This article was first posted on the National Peace Corps Association.

Peace Corps is a bumpy adventure,” writes Travis Hellstrom, creator of Peace Corps 101, “but one filled with incredible friends.

Many of us joined the Peace Corps because of the incredible Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) that we met along the way.  And often much of the success we’ve had as Volunteers has been thanks to those people too.

Last month Travis Hellstrom launched a worldwide online course called Peace Corps 101 to bring those incredible people together, give them a forum to talk in real-time no matter where they might be on the planet, and collect their wisdom and enthusiasm together in one (recordable) place. It’s founded on a simple idea: alone we may go quickly but together we can go far.

After six weeks, the class finished up on May 10th and had included current applicants, recruiters, serving Volunteers, former Peace Corps staff, National Peace Corps Association staff and RPCVs from every background imaginable. Peace Corps 101 covered the entire Peace Corps experience from applying to coming home and being part of the worldwide Peace Corps family. After attending class Kevin Quigley, President of the National Peace Corps Association, wrote,

“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.”

As we wrote last month when we featured it here in our Polyglot blog, Peace Corps 101 was the first en*theos Academy course focused entirely on service with proceeds going to the Peace Corps Partnership Program and NPCA’s Global Community Fund. The class is also available for free to anyone who wanted to attend (or wants to download the entire class now that it is completed).

The idea behind Peace Corps 101 all along has been to bring the Peace Corps community into a group call and help each other through our service, whether we’re just starting or we’ve been at it for 50+ years,” writes Travis. “I joined the Peace Corps because the Volunteers and RPCVs that I met were literally some of the best people I have ever met in my entire life and bringing all those people on to a conference call has been amazing. I feel very lucky to be part of such a great group. Even though the class has finished, it will always be available for download anytime at”

And that’s just the beginning…

Moving Forward

As the class ended Travis decided to launch Peace Corps 101 Interviews hosted by en*theos Radio, where he could sit down with PCVs and RPCVs from around the world, including many of the outstanding Professors who taught in the Peace Corps 101. Our very own Molly Mattessich will be one of the first interviews to be posted.

Also, in June Travis will be launching a new course called Everyday Service where he will be talking with everyday humanitarians from around the planet about awesome ways they are changing the world. The course will feature national and international organizations like AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, the Fulbright Program and more, but also look at unconventional service, making a difference while making a profit, and the changing landscape of the new economy, social businesses, nonprofits, corporate philanthropy and much more. Like Peace Corps 101, proceeds from this class will go to service organizations around the world – only this time class participants can choose from the dozens of organizations they have represented in class.

Just as Peace Corps is an adventure filled with amazing people,” says Travis, “these courses have been a blast to organize and take part in. I’d love for you to come along for the ride.”