Lisa Dietz... find out more about

Becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer

After graduating college, Lisa joined the Peace Corps.  After serving for several months in Bangladesh, she spent two years in Ecuador. Lisa learned about volunteering from a campus recruiter. Many people join the Peace Corps right out of college like Lisa, but Peace Corps volunteers can be adults of any age. Some people actually become Peace Corps volunteers in retirement!

If you’re thinking about joining the Peace Corps, many people share their experiences online. Here’s one person’s reflections on what she wishes she knew before joining, and check out their Instagram and tumblr for photos from volunteers around the world. Also

Special Olympics

Chances are you've heard of Special Olympics. With more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries, they are the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. It's very active here in the United States. If you're an athlete, or even been a spectator, you know the fun, sense of community, and accomplishment that come from participating in sports. You can volunteer with Special Olympics, or, like Lisa, work for them.

The relationship between the Peace Corps and the Special Olympics

The Peace Corps and the Special Olympics share a unique bond. The Special Olympics was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F. Kennedy, and the Peace Corps by her husband, Sargent Shriver, in the 1960s.  The two organizations have long enjoyed a special relationship. When Lisa worked for the Special Olympics, she noted that coming right from Peace Corps was something that was well understood by Special Olympics and something that they really valued, which was great..”

In 2011, they announced a joint collaboration to support youth and people with intellectual disabilities around the world.

Charts and data from the United Nations Refugee Agency


Today, Lisa works for HIAS, an international refugee organization, as a grant writer, similar to the work she was doing in Ecuador. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, and 21.3 million refugees. The United Nations has more information on the refugee crisis and how to get involved.

Opportunities to work in non-profits abroad

There is more than one path to finding work abroad. Lisa gained experience in grant writing and fundraising while working in Washington, D.C., then looked for a similar position with an international organization that would be abroad. Organizations and corporations that operate in multiple countries can have opportunities to relocate to another country on either a limited-term or permanent basis. The US Department of State offers some resources to find a non-profit position outside the United States. If you're not interested in relocating for the long-term, here are some tips for finding short-term work abroad. 

International Development

If you're interested in getting into international development, USAID is a good place to start to find out about what kind of work is being done. It's the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. It works in broad sectors like global health, education, environment and global climate change, and gender equality and women’s empowerment. A great deal of USAID’s work is carried out through funding other non-profits organizations’ work. When Lisa worked for the World Wildlife Fund, her work involved identifying new funding opportunities for the organization through the US government with “a big emphasis on USAID.”

Some tips for getting into international development echo Lisa's advice to follow your area of interest, whether it's agriculture, education, trade, or something else.


Read our interview with Lisa and check out her reading picks!