The Peace Corps uses a competency-based training approach throughout the continuum of learning, supporting you from arrival in-country to your departure. Learn more about the Peace Corps' approach to training.
- Pre-service training in-country is conducted by Peace Corps staff, most of whom are locally hired trainers. To foster appropriate and effective integration into the community, trainees typically live with a host family during training. Training covers technical, linguistic, intercultural competence, diversity and inclusion, health, and safety and security topics.
- Technical training involves structured sessions and practical assignments working in the community.
- Language training typically involves classroom lessons five days a week in small groups. In addition to classroom lessons, you will also do speaking practice assignments with your host family or in the community. For Volunteers who do not have previous experience with the local language, the goal for pre-service training is to learn basic survival communication skills while intentionally building your intercultural competence. During pre-service training, you will be given guidance and training on independent language learning skills and strategies and your language proficiency will be tested at the end of pre-service training to assess your readiness to serve. After pre-service training, you will continue to study language independently throughout service so that you can develop sufficient language proficiency to serve effectively. Language proficiency will be tested at other points during service.
- Intercultural and community development training will help you explore your cultural values, those of your host community, and your role as a Volunteer. Training will guide you in considering concepts of time, power and hierarchy, gender roles, communication styles, relationships and self, and resiliency. You will also participate in cultural events and learn about local history and way of life.
You will be trained in health prevention, basic first aid, and treatment of medical illnesses found in-country. During the safety and security training sessions, you will learn how to reduce risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn various strategies for coping with unwanted attention, how to identify safety risks in-country, and about Peace Corps’ emergency response and support systems.
Additional trainings during Volunteer service include in-service training after one to three months at your site, mid-service training, and close-of-service conference. You will be with your Volunteer cohort for these trainings and attention will be paid to helping you also explore and honor the diversity of US Americans within your group throughout service.
The Peace Corps employs a community-based model during pre-service training. It is based on adult learning methods that emphasize individual responsibility for developing the competencies to function independently as a Volunteer. You will live with a family, take care of your own needs, and work either independently or in small groups to accomplish tasks that build your skill levels. Armenian facilitators will help you learn the necessary language and intercultural communication skills to accomplish your living and work tasks. You cannot be sworn-in to Peace Corps service until you have clearly demonstrated the attributes and skills necessary to meet the needs of your assignment. You can monitor and demonstrate your own progress through self-evaluation, consistent feedback from staff and facilitators, and participation in daily activities. Your success in this learning period requires full participation and, for some, a measure of sacrifice in terms of time and personal comfort. Investment of effort during this time will be well worth the rewards of satisfaction and well-being you will experience as a Volunteer.
You will be part of a diverse group of trainees with varied backgrounds. The technical component of training is designed to prepare you for the job you will do in your assigned site. It will provide you with information and tools that will enable you to apply what you already know to the Armenian context, and to develop skills in areas in which you need strengthening.
The goals for your pre-service training are to teach you about the issues that affect local government, civil society, and the education system in Armenia and facilitate a process by which you become skilled at working with organizations, schools, counterparts, and communities to identify that community’s assets, challenges, and goals and to define and implement ways of achieving those goals.
Note for TEFL Invitees: Peace Corps/Armenia conducts standard TEFL training based on a standard curriculum comparable to the minimal global standards expected for internationally recognized TEFL certificate programs. Staff carries out assessments of learnings from the training content or collects “exhibits” representing the Volunteers’ work during training sessions, evaluates them according to established rubrics, and records each trainee’s results.
Language proficiency is at the heart of successful Peace Corps service and effective language skills are essential to your personal and professional satisfaction. Language proficiency is critical not only to your job performance, but also helps you integrate into your community, can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings, and supports your personal safety. As a result, language training is central to the training program and closely tied to intercultural competence, diversity and inclusion training.
Peace Corps Armenia offers a Pre-Departure Virtual Language Learning Program for all invitees. The program is an opportunity to learn language basics prior to your departure to Armenia. It is comprised of video lessons, exercise handouts, and Skype sessions with an online language instructor. The course will start at the end of January and lasts six weeks with two Skype sessions per week. Though the virtual course is optional, arriving with survival speaking and knowledge of the alphabet will be extremely beneficial for you and will make your further learning of the language much easier.
During pre-service training you will continue studying the language in your villages in small groups of 4-5 with a Language and Culture Facilitator. Language classes are approximately 4 hours/day for five days a week, including many Saturdays. Language Training is designed to enable Volunteers to perform a number of survival, social and workplace tasks, communicate in everyday situations, and gain on-going language learning skills. Your skills of communicating in Armenian will be measured twice during PST.
Intercultural Competence, Diversity, and Inclusion TrainingLiving with a host family is an integral part of training. It opens a window into the Armenian culture and way of life. Your family is also a great resource for acquiring the language. The host family will provide you with a room that will be for your use only, but you will be expected to spend as much time with your family as possible. You will eat your meals with your family with the exception of lunches on training days. Living conditions may be basic. Your life with the family will help you make the adjustment to living conditions in Armenia. The host family at your future worksite is likely to be similar to the one you live with during training. Your other great resource will be your language and cross-cultural facilitators, who will live in the same villages with you during PST and will be of great help for you in your cultural adjustment process.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to practice preventive health care 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, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also covered. It will be important to be open and remain culturally sensitive as you undergo health training and suspend judgement as to not project your cultural beliefs and values.
Safety and Security Training
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to reduce your risks at home, at work, and during your travels by building your awareness and indirectly practicing culturally competent communications skills. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.