Training in Jordan
Training is an essential part of your Peace Corps service. Pre-service training will provide you with the support, information, and opportunities to enable you to live and work effectively in Jordan. We will build upon the experiences and expertise you bring to the Peace Corps. It is important to approach training with an open mind, a desire to learn, and a willingness to become involved. Trainees officially become Peace Corps Volunteers after meeting the training competencies and requirements of pre-service training.
The 11-week training provides you the opportunity to learn new skills and practice them as they apply to Jordan. You will receive training and orientation in language, cross-cultural communication and adaptation, development issues, health and personal safety, and technical skills pertinent to your assignment. The skills you learn will serve as a foundation that you will build upon throughout your two years. You will experience local culture and customs on your own through your stay with a host family and the community-based training.
For the first few days after your arrival, you will stay at a central training facility. There you will receive vaccinations and be introduced to basic language skills and the cross-cultural adaptation process. After this initial period, trainees will be divided into village groups of five to six trainees and a language and culture facilitator and move to their village to begin community-based training. You will live with Jordanian host families and learn Arabic and Jordanian culture and focus on building technical skills. Living with your host family will be intense at times, but also one of the most rewarding aspects of your service.
Note: Married couples assigned to different projects will have to live in separate villages during training as technical training is conducted at different sites.
The goals and assessment criteria that each trainee must meet to become a Volunteer will be clearly articulated at the outset. Staff and self assessment of your performance is a continual process, characterized by a dialogue between you and training staff. During these 11 weeks, some of you may determine that two years of service in Jordan is not appropriate for you. Training staff, in consultation with permanent country staff, will work with you in making this determination by providing feedback throughout training. After successfully completing pre-service training, you will be sworn in and depart for your permanent site.
Training is intense and sometimes stressful. The best advice we can give is to maintain your sense of humor and get as much accomplished as possible. We believe all of the information and each of the experiences you encounter will be fundamental to your success as a Volunteer.
Technical training prepares you by building on the skills you already have and your ability to acquire or develop new skills in a manner appropriate to in-country realities. Pre-service training is conducted by Peace Corps staff, skilled Jordanian trainers, and current Volunteers. Training places great emphasis on your learning to be independent and resourceful within Jordan. You will also develop strategies for transferring skills to your community.
There will be targeted sessions for each project, but much of your learning will be self-directed with guidance by the training staff. On a regular basis, you will take public transportation to the training center for more structured sessions. This will allow you to benefit from guest speakers and experts and to share and reflect on your progress and experiences with trainees from the other villages. You will review technical sector goals and meet with Jordanian representatives of the agencies and organizations that have invited Peace Corps to assist them.
Language skills are key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. They are critical to your job performance, help you integrate into your community, and ease personal adaptation to your new surroundings. The language component is the heart of the training program, and you must meet minimum language requirements to become a Volunteer.
Formal language classes are given by experienced Arabic instructors six days per week in your village groups. Arabic is also integrated into health, culture, personal safety, and technical components. You will have both classroom instruction and assignments to work on with your host family and in the community. Your goal is to achieve a competency in basic social communication that you can then build at your site. Prior to swearing in, you will work on strategies to continue language learning during your service. The Peace Corps will provide modest funds to pay for a tutor to continue your Arabic for the first year of your service.
Cross-cultural training will include an introduction to Jordan’s history, customs, and politics, as well as an orientation to Islamic beliefs and practices. Adjusting to another culture requires three basic skills: the ability to predict the behavior of others; the ability to accept, without judgment, local values and customs; and the ability to adapt your own behavior to conform to that culture’s expectations. We do not expect you to be someone you are not; rather, we expect you to take on the challenge of finding ways to be true to yourself and responsive to local cultural norms.
As part of your 11-week training, you will live with a Jordanian host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition into life at your site. Living with a host family will likely challenge your sense of personal freedom and privacy, but many Volunteers indicate that it is an enriching and vital part of adjusting to Jordan.
Host families go 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 Jordan. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families that last throughout their service and beyond.
You will be given basic medical training and information to maintain your personal health. You are expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own well-being by adhering to all medical policies. You are required to attend all medical sessions. Topics include preventive health measures as well as medical issues that Volunteers may encounter while in Jordan. Sexual health, nutrition, mental health, and personal safety issues are also covered.
During specific safety and security sessions, you will learn to adopt a lifestyle that reduces risk in your home, at work, and during your travels. You will learn appropriate and effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention. The emphasis throughout training will be on your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.
Important Packing Note: Prepare one bag that will serve
you throughout the pre-service training period. The second (preferably the larger) one will be stored at the training center until it is time to head to your site. This is not merely an administrative convenience. You will be living with a Jordanian family and, while you will have your own room, your life and your belongings will be very much on display. Americans are often perceived as being materialistic so we encourage you to simplify your existence in these early days. Possessions can be a distraction or a barrier to truly integrating as one of the family or community.
Additional Training During Volunteer Service
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continuous opportunities to confirm their commitment to Peace Corps service and increase technical, language, and cross-cultural skills.
There are usually three additional training events:
- In-service training (IST): Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade technical, language, and project development skills while sharing their progress and experiences with fellow Volunteers and Jordanian counterparts.
- Mid-service conference (MSC): Assists Volunteers in reviewing their first year and assessing and adjusting personal and project objectives to ensure a successful second year of service.
- Close-of-service conference (COS): Prepares Volunteers for bringing closure to their service, reviews individual projects and personal experiences, and prepares for readjustment, for life after Peace Corps.
The number, length, and design of these training events are adapted to country-specific priorities and conditions as well as to the needs of the Volunteers. The key to this training system is that events are integrated and interrelated, from pre-departure orientation through the close of service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated collaboratively by staff and Volunteers.