The Peace Corps uses a competency-based training approach throughout the continuum of learning, supporting Volunteers from arrival in-country to your departure. Learn more about the Peace Corps' approach to training.
- Pre-service training (PST) 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 live with host families 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 several days a week in small groups. Trainees with previous experience in French will be tested upon arrival and placed in an appropriate level. All Trainees will be taught French (and Fulfulde depending on site placement). In addition to classroom lessons, you will also complete oral practice assignments with your peers, language teachers, host family or in the community. You will also have an opportunity to take language classes on LearningSpace, the Peace Corps e-learning platform prior to your arrival. You will receive technical language training specific to your program (agriculture, health or education)
- 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. Finally, LearningSpace will offer you an opportunity to learn more about Cameroon and the specific region to which you will be assigned.
You will be trained in health prevention, basic first aid, and treatment of common illnesses in your host 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 months at your site, mid-service training, and close-of-service conference. You will be with your Volunteer cohort for these trainings. Throughout the training continuum and your service, staff will help you explore and honor the diversity of U.S. Americans serving as Peace Corps Trainees and Volunteers in Cameroon.
Peace Corps Cameroon employs a community-based model during pre-service training. The training model 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 host family, learn to take care of your own needs, and work either independently or in small groups to accomplish tasks that build your skill levels. Cameroonian 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.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Cameroon 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 and Cameroon experts will conduct the training program. You will learn 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 Cameroon and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your project’s goals and objectives and meet with Cameroonian agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated throughout training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities, report your progress, and serve as a productive member of your community.
Language proficiency is at the heart of successful Peace Corps service and effective language skills are essential to your personal and professional satisfaction. Not only is language proficiency critical to your job performance, but also it helps you integrate into your community, eases 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. At the moment, all Peace Corps Volunteers are posted in French-speaking regions. For this reason, learning French is critical to the success of your work. However, given the differences in levels of education from a region to another and sometimes within a region, it is sometimes very important for the volunteer to learn a local, regional language for their work. Your language training will incorporate a practical approach. In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom. 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 develop strategies to continue studying language during your service. 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 with the help of a language tutor in the first year, and independently in the second, so that you can develop sufficient language proficiency to serve effectively. Language proficiency will be tested at other points during service.
Cross-cultural training will provide opportunities for you to reflect on your own cultural values and how they influence your behavior in Cameroon. You will also discuss the questions you have about the behaviors and practices you observe in Cameroon, exploring the underlying reasons for these behaviors and practices. Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills and understand your role as a facilitator of development. Training will cover topics such as the concept of time, power and hierarchy, gender roles, communication styles, and the concept of self and relationships. Because adjusting to a new culture can be very challenging, you will participate in resiliency training which provides a framework and tools to help with adjustment issues. As part of your pre-service training, you will live and interact with a Cameroonian host family. These families are oriented by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Cameroon. The host family experience provides a unique context for cross-cultural learning, and is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host or host families.
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 Cameroon. Nutrition, mental health, malaria prevention, 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.