Peace Corps/Micronesia serves two countries: The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of Palau, comprising a total population of approximately 170,000. The combined land mass, with its extraordinary reefs and rain forests, includes over 900 islands of which about 600
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Micronesia
The Peace Corps program in Micronesia began in 1966. At the program’s peak size in 1968, 700 Volunteers were assigned to Micronesia, which included the Republic of Palau, FSM, Northern Mariana Islands, and the Marshall Islands. The first group of Volunteers taught English at all educational levels, and a cadre of Volunteer legal advisors soon followed. The Volunteer legal advisors assisted the then U.S. trust
The formation of FSM in 1986 resulted in a reassessment of Peace Corps programming, and Volunteer activities were consolidated. Dual assignments were developed, and all Volunteers taught English in primary schools and also worked in other activities specified by their sponsoring state government agency. In the 1990s, the programming strategy moved from state-specific to national projects. Concurrently, programming shifted from being focused on English as a second language to projects in a wide range of technical areas, such as library development, health education, sports development, youth group development, marine resource management, environmental education, watershed management, and small business development.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Micronesia
Volunteers in Micronesia are required to live with a host family for training and for the entire two years of service. Many Volunteers find it a challenge to adjust from the independent living they are used to. Household rules, especially for women, are likely to feel very restrictive compared to life in the United States. Yet the rewards tend to be immense. Almost all life in Micronesia revolves around the family, and being “adopted” into a family gives a Volunteer a vehicle to becoming part of the local community. Micronesians live with extended family, and find it extremely odd for anyone to live alone. Living with a family makes it easier to learn the language, provides unique opportunities to become part of the culture, and ensures a safer and more secure environment. Much of a Volunteer’s life in Micronesia is based on interactions with the host family, and these interactions help facilitate community entry. Married couples also live with a family for their entire service.
If you serve on a main island, you will likely live with a family in a small village. On main islands host family sites range from a two-hour drive to the capital to right near the city. Peace Corps/Micronesia is committed to focusing on rural communities. Living in the more rural villages is a very different experience from living in one very close to the capital town. On main islands, you may be surprised by how spread-out houses in a village tend to be. On outer islands, space and land is more limited.
Main article: Training in Micronesia
When you first join us in Pohnpei, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia, you will participate in approximately nine weeks of pre-service training (PST). PST will help you to learn about your host country and island, learn about what it will be like to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in FSM/Palau, and learn about yourself.
The goals of Peace Corps/Micronesia’s training program are to give you a “jump start” in learning about the culture and language of your host island, to help prepare you for community entry into the community in which you will serve, and to train you to be an effective observer/cultural student. PST helps prepare Volunteers to be development facilitators who can help their community prioritize local needs and desires and help initiate efforts to address these needs. During PST, you will learn some skills that will help you begin to get comfortable in a classroom environment. You will be introduced to the concepts of capacity building and sustainable development; you will have the opportunity to learn about local organizations, institutions, and leaders; and you will start to meet community partners. The goal of pre-service training is to help you successfully start a learning process that will continue throughout your service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Micronesia.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health care and safety in Micronesia
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Because medical services may be inadequate or unavailable in some host countries, Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease.
Peace Corps/Micronesia maintains its own health unit in Kolonia, Pohnpei, with a physician’s assistant and a full-time nurse. These medical officers provide or manage Volunteer healthcare. If you are assigned to another state or Palau, healthcare will be provided by professionals in the capital center or at remote sites.
Volunteers must be prepared to use these providers and facilities for initial and follow-up care. Local hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare facilities are typically very basic—smaller, older, and less well-kept and maintained than the U.S. norm. There are fewer supplies and equipment. Providers are typically a Micronesian medical officer or another foreign national trained in Fiji in basic medicine. Trained specialists are generally limited. Local care, including basic dental and gynecological care, will be accessed and utilized by Volunteers whenever possible.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Micronesia
In Micronesia, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Micronesia.
In Micronesia, residents of lagoon and outer islands have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. Micronesians are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Micronesia
- How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to Micronesia?
- What is the electric current in Micronesia?
- 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 Micronesian friends and 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 from Micronesia?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing list for Micronesia
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Micronesia and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. Although you can get almost everything you need in Micronesia, it is advisable to bring some essentials, find out what you really need once you are in-country, and then write home to have things sent to you. Having your family or friends buy what you need may be a little cheaper than buying things locally.
- General Clothing
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
- What Not To Bring:
- Suggestions for gifts for Host Families
Peace Corps News
The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
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PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
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Contributions to the Micronesia Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Micronesia. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Friends of Micronesia
- List of resources for Micronesia
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Inspector General Reports