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

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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 am I allowed to bring to Ecuador?===
  
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’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches (length + width + height). The larger piece of checked luggage may not exceed 62 inches, and both pieces together may not exceed 107 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag. Keep in mind that with the exception of the initial trip to the training site, you will be responsible for transporting your luggage around Ecuador.  
  
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 Ecuador?===
  
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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The current is 110 volts, 60 cycles, the same as in the United States. Some towns, however, do not have electricity.  
  
===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 wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. ATMs are widely available in larger towns and cities.  
  
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.
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===When can I take vacation and have people visit me?===
  
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.  
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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 special situations that have been approved by the country director. 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.  
  
===Language Training===
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===Will my belongings be covered by insurance?===
  
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 St.  Lucia 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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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 personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided 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, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.  
  
===Cross-Cultural Training ===
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===Do I need an international driver’s license?===
  
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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Volunteers in Ecuador do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks and lots of walking.  
  
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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===What should I bring as gifts for Ecuadorian friends and my host family? ===
  
===Health 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 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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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be? ===
  
===Safety Training ===
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Peace Corps staff must assess your technical and language skills and finalize site selections with your counterparts prior to making a site assignment, you will have an opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. 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 usually are within two or three hours from the nearest fellow Volunteer. Some sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital.
  
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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===How can my family contact me in an emergency?===
  
===Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service ===
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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, 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, extensions, 2516, 2515, or 2525.
  
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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===Can I call home from Ecuador?===
  
* 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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Telephone service from Ecuador to the United States is generally quite good, and all of the major calling card services are available (i.e., AT&T, Sprint, and MCI). Most communities have a telephone office where you can call the United States collect or pay for the call on the spot. Very few Volunteers have phones in their homes, but many have neighbors with phones. (Note that it is not a good idea to use a neighbor’s phone with the promise to repay the phone owner later.) In larger towns internet cafes may have computers running Skype, so you may want to set up an account before coming.
* 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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===Should I bring a cellular phone with me?===
  
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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There are two major cellular phone companies in Ecuador that provide service in most of the large urban areas. While coverage is expanding, some Volunteer sites are in areas that do not have cellular service. All volunteers are required to have a cellular phone by Peace Corps Ecuador, and one will be provided during training. These phones are blocked for outgoing international calls, but can send text messages internationally.  Keep in mind that cellphones are very much in demand and that theft is an issue for any Volunteer who has a cellphone.
  
[[Category:Eastern Caribbean]]
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===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
[[Category:Training|Eastern Caribbean]]
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Because it is a major tourist destination, Ecuador is well supplied with Internet cafes. In fact, there are so many of them in Quito that prices are quite low as a result of the intense competition. In addition to e-mail services, most Internet cafes offer phone call alternatives such as Net2Phone. Peace Corps/Ecuador neither recommends nor discourages bringing a computer, but it should be made clear that computers are easily stolen, so you should purchase personal property insurance if you decide to bring one.
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[[Category:Ecuador]]

Latest revision as of 11:55, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Ecuador?[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’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches (length + width + height). The larger piece of checked luggage may not exceed 62 inches, and both pieces together may not exceed 107 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 80 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag. Keep in mind that with the exception of the initial trip to the training site, you will be responsible for transporting your luggage around Ecuador.

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 Ecuador?[edit]

The current is 110 volts, 60 cycles, the same as in the United States. Some towns, however, do not have electricity.

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 wish to bring additional money for vacation travel to other countries. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are preferable to cash. ATMs are widely available in larger towns and cities.

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

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 special situations that have been approved by the country director. 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?[edit]

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 personal property insurance before you leave. If you wish, you may contact your own insurance company; additionally, insurance application forms will be provided 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, and in many places, satisfactory maintenance and repair services are not available.

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

Volunteers in Ecuador do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles. Most urban travel is by bus or taxi. Rural travel ranges from buses and minibuses to trucks and lots of walking.

What should I bring as gifts for Ecuadorian 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 staff must assess your technical and language skills and finalize site selections with your counterparts prior to making a site assignment, you will have an opportunity to provide input on your site preferences, including geographical location, distance from other Volunteers, and living conditions. 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 usually are within two or three hours from the nearest fellow Volunteer. Some sites require a 10- to 12-hour drive from the capital.

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, 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 nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extensions, 2516, 2515, or 2525.

Can I call home from Ecuador?[edit]

Telephone service from Ecuador to the United States is generally quite good, and all of the major calling card services are available (i.e., AT&T, Sprint, and MCI). Most communities have a telephone office where you can call the United States collect or pay for the call on the spot. Very few Volunteers have phones in their homes, but many have neighbors with phones. (Note that it is not a good idea to use a neighbor’s phone with the promise to repay the phone owner later.) In larger towns internet cafes may have computers running Skype, so you may want to set up an account before coming.

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

There are two major cellular phone companies in Ecuador that provide service in most of the large urban areas. While coverage is expanding, some Volunteer sites are in areas that do not have cellular service. All volunteers are required to have a cellular phone by Peace Corps Ecuador, and one will be provided during training. These phones are blocked for outgoing international calls, but can send text messages internationally. Keep in mind that cellphones are very much in demand and that theft is an issue for any Volunteer who has a cellphone.

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

Because it is a major tourist destination, Ecuador is well supplied with Internet cafes. In fact, there are so many of them in Quito that prices are quite low as a result of the intense competition. In addition to e-mail services, most Internet cafes offer phone call alternatives such as Net2Phone. Peace Corps/Ecuador neither recommends nor discourages bringing a computer, but it should be made clear that computers are easily stolen, so you should purchase personal property insurance if you decide to bring one.