Benin flag


palm trees and training center
Trainees learn about Benin's regional kings during Pre-Service Training
Trainees in a garden watching a presentation
Trainee practicing teaching in a full classroom of students
Volunteers and staff testing a tippy tap hand washing station

The Peace Corps uses a competency-based training approach throughout the continuum of learning, supporting you from before your arrival in-country until 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 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 basic first aid and the prevention 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 three to six 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 Americans within your group throughout service. 

Pre-Service Training

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. Beninese 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 arrive in Benin with your cohort of Volunteers. Your group will start three months of intensive training, with each of you living with a host family in a rural community, near other Trainees and a Peace Corps Language and Culture Facilitator. You will attend training sessions five and a half days a week, to learn about the technical skills to do your work in Benin, French language, navigating the cultures of Benin, taking care of your health, maintaining your safety and security, and other topics. Within the first month, you will find out which community in Benin you are going to live and work in for the next two years. You will likely be the only Peace Corps Volunteer who will be working in that community. You will meet your supervisor – the head of the host organization where you will work. About six weeks into your training, you will visit the community where you will be living for the next two years, and you will meet your future neighbors and colleagues and start developing relationships and learning about the community. You will return to complete your training. After successfully meeting all the requirements of training, you will be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer by the U.S. Ambassador to Benin, and you will move to your new community to continue learning and to start working.

Technical Training

Technical training will prepare you to work in Benin by building on the skills you already have and helping you develop new skills appropriate to the needs in Benin. The Peace Corps staff, Beninese experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to effectively exchange skills with the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer. Technical training will include sessions on the professional context in Benin and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with Beninese 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

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. Beninese language instructors teach formal French 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 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.

You will leave Benin with proficiency in French as well as skills in one of Benin’s local languages. French is the official language of the Beninese educational and governmental system, and most Beninese people who speak French also speak one or more of Benin’s 50+ local languages, which include Fon, Mina, Adja, Bariba, Yoruba, Idaatcha, Tchabe, Fulani, Mahi, and Nagot. Learning French will be essential for your successful Volunteer service in this linguistically diverse country. You will also need to reach a certain proficiency level in a local language, as local languages are used more than French in many rural communities where not everyone speaks French. Living with a host family during Pre-Service Training will immerse you in a linguistically typical rural Beninese household, with a family who likely speak a local language among themselves, including children who use French in school and parents who speak multiple languages which may or may not include French.

If you have little or no background in French, you are strongly encouraged to take a French course or make a commitment to self‐study prior to arrival in Benin in order to prepare for living and working there, focusing on spoken French, as you will start using French for basic communication from your first day in Benin.

If you arrive in Benin with a strong background in French, during language training you will learn about the nuances of Beninese French, engage in cultural research in the community, and start local language study.

Peace Corps Benin has dedicated Language and Cross-Culture Facilitators who will facilitate your French learning from your first days in Benin and will start introducing you to local languages. In addition, throughout your service you will be supported by a full-time Language & Culture Coordinator who will help you progress in French and local language learning. Peace Corps Benin will provide you with resources for your continued language learning throughout your first year of service, including identifying and training a language tutor in the community where you will live and work during your service.

Intercultural Competence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (ICDEIA) Training

ICDEIA training will provide opportunities for you to reflect on your own cultural values and how they influence your actions and beliefs. You will also discuss your questions about what you observe in Benin, exploring the underlying reasons for these practices and behaviors. As part of your Pre-Service Training, you will live with a Beninese host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families receive an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to prepare them to help you adapt to living in Benin. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.

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 Benin. 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.