Training in Armenia
From Peace Corps Wiki
Overview of Pre-Service Training
Pre-service training is approximately 10 weeks long. Training takes place six days a week and may include some evening sessions. Adequate time is allowed for leisure activities and outings with your host family. You will receive instruction in the Eastern Armenian language, cross-cultural adaptation skills, Armenian history and culture, personal safety awareness, technical skills related to your project, and medical topics. You will also receive important information about the administrative side of the Peace Corps as it relates to Volunteer allowances, responsibilities, and office policies.
During training, you will live with an Armenian family in a village near the training site. This gives you the opportunity to practice your language skills and to develop cross-cultural understanding on a deeper level. Three meals a day will be provided by your host family. As mentioned earlier, host family accommodations vary depending on the community; regardless of the situation, you will live as the majority of the other members of your community.
During training, you will be evaluated on how well you adapt to the culture, learn the language, and interact with Armenians and on your degree of professionalism. The Peace Corps staff will make every effort to provide the support necessary to ensure your successful completion of training. You must meet the minimum training requirements by the end of pre-service training to be sworn in as a Volunteer.
Technical training prepares you to work in Armenia 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, Armenian 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.
Technical training will include sessions on the general economic and political environment in Armenia and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Armenian ministries and agencies that invited the Peace Corps to assist them.
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 host community, and they can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Armenian language instructors teach formal language classes in small groups of four to five people. The Armenian language is also introduced in the health, cultural, and technical components of training.
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. The goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop language skills further once you are at your site.
Prior to being sworn-in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies throughout your two years of service.
The experience of living with an Armenian host family is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families go through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Armenia. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
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 appropriate ways to enter a community and establish productive relationships, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, political structures, art, literature, and history.
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 Armenia. 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.
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces 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.
Additional Trainings 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 three training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:
- 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.
- Mid-Service Conference: Assists Volunteers in reviewing their first year, reassessing their personal and project objectives, and planning for their second year of service.
- 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 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.