Difference between pages "Scott Allan Wallick" and "FAQs about Peace Corps in Armenia"

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{{Volunteerinfobox
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{{FAQs by country}}
|firstname=Scott
+
 
|middlename=Allan
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|lastname=Wallick
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|country=Nepal
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|yearservicestarted=2002
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{{Countrybar
|yearserviceended=2004
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|Countryname= Armenia
|site=Birganj
 
|region=Parsa
 
|groupcode=N/194
 
|state=Texas
 
|uscity=Amarillo
 
|program=Education
 
|assignment01=English Teacher/Training (TEFL)
 
 
}}
 
}}
I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Birganj, Parsa Distrct, Nepal, from February 2002 to April 2004, and served as an English Language Teacher Trainer in the group N/194, the last Peace Corps group to COS in country before the program in Nepal was [http://peace-corps.scottwallick.com/blog/2004/09/14/peace-corps-nepal-suspended/ suspended in September 2004]. I blogged extensively about my Peace Corps experience in Nepal as it was happening. My tag line is the best introduction to my site, stating "Scott was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal from 02/2002 to 04/2004. Most days it was exciting; others, however . . . ."
 
  
==Service==
 
  
I started my Peace Corps application in July 2001. After meeting with a Peace Corps recruiter, I was told I would be going to Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, or Thailand. I wavered between Mongolia and Nepal. A couple weeks later, when I came home from work, my invitation letter from the Peace Corps was waiting for me. Nepal it would be. I was excited. I read about Nepal and Hinduism. I created a Web site. And I still had months before my departure.
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===How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Armenia?===
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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’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.
 +
 
 +
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.  
 +
 
 +
Because of heightened security since the events of September 11, 2001, do not pack items such as scissors or pocketknives in your carry-on luggage.
 +
 
 +
===What is the electric current in Armenia?===
 +
 
 +
It is 220 volts, 50 cycles. Because power surges and cuts can put a strain on voltage converters and appliances, make sure that what you bring is of good quality. The Peace Corps does not provide transformers. We recommend tape players that use “D” batteries because “C” batteries are a little harder to find. “AA” and watch and calculator batteries are easy to find.  
 +
 
 +
===How much money should I bring?===
 +
 
 +
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 not widely accepted in Armenia, but you can obtain cash (in dollars or drams) from ATM machines in the capital if your ATM card has a Visa logo. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.  
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 +
===When can I take vacation and have people visit me? ===
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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 conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. 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?===
 +
 
 +
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.  
  
===Description of service===
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===Do I need an international driver’s license?===
  
My complete DOS statement is available in the documents section of my [http://peace-corps.scottwallick.com/documents/ Peace Corps experience blog]. While the DOS statement is the official record of my service in Nepal, I feel as though its odd third-person language and focus on numbers doesn't represent the breadth and scope of the affect my work had on me personally and on those with whom I worked, whether for a day or a month, during my two years in Nepal.
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Volunteers in Armenia do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles. Urban and rural travel is by bus, van, or taxi.  
  
<blockquote>After completing a competitive application processes stressing applicant skills, adaptability, and
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===What should I bring as gifts for Armenian friends and my host family? ===
cross-cultural understanding, Mr. Scott Allan Wallick was invited into Peace Corps service. He
 
was assigned for his first year of service to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at the
 
primary level and for his second year worked as an English Language Teacher Trainer (ELTT)
 
with primary-level English teachers.</blockquote>
 
  
==Volunteer blog==
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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.
  
My blog, [http://peace-corps.scottwallick.com/documents/ The Peace Corps Experience of Scott Allan Wallick], began in January 2002, about one month before my departure to Nepal. At first, I uploaded static HTML files via FTP to a private Web server. By June 2002, though, I moved my content to the service Blogger, which was bought by Google in February 2003. I mention this because Google offered the entire Blogger service for free. I had subscribed to the original (and then defunct) for-pay Blogger service. Google sent Blogger hooded sweatshirts in lieu of paid fees. I was impressed when my hooded sweatshirt arrived at post three months later. After returning to the United States, the whole content of my blog was migrated from Blogger to a personal server running [http://wordpress.org/ WordPress].
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===Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?===
  
===Controversy===
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Peace Corps trainees are assigned to individual sites during pre-service training. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages. Some live in a town with other Volunteers, and most are within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites require an eight- to 10-hour drive from the capital.
  
In December 2004, in short due to pressure from the Peace Corps office in Washington, DC, a senior official at Peace Corps/Nepal contacted me regarding my blog and asked me to remove a number of posts, which were provided by title. I complied, removed the posts, and later, after I completed my service successfully, reposted those articles. I wrote generally about the incident in [http://peace-corps.scottwallick.com/blog/2004/01/19/blogging-in-the-peace-corps/ Blogging in the Peace Corps].
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===How can my family contact me in an emergency?===
  
Later, this incident was featured on [http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/467/2030522.html Peace Corps Online] on February 24, 2004, which did not help with my goal of getting through my last two months of service without an 'political' conflicts with the either Peace Corps/Nepal or Washington.
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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 non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2423.  
  
===Blog resources===
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===Can I call home from Armenia?===
  
I posted my complete [http://peace-corps.scottwallick.com/blog/2002/02/09/forget-me-not-a-packing-list/ packing list] and then, a few months in to my Peace Corps service, added a [http://peace-corps.scottwallick.com/blog/2002/10/02/packing-list-addendum/ packing list addendum]. My main thoughts being to take the least amount of clothes and more items that might be hard to get or replace in country.
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International phone service to and from Armenia is good relative to that of other developing countries. However, at times (especially on weekends and holidays) the phone system is easily overwhelmed, and phone service may be disrupted. You may want to bring AT&T, MCI, or Sprint calling cards to minimize costs of international calls. You can purchase international calling cards in Yerevan and in towns/cities.  
  
The [http://peace-corps.scottwallick.com/documents/ documents section] contains a few documents from when I was a teacher trainer. I should stipulate that these documents are posted here as-was, i.e., I haven’t edited or revised them after the fact, even though now I might know better. The documents are licensed with the GNU Free Documentation License.
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===Should I bring a cellular phone with me?===
  
==After Peace Corps==
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You may, if your mobile device is not locked to any specific network and it supports Armenia's GSM band frequencies (900 and 1800). If it is locked to a network prior to arrival in Armenia, it will not be able to connect to Armenian networks. This may be circumvented by visiting Armenian shops that offer unlocking services that cost money. However, if the cellphone is incompatible with 900/1800 GSM band frequencies, it will not function.
  
After getting married in Darjeeling, India, in June 2004, my wife and I arrived in the United States in September 2004. I began working as an editor, am still an avid photographer, and return to Nepal and India regularly. I have contributed to the Friends of Nepal, Peace Corps Writers, and the America-Nepal Friendship Society. I also frequently participate at Peace Corps recruiting events in the New York City area on behalf of the New York Peace Corps Regional Office.
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===Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer? ===
  
==External Links==
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A growing number of businesses offer Internet access in the capital and some of the larger cities. Because of the weaker infrastructure in outlying areas, Volunteers posted to rural sites may be limited to sending and receiving e-mail on their occasional visits to the capital or regional hubs. Before leaving the United States, many people sign up for free e-mail accounts, such as Yahoo or Hotmail, which they can access worldwide. Peace Corps/Armenia suggests that you obtain a free e-mail account with www.freenet.am, as it is easier to access in Armenia than other services.
  
[http://peace-corps.scottwallick.com/ The Peace Corps Experience of Scott Allan Wallick]
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Some people bring laptop computers, but they are responsible for insuring and maintaining the computers themselves. Note that you probably will not find the same level of technical assistance here as you would at home and that replacement parts can take months to arrive. Also note that having Internet access via your laptop is only a remote possibility because very few Volunteers have adequate telephone lines in their homes or in their place of work. The Peace Corps office in Yerevan has three computers available for Volunteers to conduct project research. If you bring a laptop, be sure to buy a high-quality surge protector; power lapses and surges are common. Volunteers who have computers also significantly increase their risk of becoming a victim of crime. The Peace Corps will not replace stolen computers and strongly encourages those who bring them to get personal property insurance.
  
''Note: The contents and opinions expressed in The Peace Corps Experience of Scott Allan Wallick do not represent official positions, views, intentions, et cetera, of the United States Peace Corps nor the government of the United States.''
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[[Category:Armenia]]
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[[Category:FAQs about Peace Corps]]

Revision as of 21:52, 26 February 2011

FAQs about Peace Corps
  • How much luggage am I allowed to bring?
  • What is the electric current?
  • How much money should I bring?
  • When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
  • Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
  • Do I need an international driver’s license?
  • What should I bring as gifts for my host family?
  • Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
  • How can my family contact me in an emergency?
  • Can I call home?
  • Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
  • Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
...and more...

For information see Welcomebooks



Armenia Articles | History of Peace Corps in Armenia | Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Armenia | Training in Armenia | Health care and safety in Armenia | Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Armenia | Packing List for Armenia | Pre Departure Checklist for Armenia | Books | FAQs about Peace Corps in Armenia | Web Resources | Armenia volunteers | Armenia Volunteer Site Postings


How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Armenia?

Most airlines have baggage size and weight limits and assess charges for transport of baggage that exceeds those limits. The Peace Corps’ allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds for any one bag.

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.

Because of heightened security since the events of September 11, 2001, do not pack items such as scissors or pocketknives in your carry-on luggage.

What is the electric current in Armenia?

It is 220 volts, 50 cycles. Because power surges and cuts can put a strain on voltage converters and appliances, make sure that what you bring is of good quality. The Peace Corps does not provide transformers. We recommend tape players that use “D” batteries because “C” batteries are a little harder to find. “AA” and watch and calculator batteries are easy to find.

How much money should I bring?

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 not widely accepted in Armenia, but you can obtain cash (in dollars or drams) from ATM machines in the capital if your ATM card has a Visa logo. If you choose to bring extra money, bring the amount that will suit your own travel plans and needs.

When can I take vacation and have people visit me?

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 conjunction with an authorized emergency leave. 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?

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?

Volunteers in Armenia do not need to get an international driver’s license because they are prohibited from operating motorized vehicles. Urban and rural travel is by bus, van, or taxi.

What should I bring as gifts for Armenian friends and my host family?

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?

Peace Corps trainees are assigned to individual sites during pre-service training. Most Volunteers live in small towns or in rural villages. Some live in a town with other Volunteers, and most are within one hour from another Volunteer. Some sites require an eight- to 10-hour drive from the capital.

How can my family contact me in an emergency?

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 non-emergency questions, your family can get information from your country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 800.424.8580, extension 2423.

Can I call home from Armenia?

International phone service to and from Armenia is good relative to that of other developing countries. However, at times (especially on weekends and holidays) the phone system is easily overwhelmed, and phone service may be disrupted. You may want to bring AT&T, MCI, or Sprint calling cards to minimize costs of international calls. You can purchase international calling cards in Yerevan and in towns/cities.

Should I bring a cellular phone with me?

You may, if your mobile device is not locked to any specific network and it supports Armenia's GSM band frequencies (900 and 1800). If it is locked to a network prior to arrival in Armenia, it will not be able to connect to Armenian networks. This may be circumvented by visiting Armenian shops that offer unlocking services that cost money. However, if the cellphone is incompatible with 900/1800 GSM band frequencies, it will not function.

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

A growing number of businesses offer Internet access in the capital and some of the larger cities. Because of the weaker infrastructure in outlying areas, Volunteers posted to rural sites may be limited to sending and receiving e-mail on their occasional visits to the capital or regional hubs. Before leaving the United States, many people sign up for free e-mail accounts, such as Yahoo or Hotmail, which they can access worldwide. Peace Corps/Armenia suggests that you obtain a free e-mail account with www.freenet.am, as it is easier to access in Armenia than other services.

Some people bring laptop computers, but they are responsible for insuring and maintaining the computers themselves. Note that you probably will not find the same level of technical assistance here as you would at home and that replacement parts can take months to arrive. Also note that having Internet access via your laptop is only a remote possibility because very few Volunteers have adequate telephone lines in their homes or in their place of work. The Peace Corps office in Yerevan has three computers available for Volunteers to conduct project research. If you bring a laptop, be sure to buy a high-quality surge protector; power lapses and surges are common. Volunteers who have computers also significantly increase their risk of becoming a victim of crime. The Peace Corps will not replace stolen computers and strongly encourages those who bring them to get personal property insurance.