Difference between pages "Training in Niger" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Nicaragua"

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An intensive eight- to nine-week pre-service training program at the Peace Corps training center in Hamdallaye (about 18.5 miles, or 30 kilometers, northeast of Niamey) will prepare you and approximately 30 other Volunteers for your service in Niger. Although the amount you need to learn is vast, you should think of pre-service training as the initial step in a continuing process of learning that will last for your entire stay in Niger.
 
  
Pre-service training will include French, one of the national languages (depending on where you are assigned), cross-cultural adaptation, guidelines for personal health and hygiene, development issues, safety and security issues, community entry skills, nonformal education techniques, and a few technical skills related to your particular project. In addition to language classes, there will be hands-on activities, field trips, readings, seminars, and self-directed learning. You will live with a Nigerien family (who speak the local language you are learning) in the village of Hamdallaye for most of the training. You will spend some time in the field with experienced Volunteers to observe and learn development skills and coping strategies.
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Nicaragua? ===
  
During training, you will need to reevaluate your commitment to Peace Corps service in Niger. Participating in training is not a guarantee of becoming a Volunteer. While we fully expect you to be successful, there are definite goals and competencies you must attain before you can be sworn in as a Volunteer.  
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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’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined 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.  
  
===Technical Training ===
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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.
  
Technical training will prepare you to work in Niger by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Nigerien experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. 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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===What is the electric current in Nicaragua? ===
  
Technical training will include sessions on the general economic and political environment in Niger and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and meet with the Nigerien agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. The technical training element of pre-service training is largely introductory. You will learn more technical skills at an in-service training session that will be scheduled after you have been in your post for about three months.  
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It is 110 volts—the same as in the United States. You might want to bring a two-pronged adapter for three-pronged grounded plugs. These are available in-country should you need one.  
  
===Language Training ===
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===How much money should I bring? ===
  
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are the key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, they help you integrate into your community, and they can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Experienced Nigerien language instructors teach formal language classes five days a week in small groups of four to five people.  
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Volunteers are expected to live at a similar level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which will cover your expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit and debit cards are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs. It is recommended that credit cards and extra cash be stored in the safe at the Peace Corps office.  
  
Each Volunteer needs to become functional in a national language (Hausa, Zarma, or Tamashek). French is also important, especially for education and health Volunteers and for Volunteers who want to move into leadership positions and assignments with international and nongovernmental organizations. Keep in mind that many generations of Niger Volunteers have managed to become proficient in these languages and that you, too, are likely to do so. Self-study materials and ongoing tutoring will be available.
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===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
  
You are encouraged to review or begin to study French as soon as possible after accepting your invitation. Your local library or university language department should be able to suggest some resources. Peace Corps/ Niger in conjunction with Peace Corps/ Washington has developed a Zarma and Hausa learning tutorial that is available online at www.peacecorps.gov and can be accessed after you have accepted your invitation to serve. Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. Interested trainees are offered two nights per week of optional language tutoring. The goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop language skills further on your own. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.  
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Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). 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 your country director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.  
  
===Cross-Cultural Training ===
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance? ===
  
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Nigerien host family. This is the best way to learn about Nigeriens’ daily lives, diet, customs, and attitudes. Host families also assist in language learning and in introducing trainees to community activities. The Peace Corps takes great care in selecting the families who will host you. They understand what you will be trying to accomplish and are willing to assist you. Keep in mind that your ways are as different to them as theirs are to you. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.  
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The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase such insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided at staging. The Peace Corps encourages you to purchase personal articles insurance, and these related expenses can be deducated from your readjustment allowance. Volunteers should not take valuable items overseas without personal article insurance.  Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.  
  
Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills and understand your role as a facilitator of development. You will be exposed to topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures.
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===Do I need an international driver’s license? ===
  
===Health Training ===
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Volunteers in Nicaragua do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks or boats and lots of walking. On very rare occasions, a Volunteer may be asked to drive a sponsor’s vehicle, but this can occur only with prior written permission of the country director. Should this occur, a U.S. driver’s license will suffice.
  
Niger’s dry and dusty environment makes it difficult to maintain proper personal hygiene and health. Thus, one has to make an extra effort to remain healthy. The medical resources available are not comparable to those in the West or even in some neighboring African countries. Health can also be affected by the limited availability of fruits and vegetables in certain seasons.
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===What should I bring as gifts for Nicaraguan friends and my host family? ===
  
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you might encounter while in Niger. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.  
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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. Additional gift items are school supplies for children. You can also take photos of you and your host family during your stay, and provide them with copies.  
  
===Safety Training ===
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.  
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Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until just before completing pre-service training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with host agency counterparts. If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. There is usually one Volunteer based in each of the regional capitals. Some sites are 8 to 12 hours from Managua by public transportation; most are within 4 hours.  
  
Additional Training During Volunteer Service
 
  
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During your service, there are usually four training events. The titles and objectives are as follows:
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===How can my family contact me in an emergency? ===
  
* 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 months.
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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, 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; select option 2, then extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.  
* Regional language training: Helps Volunteers improve their language skills by focusing on regional dialects and job-related vocabulary.  
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* Midservice conference (done in conjunction with technical sector in-service): Assists Volunteers in reviewing their first year, reassessing their personal and project objectives, and planning for their second year of service.  
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* Close of service conference: Prepares Volunteers for the future after Peace Corps service and reviews their respective projects and personal experiences. The number, length, and design of these training events are adapted to Niger-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 Peace Corps staff and Volunteers.  
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[[Category:Niger]]
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===Can I call home from Nicaragua? ===
[[Category:Training|Niger]]
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The Nicaraguan telephone agency, ENITEL, has offices in most towns of more than 5,000 people and in all cities.
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International calls are very expensive, so many Volunteers call home collect or use international calling cards such AT&T, MCI, and Sprint. More and more Volunteers visit one of the many Internet cafes that offer less expensive computer-tophone services. Many training host families have telephones in their homes. If not, there is public phone access in all the training communities. It is generally free to receive calls in Nicaragua.
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===Should I bring a cellular phone with me? ===
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Cellphone coverage in the country is fairly broad. Differences in technology make many U.S. cellphones incompatible with the Nicaraguan cellular system (which utilizes a GSM network). Cellphones in Nicaragua are affordable. Should you decide that you would like a cellular phone for communication purposes, it is recommended that you purchase one locally from one of the many providers.
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===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
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Most Volunteers serving in Nicaragua do not bring their personal laptops in-country. This is an individual choice. A personal computer can be difficult and expensive to maintain given the dust, heat, and humidity. Like other expensive items, a laptop can make you a target for crime, and it is recommended that you take out personal articles insurance to cover a potential loss. Volunteers have access to computers at the Peace Corps office, at local Internet cafes, and sometimes through their host agencies.
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While some Volunteers find that having a laptop is helpful on a number of different levels, it is difficult to know what will be appropriate for your specific circumstances until you get here.  Some Volunteers suggest waiting until you are settled into your community. In these instances, family or friends or family bring down their laptop on visits to the country.
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[[Category:Nicaragua]]

Revision as of 10:23, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Nicaragua?

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’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined 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 Nicaragua?

It is 110 volts—the same as in the United States. You might want to bring a two-pronged adapter for three-pronged grounded plugs. These are available in-country should you need one.

How much money should I bring?

Volunteers are expected to live at a similar level as the people in their community. You will be given a settling-in allowance and a monthly living allowance, which will cover your expenses. Often Volunteers wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit and debit cards are preferable to cash. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs. It is recommended that credit cards and extra cash be stored in the safe at the Peace Corps office.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?

Each Volunteer accrues two vacation days per month of service (excluding training). 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 your country director. The Peace Corps is not able to provide your visitors with visa, medical, or travel assistance.

Will my belongings be covered by insurance?

The Peace Corps does not provide insurance coverage for personal effects; Volunteers are ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of their personal belongings. However, you can purchase such insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided at staging. The Peace Corps encourages you to purchase personal articles insurance, and these related expenses can be deducated from your readjustment allowance. Volunteers should not take valuable items overseas without personal article insurance. Jewelry, watches, radios, cameras, and expensive appliances are subject to loss, theft, and breakage, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.

Do I need an international driver’s license?

Volunteers in Nicaragua do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating privately owned motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks or boats and lots of walking. On very rare occasions, a Volunteer may be asked to drive a sponsor’s vehicle, but this can occur only with prior written permission of the country director. Should this occur, a U.S. driver’s license will suffice.

What should I bring as gifts for Nicaraguan friends and my host family?

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. Additional gift items are school supplies for children. You can also take photos of you and your host family during your stay, and provide them with copies.

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

Peace Corps trainees are not assigned to individual sites until just before completing pre-service training. This gives Peace Corps staff the opportunity to assess each trainee’s technical and language skills prior to assigning sites, in addition to finalizing site selections with host agency counterparts. If feasible, you may have the opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. However, keep in mind that many factors influence the site selection process and that the Peace Corps cannot guarantee placement where you would ideally like to be. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages and are usually within one hour from another Volunteer. There is usually one Volunteer based in each of the regional capitals. Some sites are 8 to 12 hours from Managua by public transportation; most are within 4 hours.


How can my family contact me in an emergency?

The Peace Corps’ Office of Special Services provides assistance in handling emergencies affecting trainees and Volunteers or their families. Before leaving the United States, 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; select option 2, then extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574. For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580.

Can I call home from Nicaragua?

The Nicaraguan telephone agency, ENITEL, has offices in most towns of more than 5,000 people and in all cities.

International calls are very expensive, so many Volunteers call home collect or use international calling cards such AT&T, MCI, and Sprint. More and more Volunteers visit one of the many Internet cafes that offer less expensive computer-tophone services. Many training host families have telephones in their homes. If not, there is public phone access in all the training communities. It is generally free to receive calls in Nicaragua.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

Cellphone coverage in the country is fairly broad. Differences in technology make many U.S. cellphones incompatible with the Nicaraguan cellular system (which utilizes a GSM network). Cellphones in Nicaragua are affordable. Should you decide that you would like a cellular phone for communication purposes, it is recommended that you purchase one locally from one of the many providers.

Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?

Most Volunteers serving in Nicaragua do not bring their personal laptops in-country. This is an individual choice. A personal computer can be difficult and expensive to maintain given the dust, heat, and humidity. Like other expensive items, a laptop can make you a target for crime, and it is recommended that you take out personal articles insurance to cover a potential loss. Volunteers have access to computers at the Peace Corps office, at local Internet cafes, and sometimes through their host agencies.

While some Volunteers find that having a laptop is helpful on a number of different levels, it is difficult to know what will be appropriate for your specific circumstances until you get here. Some Volunteers suggest waiting until you are settled into your community. In these instances, family or friends or family bring down their laptop on visits to the country.