Difference between pages "Training in the Eastern Caribbean" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in the Eastern Caribbean"

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{{Training_by_country}}
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{{FAQs by country}}
Pre-service training (PST) is seven weeks in length and begins with the arrival of a new group of trainees, once a year. Phase One of PST, the first three weeks, is conducted on St. Lucia, where Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean headquarters is located.. Phase Two of PST takes place on the island nation of assignment and lasts four weeks.  During the entire training period and for two weeks after swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will live with a homestay family. Qualification for Peace Corps service is determined according to an established set of competencies and upon successful completion of PST. After seven weeks of PST, trainees are sworn-in as Volunteers and are expected to serve 24 months from that date.
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===How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to the Eastern Caribbean? ===
  
Pre-service training in the Eastern Caribbean is a unique and challenging opportunity that requires your active and full participation. There are two interrelated goals. First, training is designed to provide you with the basic cross-cultural, technical, language, behavior norms, and health and personal safety skills necessary to live and work effectively as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Second, training is a mutual assessment process, whereby you will have the responsibility to assess whether Peace Corps service is the right thing for you at this point in your life. At the same time, Peace Corps staff will assess your suitability to provide the Eastern Caribbean with Volunteers who are effective and qualified.  
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Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits.  The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ authorized baggage allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined linear dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.  
  
During the last week of training in St. Lucia, you will be assigned to serve in one of the six Eastern Caribbean island nations. Peace Corps staff will make site assignment decisions by matching your skills, knowledge, personality, and medical status with the needs of a particular community, not on the basis of your personal preferences. You should expect to serve anywhere in the Eastern Caribbean, including rural areas on the more remote islands. When you accept our invitation to serve in the Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean, you are agreeing to serve in any of the six main islands and in any one of the smaller islands, such as Barbuda, Nevis, and Carriacou, which are also part of the region.  
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Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.  
  
===Training Model ===
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===What is the electric current in the Eastern Caribbean? ===
  
Our training has been designed with the following two goals in mind: (1) to assist you in developing the skills that will make you a self-sufficient Volunteer in your new environment by learning to access resources and information, engage safely and communicate easily with your communities, and adjust to cultural differences; and (2) to equip you to work as a partner in change with your community to accomplish its goals in accordance with the Peace Corps’ project framework.  To meet these goals, training uses both competency-based and community-based training models. Your training activities have been designed to facilitate learning information and acquiring skills that will allow you to carry out the tasks outlined in the project framework and meet competencies in safety and security, health, personal behavior, culture, language, and technical areas. Additionally, the community-based training (CBT) model incorporates coaching, demonstration, and self learning. CBT focuses on individual autonomy where trainees are expected to take responsibility for their own learning. You will participate in field facilitated sessions and carry out self-directed activities on your own or with assistance from your community support network, including your homestay family.  
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It is 220 volts. If you have U.S. electronic items, then you must use a step-down transformer. The islands experience power surges and occasional power cuts, so bring along a good surge protector.  
  
===Technical Training ===
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===How much money should I bring? ===
  
Technical training prepares you to hone the skills that you bring, to feel confident in using your skills, and to learn new skills necessary to meet the needs of your community. Technical training will help prepare you to operate in the community development context, with specific technical topics including asset-based community development approaches, manangement tools for group dynamics, conflict managment, team building, learning methodologies for literacy, nonformal education tools, and a behavior change communication metholdogy. Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean experts facilitate most of the training program. Current Volunteers assist in facilitating some sessions on the individual island nations. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.  
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Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often, Volunteers bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, plan on bringing the amount that suits your own personal travel plans and needs.  
  
Besides training in the area of community development, technical training will include sessions on the economic and political situations in the Eastern Caribbean and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review the community development technical goals and will meet with the local agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated by the training staff throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you will need to undertake your project activities and to be a productive member of your community.
 
  
For the most part, competencies in language, personal behavior, cross-culture, health and safety and security will be incorporated within the technical training sessions. Some sessions will be stand-alone, however, to ensure that critical elements of some compentencies are addressed.
 
  
===Language Training===
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===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
  
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are important for personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, will help you integrate into your host community, and ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Our goal is to help you acquire basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop language skills more thoroughly once you are at your site. Although the language of business on most of the islands is English, many of the islands also have a second widely used language. Trainees assigned to StLucia and Dominica are taught the French-based Creole or Kweyol, which is spoken on these island nations. Volunteers going to other islands will have language sessions in the various dialects spoken there during Phase Two of pre-service training.  
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Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (which begin to accrue once you swear-in as a Volunteer). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leaveFamily and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from the country director. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance.  
  
===Cross-Cultural Training ===
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
  
Throughout your pre-service training, you will live with a host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition into life at your site. Families are thoroughly briefed and familiar with the Peace Corps’ homestay policy. They have gone through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of the pre-service training program and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in the Caribbean. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families, and maintain those bonds long after their return to the United States.  
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The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. Ultimately, Volunteers are responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. Given an increase in lost baggage during transit, we strongly encourage trainees to purchase insurance before departing from the U.S. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided during your two-day staging event, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage. Moreover, satisfactory maintenance and repair services may not be available.  
  
Cross-culture and diversity are covered to help improve your skills of perception, communication, and facilitation within the community development focus. Topics such as ”liming” with a purpose, the cycle of adjustment, comfort zone exercises, group dynamics, and gender and development will be addressed.
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===Do I need an international driver’s license?===
  
===Health Training ===
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Volunteers in the Eastern Caribbean do not need an international driver’s license. Peace Corps trainees and Volunteers are prohibited from driving. Most urban and rural travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from mini-buses to a lot of walking. Some of the routes are well-covered by public transportation, so unless it is late at night, you will be able to board a bus.
  
During pre-service training, you will be given basic health and nutrition training. You are expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all Peace Corps policies. You are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that Volunteers may encounter while in the Caribbean. Sexual health, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), harassment, nutrition, and mental health issues are among the topics covered.
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===What should I bring as gifts for Caribbean friends and my host family?===
  
===Safety Training ===
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This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient.  Some gift suggestions include: Knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.
  
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces risk in your home, at work, and while traveling. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service. There will be instruction on coping with crises and emergencies, and the regional emergency action plan will be explained and discussed.
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
===Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service ===
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Peace Corps trainees are assigned to individual sites after the first three weeks of PST. Phase Two of PST takes place on the island nation of assignment and lasts four weeks. During the entire training period and for two weeks after swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will live with a homestay family.
  
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides trainees and Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During your service, there is a minimum of three training events. Additional workshops are planned on the basis of resources and special initiatives. The titles and objectives for the minimum number of trainings are as follows:
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Once Volunteers are sworn-in, they are required to live with the same homestay family for an additional two weeks. After this time, Volunteers can get help from community partners, host family, or their associate Peace Corps director in identifying a suitable home or apartment of their own. Some Volunteers will live in small towns or in rural villages; others may live in the capital, but the farthest they will be from another Volunteer is usually 20 to 30 minutes. All housing must meet Peace Corps’ site selection criteria for safety.
  
* In-Service Training: Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language, and project development skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment after having served for three to six months.
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===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
* Mid-Service Training: Assists Volunteers in reviewing their first year, reassessing their personal and project objectives, gaining and refining skills for their second year of service, and beginning to plan for life after Peace Corps.
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* Close-of-Service Conference: Prepares Volunteers for the future after Peace Corps service and reviews Volunteers’ respective projects and personal experiences. Volunteers’ views are solicited in the planning process to ensure that their needs are adequately met.
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The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.  
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The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at Peace Corps/Washington by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2517.  
  
Remember, you are responsible for your own learning. Peace Corps training will support you by providing opportunites for gaining experience, information and resources.  
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===Can I call home from any of the island nations? ===
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Direct dialing service is available on all of the island nations.  Simply dial 1+ area code + the number. Fixed line telephone services are provided by Cable & Wireless, while three cellular carriers now operate on most of the islands. U.S. phone cards do not work here so do not bring them. You can purchase local “smart-phone” cards for local or long-distance calls.
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===Should I bring a cellular phone with me? ===
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You may bring your cellphone as long as it is compatible with the Eastern Caribbean system. This means that it must be either GSM or TDMA. It may be easier to buy the phone and service together in-country once you are assigned to an island in the Eastern Caribbean. You are encouraged to purchase a cellular phone plan that services your island of assignment.  Please note that if you bring your own cellphone, you still may have to pay up to $75 (U.S.) to get it unlocked so that you can use it in the Eatern Caribbean.
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===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? ===
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The Eastern Caribbean is modernized and computer technology is common. Each Peace Corps office is equipped with a computer for use by Volunteers, which offers Internet access. This access is limited to two hours per person per month. If you currently use e-mail, be sure to bring along all important addresses with you. Internet and e-mail access will be difficult during training, but there are Internet cafés in towns and villages that you can use in your free time.
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If you decide to bring your own computer, we recommend you insure it. Internet access is available from home and is fairly inexpensive. Volunteers sometimes find it helpful to have a computer for work.  
  
 
[[Category:Eastern Caribbean]]
 
[[Category:Eastern Caribbean]]
[[Category:Training|Eastern Caribbean]]
 

Latest revision as of 11:55, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to the Eastern Caribbean?[edit]

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps has its own size and weight limits and will not pay the cost of transport for baggage that exceeds these limits. The Peace Corps’ authorized baggage allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined linear dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.

Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their overseas assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers. This is an important safety precaution.

What is the electric current in the Eastern Caribbean?[edit]

It is 220 volts. If you have U.S. electronic items, then you must use a step-down transformer. The islands experience power surges and occasional power cuts, so bring along a good surge protector.

How much money should I bring?[edit]

Volunteers are expected to live at the same level as the people in their community. They are given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which should cover their expenses. Often, Volunteers bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, plan on bringing the amount that suits your own personal travel plans and needs.


When can I take vacation and have people visit me?[edit]

Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (which begin to accrue once you swear-in as a Volunteer). Leave may not be taken during training, the first three months of service, or the last three months of service, except in conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. Family and friends are welcome to visit you after pre-service training and the first three months of service as long as their stay does not interfere with your work. Extended stays at your site are not encouraged and may require permission from the country director. The Peace Corps cannot provide your visitors with visa or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?[edit]

The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects. Ultimately, Volunteers are responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. Given an increase in lost baggage during transit, we strongly encourage trainees to purchase insurance before departing from the U.S. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided during your two-day staging event, and we encourage you to consider them carefully. Volunteers should not ship or take valuable items overseas. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage. Moreover, satisfactory maintenance and repair services may not be available.

Do I need an international driver’s license?[edit]

Volunteers in the Eastern Caribbean do not need an international driver’s license. Peace Corps trainees and Volunteers are prohibited from driving. Most urban and rural travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from mini-buses to a lot of walking. Some of the routes are well-covered by public transportation, so unless it is late at night, you will be able to board a bus.

What should I bring as gifts for Caribbean friends and my host family?[edit]

This is not a requirement. A token of friendship is sufficient. Some gift suggestions include: Knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; or photos to give away.

Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?[edit]

Peace Corps trainees are assigned to individual sites after the first three weeks of PST. Phase Two of PST takes place on the island nation of assignment and lasts four weeks. During the entire training period and for two weeks after swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will live with a homestay family.

Once Volunteers are sworn-in, they are required to live with the same homestay family for an additional two weeks. After this time, Volunteers can get help from community partners, host family, or their associate Peace Corps director in identifying a suitable home or apartment of their own. Some Volunteers will live in small towns or in rural villages; others may live in the capital, but the farthest they will be from another Volunteer is usually 20 to 30 minutes. All housing must meet Peace Corps’ site selection criteria for safety.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?[edit]

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, you should instruct your family to notify the Office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 800.424.8580, extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at Peace Corps/Washington by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2517.

Can I call home from any of the island nations?[edit]

Direct dialing service is available on all of the island nations. Simply dial 1+ area code + the number. Fixed line telephone services are provided by Cable & Wireless, while three cellular carriers now operate on most of the islands. U.S. phone cards do not work here so do not bring them. You can purchase local “smart-phone” cards for local or long-distance calls.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?[edit]

You may bring your cellphone as long as it is compatible with the Eastern Caribbean system. This means that it must be either GSM or TDMA. It may be easier to buy the phone and service together in-country once you are assigned to an island in the Eastern Caribbean. You are encouraged to purchase a cellular phone plan that services your island of assignment. Please note that if you bring your own cellphone, you still may have to pay up to $75 (U.S.) to get it unlocked so that you can use it in the Eatern Caribbean.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access?[edit]

The Eastern Caribbean is modernized and computer technology is common. Each Peace Corps office is equipped with a computer for use by Volunteers, which offers Internet access. This access is limited to two hours per person per month. If you currently use e-mail, be sure to bring along all important addresses with you. Internet and e-mail access will be difficult during training, but there are Internet cafés in towns and villages that you can use in your free time.

If you decide to bring your own computer, we recommend you insure it. Internet access is available from home and is fairly inexpensive. Volunteers sometimes find it helpful to have a computer for work.