Difference between pages "Packing list for Thailand" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic"

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{{Packing lists by country}}
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{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are 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.
  
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[Thailand]] 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 we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. Although you can get almost everything you need in Thailand, underwear, clothes and shoes in larger sizes may be hard to find here.  
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Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In the Dominican Republic, 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 Dominican Republic.  
  
One strategy is to pack a box or two with items you probably will not need until after training and arrange for someone to send the boxes to you by once you get to your site. USPS no longer has surface shipping (slow and cheap) so shipping a box will cost about $45-60 (USPS flat rate boxes, 0-20 lbs.).
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Outside of the Dominican Republic’s capital and tourist centers, 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.  
  
Riap roiy (appropriate and complete) professional dress for men consists of nondenim pants such as chinos or Dockers, collared shirts (long- or short-sleeved button-down shirts or polo shirts) in conservative colors and patterns, and casual dress shoes. Professional dress for women consists of nice pants, knee-length or longer dresses or skirts and blouses. A slip or camisole should be worn under sheer material, and blouses should have sleeves and modest necklines. If a dress is not form-fitting, people may ask you if you are pregnant, so wearing a belt is recommended. Revealing one’s upper thighs, stomach, shoulders, and cleavage is generally frowned upon, even outside a work setting. All clothing should be clean and neatly pressed. Note that all-black outfits are generally worn only while in mourning.  
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The people of the Dominican Republic are 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. In particular, there are still subtle to overt forms of racial discrimination that are seen on a regular basis towards darker-skinned persons due to the historical tensions between Dominicans and Haitians.  
  
For both men and women, T-shirts and jeans are fine to wear after hours, and shorts (preferably ones that reach the knee) are fine to wear when working out. Thais do not generally wear shorts in public except in very relaxed situations. Tank tops are not recommended for women. When you are in your own home, however, what you wear is up to you. '''For a current discussion about packing and volunteer life in Thailand visit the Peace Corps Thailand Group 124 Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/144164488997096?ap=1'''
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To ease the transition and adapt to life in the Dominican Republic, 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.  
  
===General Clothing ===
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===Overview of Diversity in the Dominican Republic===
  
* Two or three pairs of lightweight pants (jeans can be hot)
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The Peace Corps staff in the Dominican Republic recognizes 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.
* Two or three pairs of knee-length shorts
 
* Four to seven short-sleeve shirts
 
* Sweatshirt, fleece top, or sweater (it can get chilly in the cold season)
 
* One medium weight jacket
 
* One windbreaker or light raincoat  (Thais use an umbrella for rain)
 
* Three to five pairs of socks
 
* Athletic clothes—if you work out
 
* Baseball cap or other hat
 
  
===For Women ===
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===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
  
* Four or five work outfits (see description above)
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====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
* Two to three dress belts
 
* Four or five casual shirts (tee or polo)
 
* Four or five casual pants, capris, or long shorts
 
* Bathing suit (a one-piece or tankini is best)
 
* Ample underwear in breathable fabrics. If you wear a bra with larger cup size (C to D+) consider bringing extras.
 
  
===For Men ===
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Female Volunteers should know that Dominican society has elements of machismo. Men often hiss and make comments to women walking by, and women must learn to deal with this by completely ignoring men who behave in this way. Most female Volunteers never fully accept this sexual harassment, but, rather, develop a tolerance within which they are able to function effectively. Dating for American women in the Dominican Republic is also a sensitive subject. The Dominican culture follows its own guidelines as relates to male-female relationships; for example, female Volunteers who live alone should not invite males into their home unless they have intentions of beginning a serious relationship with the man. 
  
* Five or six dress shirts
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
* Four or five casual dress pants
 
* Two or three pairs of lightweight pants (jeans can be hot) 
 
* Two or three pairs of knee-length shorts
 
* One or two neckties
 
* One or two belts (one dress)
 
* Underwear (cotton is recommended)
 
* Bathing trunks (Speedo-style swimsuits are not recommended)
 
  
Shoes (Note: It is customary and expected that shoes are removed before entering a house and some offices (including the Peace Corps Office in Bangkok. Lace-up shoes and boots are not recommended.)
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In rural sites and even in some cities, Volunteers are usually the only foreign resident and receive extra attention, especially because of their racial or ethnic background.  Volunteers in certain areas of the country are more prone to racial discrimination than others. African-American Volunteers in the northwest or near the Haitian border, for example, may be asked for their passports. Most Volunteers of color say that despite initial confusion regarding their nationality and discrimination, they are well-received in their communities.  
* One pair of dress shoes (loafer style for men and pumps or low heel closed toe shoes with back strap for women) for work and on occasions such as meetings with government officials, funerals, your swearing in ceremony, etc.)
 
* One pair of sport sandals (e.g., Tevas)
 
* One pair of athletic shoes
 
* One or two pairs of slip-on shoes (you will often have to take off your shoes before entering a building)
 
  
===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items ===
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African-American Volunteers may face some unique challenges. They are sometimes mistaken for Dominicans or Haitians. If seen as Dominican, this can lead to an expectation of Spanish fluency; if seen as Haitian, it can result in poor treatment by Dominicans. African-American Volunteers should be prepared to face mild cases of discrimination and racism. However, Volunteers should remain open-minded and calm. Many of these situations are due to lack of education and the history of the Dominican Republic.  On the other hand, misidentification with black ethnic groups other than Haitians, such as members of the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean population, may lead to faster acceptance.  Female African-American Volunteers should also be prepared to face issues concerning their hair. The straightness of a woman’s hair is considered an important quality by many.  Though natural hairstyles are accepted, they are not as highly looked upon as straight hair. Relaxers, usually manufactured locally, are available for Volunteers who wish to use them. US brand name hair products may be available but they may be more expensive.
  
* Contact lens supplies (these are available in larger cities)
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Hispanic American Volunteers may be surprised to find that some Dominicans are unaware that not all Hispanic Americans are of Mexican origin. Because there is a small population of Dominicans of South Asian descent, some Asian-American Volunteers have been misidentified as Dominicans, especially in urban areas.
* Tampons (local selection is limited)
 
* Athletic supports and braces if you need them
 
* Universal sink stopper (for washing clothes in the sink when traveling)
 
* Travel towel (towels are readily available here, but you may want a travel towel that is compact and packable)
 
  
===Miscellaneous ===
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====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers====
  
* Laptop, notebook or netbook (either PC or Mac) - this is almost a necessity for PST - all the resources they give you are in digital form
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Approximately 5 percent of Volunteers in the Dominican Republic are seniors. The vast majority of other people in the Peace Corps community are in their 20s. Service in the Dominican Republic can present significant social and logistical issues for senior Volunteers. Dealing with family emergencies, maintaining lifelong friendships, and arranging power of attorney for financial matters may be more problematic for older Volunteers than younger ones. Still, senior Volunteers find Dominicans, the Peace Corps staff, and fellow Volunteers to be very welcoming.
* Camera
 
* eBook reader
 
* iPod-type device (with microphone for recording)
 
* USB storage - for copying and sharing files
 
* Portable hard drive to store movies
 
* Small backpack or bag for weekend travel
 
* Guidebook about Thailand (e.g., Lonely Planet)
 
* Maps of the U.S. and Thailand
 
* Three-month supply of prescription medications
 
* Second pair of prescription eyeglasses
 
* Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
 
* Small flashlight or headlamp
 
* Games (e.g., Scrabble and Uno)
 
* Photos of your life in the United States to show to Thai friends - Thais love looking at photos!
 
* Souvenirs from home to give as gifts (e.g. magazines coins, postcards, stamps, cool pens, etc.)
 
* Plug adapter (type C: europe). Most outlets accept american flat-pronged plugs but in case you travel out side the country. Most electronics are now 110-240v but check each device you bring to be sure. If it is 110 only you will need a voltage converter as well.
 
* Collapsible umbrella
 
* Contact information for resources in America (former employers, school loan information, colleges, organizations, etc.), which can useful for obtaining materials during service or for applying for jobs near the end of service
 
* Credit card (Visa is the most widely accepted), ATM card, and/or traveler’s checks
 
  
[[Category:Thailand]]
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====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers====
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Homosexual or bisexual Volunteers are not able to express their sexual orientation as openly as they may have in the United States because of cultural differences and machismo in the Dominican Republic. Because of prejudice against homosexuals in Dominican society, it is wise to know your community and co-workers well before disclosing your sexual orientation.
 +
 
 +
While there are certainly homosexuals in the Dominican Republic, they do not have the level of acceptance found in much of the United States. Although some Dominicans consider homosexuality immoral, their view of homosexuality among foreigners may be quite different from their view of homosexuality among nationals. Styles of hair and clothes and earrings on men may be considered inappropriate by Dominicans.
 +
 
 +
Most Dominican homosexuals probably have migrated to larger cities, but many Peace Corps Volunteers are posted in small communities. Relationships with homosexual or bisexual host country nationals can happen, but as with other cross-cultural relationships, they may not be easy. 
 +
 
 +
====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers====
 +
 
 +
Volunteers are frequently asked about their religious affiliation and may be invited to attend a community church. Volunteers not in the practice of attending church may be challenged to explain their reluctance, but it is possible to politely decline if the church or religion is not one of your choice. Most Volunteers find effective ways to cope with this and feel quite at home in the Dominican Republic.
 +
 
 +
====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities====
 +
 
 +
As a disabled Volunteer in the Dominican Republic, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. In the Dominican Republic, as in other parts of the world, some people may hold prejudicial attitudes about individuals with disabilities and may discriminate against them. What is more, there is very little of the infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities that has been developed in the United States.
 +
 
 +
As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, to perform a full tour of Volunteer service in the Dominican Republic without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/ Dominican Republic staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in training, housing, job sites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.
 +
 
 +
====Possible Issues for Married Volunteers====
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 +
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. A couple may have to take on some new roles.
 +
 
 +
A married man may be encouraged by Dominicans 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.
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[[Category:Dominican Republic]]

Latest revision as of 12:02, 23 August 2016

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |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 Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |7}}]]
See also:
[[Category:{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Dominican Republic| |7}}]]

In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are 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 the Dominican Republic, 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 Dominican Republic.

Outside of the Dominican Republic’s capital and tourist centers, 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 the Dominican Republic are 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. In particular, there are still subtle to overt forms of racial discrimination that are seen on a regular basis towards darker-skinned persons due to the historical tensions between Dominicans and Haitians.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in the Dominican Republic, 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 the Dominican Republic

The Peace Corps staff in the Dominican Republic recognizes 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?

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers

Female Volunteers should know that Dominican society has elements of machismo. Men often hiss and make comments to women walking by, and women must learn to deal with this by completely ignoring men who behave in this way. Most female Volunteers never fully accept this sexual harassment, but, rather, develop a tolerance within which they are able to function effectively. Dating for American women in the Dominican Republic is also a sensitive subject. The Dominican culture follows its own guidelines as relates to male-female relationships; for example, female Volunteers who live alone should not invite males into their home unless they have intentions of beginning a serious relationship with the man.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color

In rural sites and even in some cities, Volunteers are usually the only foreign resident and receive extra attention, especially because of their racial or ethnic background. Volunteers in certain areas of the country are more prone to racial discrimination than others. African-American Volunteers in the northwest or near the Haitian border, for example, may be asked for their passports. Most Volunteers of color say that despite initial confusion regarding their nationality and discrimination, they are well-received in their communities.

African-American Volunteers may face some unique challenges. They are sometimes mistaken for Dominicans or Haitians. If seen as Dominican, this can lead to an expectation of Spanish fluency; if seen as Haitian, it can result in poor treatment by Dominicans. African-American Volunteers should be prepared to face mild cases of discrimination and racism. However, Volunteers should remain open-minded and calm. Many of these situations are due to lack of education and the history of the Dominican Republic. On the other hand, misidentification with black ethnic groups other than Haitians, such as members of the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean population, may lead to faster acceptance. Female African-American Volunteers should also be prepared to face issues concerning their hair. The straightness of a woman’s hair is considered an important quality by many. Though natural hairstyles are accepted, they are not as highly looked upon as straight hair. Relaxers, usually manufactured locally, are available for Volunteers who wish to use them. US brand name hair products may be available but they may be more expensive.

Hispanic American Volunteers may be surprised to find that some Dominicans are unaware that not all Hispanic Americans are of Mexican origin. Because there is a small population of Dominicans of South Asian descent, some Asian-American Volunteers have been misidentified as Dominicans, especially in urban areas.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers

Approximately 5 percent of Volunteers in the Dominican Republic are seniors. The vast majority of other people in the Peace Corps community are in their 20s. Service in the Dominican Republic can present significant social and logistical issues for senior Volunteers. Dealing with family emergencies, maintaining lifelong friendships, and arranging power of attorney for financial matters may be more problematic for older Volunteers than younger ones. Still, senior Volunteers find Dominicans, the Peace Corps staff, and fellow Volunteers to be very welcoming.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers

Homosexual or bisexual Volunteers are not able to express their sexual orientation as openly as they may have in the United States because of cultural differences and machismo in the Dominican Republic. Because of prejudice against homosexuals in Dominican society, it is wise to know your community and co-workers well before disclosing your sexual orientation.

While there are certainly homosexuals in the Dominican Republic, they do not have the level of acceptance found in much of the United States. Although some Dominicans consider homosexuality immoral, their view of homosexuality among foreigners may be quite different from their view of homosexuality among nationals. Styles of hair and clothes and earrings on men may be considered inappropriate by Dominicans.

Most Dominican homosexuals probably have migrated to larger cities, but many Peace Corps Volunteers are posted in small communities. Relationships with homosexual or bisexual host country nationals can happen, but as with other cross-cultural relationships, they may not be easy.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers

Volunteers are frequently asked about their religious affiliation and may be invited to attend a community church. Volunteers not in the practice of attending church may be challenged to explain their reluctance, but it is possible to politely decline if the church or religion is not one of your choice. Most Volunteers find effective ways to cope with this and feel quite at home in the Dominican Republic.

Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities

As a disabled Volunteer in the Dominican Republic, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. In the Dominican Republic, as in other parts of the world, some people may hold prejudicial attitudes about individuals with disabilities and may discriminate against them. What is more, there is very little of the infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities that has been developed in the United States.

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

Possible Issues for Married Volunteers

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. A couple may have to take on some new roles.

A married man may be encouraged by Dominicans 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.