February 9, 2003 - Hollen Enterprises: Peace Corps Training

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Reference: Training: February 9, 2003 - Hollen Enterprises: Peace Corps Training

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 1:54 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps Training

Peace Corps Training


Training Class Conducted in Arusha Training Center
Nearly everyone who joins the Peace Corps goes through some sort of training program when they first arrive in country. Typically, this training lasts from 8 - 12 weeks and consists of a heavy dose of language lessons, technical lessons, and cultural orientation. This is an extremely busy time for trainees (as Volunteers are called at this point in their career), with the occasional field trip or Volunteer visit on the weekend. In addition, there is usually homework of some sort at night. In short, trainees have very little time to themselves during this period (and when they do have some free time, the smart ones take naps).

What we might call the official agenda, the scheduled classes and other required activities mentioned above, is, alas, only part of the story here. The real "work" during pre-service training (PST) is adjusting to the country - weather, food, living conditions, and to the culture, the customs, habits, and values of the local people. Everywhere they turn, trainees have something to get used to; food they can't identify (and are supposed to eat anyway); no air conditioning (or no heat); no running (or hot) water, cold showers; outdoor toilets (or outdoors as the toilet); no electricity (or the wrong voltage); no M & M's, granola, fruit juice, sliced bread, or ice cream; no TV, movies, English books or newspapers; no shampoo, toilet paper, or Tylenol; no AA batteries, blank cassettes, scotch tape or decent pens; weather that's too hot, too cold, too humid or too wet; food that's too spicy. too bland, too rich, too little, too much or too weird; a town they know nothing about (where's the post office, the cafes; which shops carry which goods and when are they open; how do the busses and taxis work); people (quite a few of them) who don't speak English and whose language they don't speak.

The first few weeks in a new country, then, require a constant series of adjustments, either getting used to the unusual things or doing without the many things trainees can't get or do there. It might not be so bad if they were surrounded by friends and family during this period, but as it happens, friends and family are among the most prominent of the things they have to learn to do without. The trainee makes new friends in due course, but in the beginning, one feel quite alone.

Your average trainee also has some doubts during this period. What have I gotten myself into? Am I really cut out for this? This, then, is what the typical trainee is going through during the first two or three months overseas. It sounds downright grim recounted in this way - and it is something of a challenge - but it should be pointed out that it is a tremendous exciting and stimulation experience. Trainees grow by leaps and bounds as they score daily triumphs confronting and overcoming countless adversities and inconveniences. They form deep and lasting bonds with each other and they exult in their daily progress in language and figuring out how things work.

The letters trainees write home tend to be a bit contradictory, full of both the homesickness and the exhilaration that coexists during this period. Families can provide enormous support to their loved ones during this time by writing often. If you wonder about this, you should see what happens when word gets around that the mail has just arrived (usually in a vehicle from the Peace Corps office in the capital): trainees converge from everywhere; the sick are suddenly well, the lame can walk again, the missing reappear, the blind can see, and the strong, silent types melt along with everyone else.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps Training



By Lynn McIntire on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 3:39 pm: Edit Post

What are the requirements to go into the PC? Do you have to be a certain age. Does being a college grad. help? My granddaughter majored in Archaeology and Anthropology and is do the graduate from UCSD in June. Thank you, Lynn McIntire

By amber (dsl-71-034.rpt.pmt.org - on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 9:20 pm: Edit Post

Do you have to have a degree? I don't have one and have never gone to college. I have completed Job Corps and several people told me about Peace corps. Help?

By Anonymous (tulip.tpl.toronto.on.ca - on Friday, October 24, 2003 - 2:37 pm: Edit Post

I checked the Peace Corps web site(its just been changed)and most PVCs do have college degrees. Unless policy has changed, they do qualify people based on other experience like 4H and Job Corps.

Meet with a recruiter. PC takes no one seriuosly until they have.

By Anonymous (client-151-198-178-254.pthsd.k12.nj.us - on Thursday, February 08, 2007 - 7:51 am: Edit Post

Hi my name is natasha.. and I am 17 years old but will turn 18 in July of 2007! I am very interested in joining the PC and I feel like its one thing I have always wanted to take part of! The experience, helping other people, learning different languages, and understanding others cultures. I know it could be dangerous and difficult at times, but I need answers to see if I am elgible! I speak fluent spanish and portuguese, and have a near fluency in french and Italian.. I am very interested... help please? thank you

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.