Where Do Peace Corps Volunteers Live?

Robert Goetschke

March 10, 2023

Peace Corps Volunteers live and work in communities across the world. They serve on people-to-people public service and citizen diplomacy initiatives in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, and youth development.

Volunteers are expected to live with host families during their pre-service training before moving to their sites. This is a critical element of cultural immersion, helping to improve language skills and the adaptation process.


Peace Corps Volunteers often live in cities, working with local communities, schools, small businesses and entrepreneurs. They help to build links and connections among people of different cultures and backgrounds.

While in a city, Volunteers may live with a host family or on their own and have access to amenities such as electricity, running water, and bathrooms. Depending on the country, they often have access to cell phone coverage.

For example, as a youth development volunteer, Samantha Druckman lived in a small Moroccan city called Bejaad for three years. There she taught English, helped young people gain life skills, and worked on a project focusing on gender equality.

Besides cities, Peace Corps Volunteers also work in rural communities where they build community relationships and help with education and healthcare projects. They also serve in environmental programs, assisting with conserving natural resources and promoting sustainable agriculture.

Rural Communities

Peace Corps Volunteers live in tiny village homes in rural communities with little to no modern conveniences. They use solar panels for electricity and rely on community wells for water. Many of these villages have no cell phone coverage, and Volunteers are issued satellite phones for emergency communications.

While living in a rural village, Volunteers may have to cook on an open fire or over a traditional wood-burning stove. Food preparation and consumption vary according to the region and season, and access to fresh produce may be limited.

Often, Volunteers supplement their diet with rice and corn “pate,” with various leaf and peanut sauces; vegetables such as okra, eggplant, and tomatoes; fish and other seafood; and meat, cheese, and beans. Locally available fruits and nuts are also used to add flavour and variety to meals.

Social activities vary by site, but some volunteers visit their neighbours’ fields or cattle posts, and others enjoy cultural festivals, sporting events, or weddings in larger towns. Men, especially, often drink at local bars.


Peace Corps Volunteers can live in a town or a rural community. The choice depends on the project and the country. Volunteers live in shared housing with a host family in towns for anywhere from a few months to their entire 27-month assignment. This allows them to experience the culture, develop a lasting bond with the family, and build their language skills.

Most volunteers in Togo live within family compounds, where they have two to three-room houses and a shared kitchen/bathroom area. Communal living is integral to the Togolese culture and provides volunteer opportunities to interact with local families in a safe environment.

Some communities are located along dirt roads that can be difficult to access by vehicle, and Volunteers rely on public transportation (bush taxis) to travel to their sites. Depending on the distance, Volunteers may be provided with a bicycle or a mountain bike to help with short-distance travel.


Volunteers live in tiny brick houses with tin or thatched roofs villages. They often do not have electricity or running water, and they fetch their drinking water from a nearby pump. They also use an outdoor pit latrine to dispose of waste.

Many Peace Corps Volunteers choose to serve in self-sufficient eco-villages that strive to preserve the environment. These communities generate power from solar panels and grow crops without pesticides, which is good for the planet.

Villages offer a variety of recreational activities, including birding and hiking. They are a great place to meet others and enjoy the fresh air.

Upon arrival to their community, Volunteers spend several months proactively learning about and intentionally integrating into their communities. Through collaborative, participatory activities, they develop relationships with community members and work with their counterparts to uncover community needs and development priorities.