Training in Peru
Pre-service training consists of 11 weeks of instruction and practice in six major areas: Spanish language; staying healthy; safety and security; living in the Peruvian culture; the role of the Volunteer in development; and technical project training. During your training, you will live with a Peruvian family, sharing meals, language, and other activities. Classes are conducted at a training center in Santa Eulalia (about an hour east of Lima), as well as in the surrounding communities where host families live.
Pre-service training is a dynamic, intense period of learning, and you should be prepared to work hard and absorb as much as possible. By the end of training, as a prerequisite to being sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will be required to demonstrate certain competencies in each of the training areas.
Training is a time to reflect on your decision to serve as a Volunteer in Peru for the next two years of your life. We expect a strong commitment from each Volunteer. If you develop doubts during training, you will have the opportunity to discuss your feelings and options with Peace Corps staff.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. They are critical to job performance, integration into your community, and adaptation to new surroundings. Therefore, language training is at the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements to become a Volunteer.
Six days a week you will work with Peruvian language instructors in small groups. Your language training will be provided using multifaceted techniques, including classroom time, field trips, community integration activities, and other assignments outside the classroom. One of the most important learning tools is your host family; time spent interacting with them will help improve your ability to communicate in the Peruvian context.
Your level of Spanish and your site assignment will determine whether you receive instruction in an indigenous language at some point during your service. If so, it would most likely occur as in-service training. Similarly, some Volunteers receive additional Spanish training or tutoring during their service.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic health training and information. You will be expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to Peace Corps medical policies. Topics covered during training include nutrition, safe food preparation, mental health, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Safety and Security Training
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at your home, at work, and during your travels. You will learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety in all situations throughout your service.
Living with a Peruvian host family in a small community during pre-service training will help prepare you for life at your site, where you will also be living with a Peruvian family.
Peace Corps staff provide an extensive orientation to the host
families, showing them how they can help you adapt to living in Peru. Many trainees form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
In addition, you will participate in an extensive array of cross-cultural training sessions, covering Peruvian history, regional customs, and the Peruvian political structure. You will go on field trips to places of historical note and will have a chance to apply your cross-cultural knowledge through hands-on activities.
During pre-service training, you will also receive a good grounding in development theory and practice. You will have an opportunity to visit current Volunteers at their sites and observe successful ongoing projects. A series of sessions will help you understand your role as a development worker. You will build skills in areas such as community assessment and nonformal education techniques. You will learn about the role gender plays in the development process. You will participate in hands-on community development activities in communities close to the training center, under the guidance of Peace Corps/Peru trainers. About three weeks before you are sworn-in, you will have the opportunity to visit your future site, meet your future counterparts, and draft an initial work plan for the coming months.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Peru by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills that address the needs of your community and the goals of your assignment. Great emphasis is placed on learning how to transfer these skills to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer. Peace Corps staff, Peruvian experts, current Volunteers, and former Volunteers all actively participate in the training program.
Technical training will include sessions on the general economic and political environment in Peru and strategies for working within such a framework. You will learn how things get done in Peru, and will meet with Peruvian agencies that Peace Corps is collaborating with to facilitate Peru’s development. You will be supported and evaluated throughout the training so you can build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive Peace Corps Volunteer.
During your Peace Corps service, you will participate in a series of training workshops designed to further build your skills. In some cases, you will attend with a community counterpart. In other cases, the workshops are for Volunteers only.
Volunteers attend a two-day workshop about three months after swearing-in that focuses on the adjustment process to-date and on refining their work plans. Roughly three months later, Volunteers and counterparts attend a second workshop covering how to design and implement community-based projects.
Other types of workshops that may occur during a Volunteer’s term of service are sector-specific workshops in which Volunteers share best practices and learn new skills; theme-specific workshops, for example, disaster preparedness and mitigation); and language training.
Finally, about three months before a group completes its Peace Corps service, Volunteers attend a close-of-service (COS) conference, which provides an opportunity to review Volunteers’ experiences and prepare the Volunteers for the future.
The entire training curriculum is designed to be an integrated continuum, from pre-departure orientation through the COS conference. Each training activity is interrelated with all other training activities, to provide you with a complete set of skills to be an effective and productive Volunteer.