Difference between pages "Philippines" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama"

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{{CountryboxAlternative
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{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
|Countryname= Philippines
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In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with host countries, the Peace Corps is making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.  
|CountryCode = rp
+
|status = [[ACTIVE]]
+
|Flag= Flag_of_Philippines.svg
+
|Welcomebooklink = http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/phwb492.pdf
+
|Region= [[Asia]]
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|CountryDirector= [[Sonia Derenoncourt]]
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|Sectors= [[Youth]]<br> [[Education]] <br> [[Environment]]
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|ProgramDates= [[1961]] - [[1990]]<br>[[1992]] - [[Present]]
+
|CurrentlyServing= 105
+
|TotalVolunteers= 8233
+
|Languages= [[Tagalog]], [[English]], [[Visayan]], [[Ilokano]]
+
|Map= Rp-map.gif
+
|stagingdate= Aug 20 2009
+
|stagingcity= Los Angeles
+
}}
+
  
 +
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Panama, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Panama.
  
The program in the Philippines is the second oldest in the Peace Corps. It began with the arrival of 123 education Volunteers in October 1961. Since then, more than 8,000 Volunteers have served in the Philippines. In June 1990, the program was suspended because of a threat from Communist rebels; it resumed in 1992. Currently, Volunteers are addressing the country's development priorities through projects in youth, education, environment and business development.
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Outside of Panama City, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes.  The people of Panama are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.  
  
 +
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Panama, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations.  The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
  
==Peace Corps History==
+
===Overview of Diversity in Panama ===
  
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Philippines]]''
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The Peace Corps/Panama staff recognizes the adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.
  
In October 1961, the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers in the Philippines arrived to begin classroom assignments in the areas of language, mathematics, and science. Those 123 Volunteers were the second group in any Peace Corps country.
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===What Might a Volunteer Face? ===
  
Today, approximately 200 Volunteers continue to work with Filipinos to train primary, secondary, and tertiary teachers; to support organizations working with children, youth, and families at risk; to assist in the management of coastal resources, water systems, and waste management; to provide livelihood assistance; and to promote biodiversity conservation. Since 1961, more than 8,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in the Philippines, and it is the country in which the largest number of Volunteers has served.
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====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers ====
  
The fact that more than 8,000 Volunteers have served in the Philippines is significant. Filipinos tend to like Americans in general and Peace Corps Volunteers in particular. Many of the Filipinos you meet will recall with great fondness former Volunteers they have known.
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Female Volunteers may find it difficult to adapt to Panama’s male-dominated society. They may be verbally harassed or even experience physical harassment. They may not be taken seriously intellectually or in their work. They may not be able to socialize with males without giving the impression that they are flirting and may be judged differently than men for behaviors such as smoking, drinking, walking alone, or going out at night. In addition, because they are from the United States, they may be assumed to be sexually promiscuous.  Panamanians may consider it strange that female Volunteers do not spend their days cooking, cleaning, and washing.  
  
==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle==
 
  
''Main article: [[Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Philippines]]''
 
  
Your housing and site location will depend upon your assignment. For Volunteers assigned to rural areas or to small islands, housing is typically composed of hollow concrete blocks, wood, or bamboo. Education Volunteers are often assigned to towns or cities, where housing is better than in rural areas. Most houses in both rural and urban areas have running water (some with toilets that flush and others with toilets that require flushing with a pail of water) and 24-hour electricity.
+
====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ====
  
 +
African-American Volunteers may be judged as less professionally competent than Caucasian Volunteers. Despite their complexion, they may not be considered black because they come from what is considered a primarily white culture.  They may be called negro or chombo, not necessarily as derogatory terms but as the local words used to describe black people. They must be prepared to work and live with individuals who have no experience of African-American culture. And they may not receive, or be able to receive, necessary personal support from other Volunteers.
  
Trainees are required to live with a host family during pre-service training, and Volunteers are required to live with host families during their first three months at their assigned site (the families usually are identified by the local agency the Volunteer is assigned to). After this period, you may choose to continue living with your host family or move into your own dwelling. Living with a Filipino family can help you integrate into your community, provide you with a deeper understanding of the local culture, and help you become comfortable with the local language.  
+
Hispanic American Volunteers may not be perceived as being North American and may be expected to speak Spanish fluently. They may be labeled el cubano, el mexicano, etc.  because of stereotyped perceptions of other Latino cultures.  They may be expected to interact in Panamanian society with more ease than other Volunteers. They may not find other Volunteers in Panama with the same ethnic background.  
  
 +
Asian-American Volunteers may be expected to exhibit behavior Panamanians have observed in martial-arts films.  Like Hispanic Americans, they may not be considered North Americans. In addition, Panama’s historical involvement with certain Asian countries or the presence of Asian merchants in the community may have an impact on how Asian-American Volunteers are perceived.
  
==Training==
+
  
''Main article: [[Training in Philippines]]''
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====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
  
The goal of pre-service training is to provide you with the language, cross-cultural, community entry, safety and security, and personal and health management skills necessary to work effectively and live successfully at your site.
+
While in Panama, senior Volunteers may not receive necessary personal support from younger Volunteers. They may find that younger Volunteers look to them for advice and support; some seniors find this a very enjoyable part of their Volunteer experience, while others choose not to fill this role. They may not find suitable role models among the Peace Corps/Panama staff.  
  
As management changes in all Peace Corps posts at least once every 5 years, it should be noted that Pre-Service Training changes methods and policies to better suit the percieved needs of the trainees. Batch 265 (Official swear-in date, June 1st, 2006) used the training model shown below:
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Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
  
Pre-service training has three phases. Phase 1 is a one-week orientation, in which you will learn about the Peace Corps’ role in the Philippines, receive administrative and medical information, and be introduced to Peace Corps policies. Phase 2, which lasts nine weeks, includes community entry/technical skills, language, cross-cultural, safety and security, and personal and health management sessions and activities. This phase takes place both at the hub site and cluster sites in the community. Phase 3 is held three months after you have been at your site. This training focuses on enhancing your capacity to carry out the technical aspects of your role based on your assigned sector and the goals and objectives of your project plan.
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Gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers who have been “out” in the United States may feel pressure to be less open in Panama because some people view their sexual orientation as deviant or taboo. They may be hassled in the streets or in bars, and their civil liberties may be ignored. They may serve in Panama for two years without ever meeting another gay or lesbian Volunteer. Lesbians have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex (as do all women). Gay men have to deal with machismo: talk of conquest(s), heavy drinking, girl watching, and dirty jokes.
  
The training for Batch 266 (Official swear-in August 2007) is similar to that stated above, but Phases 2 and 3 have been merged into one 3 month training.
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====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
  
Here is the more recent training scheme used for Batches 271 and 272: The first phase, called Initial Orientation or Center-based training, included 2 weeks of language, technical and cultural training with all PCTs in the same location. After the first two weeks, volunteers moved to their training sites (in clusters) for approximately 8 weeks of community-based training in which each PCT lived with a host family. Both training phases also included sessions regarding matters such as health, safety and security, and Peace Corps policies and procedures. After swearing in, PCVs have various opportunities for continued language, cultural and technical trainings as well as IST and MST conferences.
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Volunteers of religions other than Christianity may be challenged or face generalizations about people of their religion. They may not be thought of as real Americans. Jews may occasionally be considered anti-Christian. Thus, some Volunteers may not feel comfortable disclosing their religion to the people in their community. Volunteers may not be able to find a suitable place of worship near their site or may find it difficult to fulfill their religion’s dietary requirements.  
  
==Health Care and Safety==
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities ====
  
''Main article: [[Health Care and Safety in Philippines]]''
+
Volunteers with disabilities may encounter people in their community who think that they always require special help and cannot function on their own. They may find that some Panamanians consider them incapable of work that requires physical exertion or less competent in professional situations.  They may be faced with frank or inconsiderate remarks concerning their disability.
  
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in the Philippines maintains a clinic with two full-time medical officers and a medical technologist, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Other medical services, such as additional testing, are available at local, Peace Corps-certified hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to the premier medical facility in the region or to the United States.
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The Peace Corps Office of Medical Services, as part of the medical clearance process, determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Panama without unreasonable risk to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Panama staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.  
  
 +
====Possible issues for Married Volunteers ====
  
==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
+
Being a married couple in the Peace Corps has its advantages and its challenges. It helps to have someone by your side to share your experience with, but there are also cultural expectations that can cause stress in a marriage. It is important to remember that you are in a foreign country with new rules and you need to be open-minded about cultural differences. For example, a married man may be encouraged by Panamanians to be the more dominant member in the relationship, be encouraged to make decisions independently of his spouse, or be ridiculed when he performs domestic tasks. A married woman may find herself in a less independent role than she is accustomed to or may be expected to perform “traditional” domestic chores such as cooking or cleaning. She may also experience a more limited social life in the community than single Volunteers (since it may be assumed that she will be busy taking care of her husband). Competition between a couple may become a difficulty, especially if one spouse learns faster than the other (e.g., language skills, job skills). There also may be differences in job satisfaction and/or different needs between spouses. Younger Volunteers may look to couples for advice and support. Married couples also are likely to be treated with more respect because the community sees marriage as a responsibility. They may be asked when they will have children.
  
''Main article: [[Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Philippines]]''
+
Please note that during training, couples may or may not live apart if they are assigned to different projects. Please consult with your placement officer if you have any questions.
  
In the Philippines, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in the Philippines.
 
  
Outside of Manila, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The Filipino people are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
+
[[Category:Panama]]
 
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* Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
+
* Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
+
* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
+
* Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
+
 
+
 
+
==Frequently Asked Questions==
+
 
+
{{Volunteersurvey2008
+
|H1r=  52
+
|H1s=  69.5
+
|H2r=  57
+
|H2s=  78.5
+
|H3r=  53
+
|H3s=  80.9
+
|H4r=  8
+
|H4s=  112
+
|H5r=  48
+
|H5s=  47.8
+
|H6r=  34
+
|H6s=  84.3
+
}}
+
 
+
''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Philippines]]''
+
 
+
* How much luggage am I allowed to bring to the Philippines?
+
* What is the electric current in the Philippines?
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* How much money should I bring?
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* When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
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* Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
+
* Do I need an international driver’s license?
+
* What should I bring as gifts for Filipino friends and my host family?
+
* Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
+
* How can my family contact me in an emergency?
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* Can I call home from the Philippines?
+
* Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
+
* Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
+
 
+
 
+
==Packing List==
+
 
+
''Main article: [[Packing List for Philippines]]''
+
 
+
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in the Philippines and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in the Philippines.
+
 
+
* General Clothing
+
* For Women
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* For Men
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* Shoes
+
* Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
+
* Kitchen
+
* Miscellaneous
+
 
+
==Peace Corps News==
+
 
+
Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by [[News | country of service]] or [[News by state|your home state]]
+
 
+
''The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.''<br><rss title=on desc=off>http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&scoring=n&q=%22peace+corps%22+%22philippines%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
+
 
+
<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/rp/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
+
 
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==Country Fund==
+
 
+
Contributions to the [https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=492-CFD Philippines Country Fund] will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Philippines. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
+
 
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==See also==
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* [[Volunteers who served in Philippines]]
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* [[Peace Corps Alumni Foundation for Philippine Development]]
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* [[Inspector General Reports]]
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* [[Pre-Departure Checklist]]
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* [[List of resources for Philippines]]
+
 
+
==External links==
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* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/bn.html Peace Corps Journals - Philippines]
+
 
+
[[Category:Philippines]] [[Category:Asia]]
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[[Category:Country]]
+

Latest revision as of 06:55, 21 May 2014

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]
In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with their host countries, Peace Corps is making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]
See also:
[[Category:{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Panama| |7}}]]

In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with host countries, the Peace Corps is making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.

Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Panama, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Panama.

Outside of Panama City, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Panama are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in Panama, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.

Overview of Diversity in Panama[edit]

The Peace Corps/Panama staff recognizes the adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

What Might a Volunteer Face?[edit]

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers[edit]

Female Volunteers may find it difficult to adapt to Panama’s male-dominated society. They may be verbally harassed or even experience physical harassment. They may not be taken seriously intellectually or in their work. They may not be able to socialize with males without giving the impression that they are flirting and may be judged differently than men for behaviors such as smoking, drinking, walking alone, or going out at night. In addition, because they are from the United States, they may be assumed to be sexually promiscuous. Panamanians may consider it strange that female Volunteers do not spend their days cooking, cleaning, and washing.


Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color[edit]

African-American Volunteers may be judged as less professionally competent than Caucasian Volunteers. Despite their complexion, they may not be considered black because they come from what is considered a primarily white culture. They may be called negro or chombo, not necessarily as derogatory terms but as the local words used to describe black people. They must be prepared to work and live with individuals who have no experience of African-American culture. And they may not receive, or be able to receive, necessary personal support from other Volunteers.

Hispanic American Volunteers may not be perceived as being North American and may be expected to speak Spanish fluently. They may be labeled el cubano, el mexicano, etc. because of stereotyped perceptions of other Latino cultures. They may be expected to interact in Panamanian society with more ease than other Volunteers. They may not find other Volunteers in Panama with the same ethnic background.

Asian-American Volunteers may be expected to exhibit behavior Panamanians have observed in martial-arts films. Like Hispanic Americans, they may not be considered North Americans. In addition, Panama’s historical involvement with certain Asian countries or the presence of Asian merchants in the community may have an impact on how Asian-American Volunteers are perceived.


Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers[edit]

While in Panama, senior Volunteers may not receive necessary personal support from younger Volunteers. They may find that younger Volunteers look to them for advice and support; some seniors find this a very enjoyable part of their Volunteer experience, while others choose not to fill this role. They may not find suitable role models among the Peace Corps/Panama staff.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers who have been “out” in the United States may feel pressure to be less open in Panama because some people view their sexual orientation as deviant or taboo. They may be hassled in the streets or in bars, and their civil liberties may be ignored. They may serve in Panama for two years without ever meeting another gay or lesbian Volunteer. Lesbians have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex (as do all women). Gay men have to deal with machismo: talk of conquest(s), heavy drinking, girl watching, and dirty jokes.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers[edit]

Volunteers of religions other than Christianity may be challenged or face generalizations about people of their religion. They may not be thought of as real Americans. Jews may occasionally be considered anti-Christian. Thus, some Volunteers may not feel comfortable disclosing their religion to the people in their community. Volunteers may not be able to find a suitable place of worship near their site or may find it difficult to fulfill their religion’s dietary requirements.

Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities[edit]

Volunteers with disabilities may encounter people in their community who think that they always require special help and cannot function on their own. They may find that some Panamanians consider them incapable of work that requires physical exertion or less competent in professional situations. They may be faced with frank or inconsiderate remarks concerning their disability.

The Peace Corps Office of Medical Services, as part of the medical clearance process, determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Panama without unreasonable risk to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Panama staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.

Possible issues for Married Volunteers[edit]

Being a married couple in the Peace Corps has its advantages and its challenges. It helps to have someone by your side to share your experience with, but there are also cultural expectations that can cause stress in a marriage. It is important to remember that you are in a foreign country with new rules and you need to be open-minded about cultural differences. For example, a married man may be encouraged by Panamanians to be the more dominant member in the relationship, be encouraged to make decisions independently of his spouse, or be ridiculed when he performs domestic tasks. A married woman may find herself in a less independent role than she is accustomed to or may be expected to perform “traditional” domestic chores such as cooking or cleaning. She may also experience a more limited social life in the community than single Volunteers (since it may be assumed that she will be busy taking care of her husband). Competition between a couple may become a difficulty, especially if one spouse learns faster than the other (e.g., language skills, job skills). There also may be differences in job satisfaction and/or different needs between spouses. Younger Volunteers may look to couples for advice and support. Married couples also are likely to be treated with more respect because the community sees marriage as a responsibility. They may be asked when they will have children.

Please note that during training, couples may or may not live apart if they are assigned to different projects. Please consult with your placement officer if you have any questions.