh produce may be limited.

Volunteers frequently supplement their diets with rice and corn “pate” with different leaf and peanut sauces; vegetables include okra, eggplant, and tomatoes; fish and other shellfish; and pork, cheese, and beans. Moreover, regionally accessible fruits and nuts provide taste and diversity to dishes.

Some volunteers visit their neighbours’ farms or cattle stations, while others attend cultural festivals, athletic events, or weddings in larger towns. Particularly men frequent local taverns.

Peace Corps Participants have the option of residing in urban or rural communities. The selection is dependent on the project and country. In urban areas, Volunteers share lodgings with a host family for anything from a few months and the whole of their 27-month mission. This lets kids experience the culture, form a lifelong link with the family, and improve their language abilities.

Most volunteers in Togo reside in family compounds with two- to three-room homes and communal kitchen and bathroom areas. The importance of communal living in Togolese culture allows volunteers to meet with local families securely.

Volunteers rely on public transit (bus taxis) to go to their work areas because some settlements are located along dirt roads that are difficult to access by automobile. Volunteers may be given a bicycle or mountain bike for short-distance travel, depending on the distance.

Volunteers reside in tiny brick homes with tin or thatched roofs villages. They obtain their drinking water from a nearby pump since they frequently lack electricity and running water. They also utilize an outside pit latrine for waste disposal.

Many Peace Corps Volunteers prefer to serve in eco-villages, which are self-sufficient and committed to environmental preservation. These villages produce electricity from solar panels and cultivate food without pesticides, benefiting the environment.

Villages provide a range of leisure opportunities, such as birdwatching and hiking. These are beautiful places to meet new people and enjoy the outdoors.

Volunteers spend several months proactively learning about and integrating themselves into their communities upon arrival. Through collaborative, participatory activities, they build relationships with community residents and collaborate with their counterparts to identify community needs and choose development objectives.



Robert Goetschkes

Robert Goetschke is a man of many talents and accomplishments. He grew up in the suburban NYC community of Mahopac.