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 PST 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. East Caribbean 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.
PST lasts for approximately ten weeks—six weeks in Saint Lucia, and four weeks in the country where you will serve. While staff and trainers will assess your performance formally and informally, offering feedback throughout the ten weeks, you will also use self-evaluation tools to monitor your progress.
Technical training will prepare you to meet the goals of the English Literacy in Primary Schools project and the needs of the country. Training will address the rudiments of Literacy and General Teaching, build on the skills you already have and help you develop new ones. A one-week Teaching Practicum will help prepare you for your initial work at your school. Literacy and education trainers, resource teachers, staff and experienced Volunteers will support you as you prepare to teach and manage a classroom.
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.
Although English is the official language of all four countries, each island has a unique Creole, which you will be taught by an Eastern Caribbean language facilitator, and practice through immersive, self-directed learning activities in your communities and with your host family if we are able to assign you one. We will also help you develop a language learning plan to continue to improve your fluency throughout service, as well as offer online Creole language learning resources.
Intercultural Competence, Diversity and Inclusion Training
Intercultural competence, diversity, equity and inclusion training will help you develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to celebrate diversity, promote self-awareness, and practice perspective-taking and giving consideration to others. This training will help you engage effectively and appropriately across cultures and contribute to an environment of access and belonging.
The status of the pandemic at the time of your arrival will determine whether you will live with a host family or in another type of accommodation, such as a dormitory or hotel. Living with an Eastern Caribbean family will give you the opportunity to begin the process of community integration, develop language skills, and align your expectations of life and work in the Eastern Caribbean with what is possible. (Normally you would have three homestay experiences during PST, one in Saint Lucia and the other two on your island of service). While a dormitory or hotel will not facilitate your integration into the community as quickly as a host family, it will at first afford us the opportunity to recognize the diversity within the Peace Corps community and to develop a support network that will be invaluable throughout your service. And secondly we will develop opportunities to immerse you into the Easter Caribbean community as well.
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 (country). 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.