Azerbaijan

Training

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 integration into the community, trainees live with a host family during training. Training covers technical, linguistic, cross-cultural, health, and safety and security topics. 
  • Technical training involves formal sessions and practical assignments working in the community. 
  • Language training incorporates formal lessons (five days a week in small groups) and a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will have assignments in the community and with your host family. The goal is to establish basic social communication skills, with a plan to practice and further develop your language skills. You will be tested on language proficiency during service. 
  • Cross-cultural and community development training will help you understand your cultural values, those held in-country, and your role as a development facilitator. Training will cover 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 mentality. 

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 strategies for coping with unwanted attention, how to identify safety risks in-country, and about Peace Corps’ emergency response and support systems. 

Additional training during Volunteer service include in-service training after one to three months at your site, mid-service training, and close-of-service conference.

Pre-Service Training
Following a brief pre-departure orientation (staging) in the United States, you will participate in an intensive 10 1/2-week pre-service training program in Azerbaijan. Peace Corps/Azerbaijan uses a community-based training model that is designed around real-life experiences and emphasizes community involvement. Trainees live with host families in one of several training villages around a central training facility outside the capital. The goals of community-based training are: 

  1. to provide experiential learning in settings similar to those at Volunteer sites; 
  2. to give trainees the best possible opportunity to gain competence in their work sectors; and 
  3. to guide trainees in self-directed learning so they can continue independent learning at their sites. 
Pre-service training contains six main training components: work preparation training, Azerbaijani language, cross-cultural, health, safety, and the opportunity to visit your potential site. The majority of pre-service training time is spent on the first three of these components. 

Technical Training

Technical training will prepare you to work in Azerbaijan 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, Azerbaijani 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 general economic and political environment in Azerbaijan and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector‘s goals and will meet with the Azerbaijani 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. 

Language Training

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are 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 at the heart of the training program. You must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Azerbaijani language instructors teach formal language classes six days a week in small groups of four to five people. Your language instructor will also serve as your cultural facilitator, answering questions and providing information about cultural norms. 

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 you can practice and develop language skills further once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your service. 

Cross-Cultural Training

As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Azerbaijani host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families go through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Azerbaijan. 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. 

Health Training

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 Azerbaijan. Nutrition, mental health, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.  

Safety and Security Training

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. Some of you may be asked to assume the role of wardens (i.e., points of contact for small groups of geographically clustered Volunteers).