Training in Turkmenistan
The primary goal of pre-service training is to prepare you for the first three to six months of Volunteer service. By the end of training, you will not be fluent in Turkmen, or understand everything you want to know about your primary assignment, but you will have enough knowledge and skills to get started. Pre-service training is designed to help you meet challenges as they arise and adapt to unanticipated occurrences. During training, you will also receive important information regarding administrative aspects of Volunteer service such as financial matters and Peace Corps policies.
Community-based training facilitates your integration into your community and work by helping you learn cultural adaptation skills, begin to develop good working relationships with host country colleagues, and gain the skills needed to carry out your projects and activities independently. You will be given many opportunities to demonstrate your skills during training so that you can see and evaluate your progress. As a trainee, you are required to attend all training sessions; optional events, such as certain outings, parties, and specially called meetings, will be clearly stated as such.
Your input and your commitment to giving your best efforts in participation and study are critical. Experiential and self-directed learning, as well as other principles of adult learning, are the key elements of pre-service training. Training also incorporates the concept of “open space,” which means that you, your fellow trainees, and trainers will have input into the daily training agenda based on your individual and group training needs. You will be encouraged to facilitate and lead sessions, will work side by side with current Volunteers and host country counterparts to learn from their knowledge and experiences, and will engage in self-study and one-onone tutorials. You will also go on field visits and meet with representatives of the ministries, health facilities, schools, and donor organizations appropriate to your assignment. Midway through training, you will meet the person you will work with at your assigned site and visit the site with this counterpart.
Technical training prepares you to work in Turkmenistan by building on the skills you already have and helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Turkmen 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 environment, economics, and politics in Turkmenistan and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Turkmen agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive member of your community.
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 Turkmen language instructors teach formal language classes five days a week in small groups of four to five people.
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 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.
All trainees will learn Turkmen during pre-service training as it is the dominant language in the country. Some trainees may find that learning a little Uzbek or Russian will help them be more successful at their permanent sites. Peace Corps will assist you if there is a need for you to learn a second language during your service.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Turkmen host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families 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 Turkmenistan. 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 community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures.
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. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you may encounter while in Turkmenistan. 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 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.
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, though there will be other opportunities for you to gain skills during seminars and workshops during your service. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:
- Mid-Service Training: Assists Volunteers in reviewing their first year, reassessing their personal and project objectives, and planning for their second year of service.
- In-Service Training: Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to share ideas, strengths, and successes across sectors and regions and includes concepts and techniques such as project design and management.
- 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 the needs and conditions of Turkmenistan. 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.