"This is a challenging thing to take on," she says. "If you're going to the Peace Corps, you have to have a purpose. If you're looking to fill a gap [on a résumé], you may want to look at something else."
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For Howland, who served with the Peace Corps in Ecuador, it was a benefit to spend nearly two years in the professional world before joining the organization. "I think the more time you have out learning new things can be helpful," she says. "Depending on your situation, you may want a year or two to make sure you know this is what you want to do."
Howland, who is now working as a research assistant at Northwestern and is in the process of applying to Ph.D. programs, says that her experience with the Peace Corps has not only made her a stronger job candidate, but it's also ultimately made her a stronger person.
"I know it's funny to say something's a life-changing experience, but it was," she says. "You can't get this experience from just working or traveling abroad. It's very much a unique experience."
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