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. 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 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 pre-service training is based on adult learning methods that emphasize individual responsibility for developing the competencies to function independently as a Volunteer. Kyrgyz 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 prepares you to become a teacher of English in secondary schools and includes teaching practicum at schools observed by technical trainers. The training also includes basics of teaching strategies, types of team teaching, ways of sharing responsibilities for planning, teaching and assessing learners and communicative approaches to language learning. In addition to regular classroom sessions, you will be given assignments to work on with your community, school, or organization. These activities will help you acquire many of the skills and experiences necessary to be an effective Volunteer.
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.
You will be learning Kyrgyz language during PST. Although the prospect of learning a new language may seem daunting, Volunteers before you have been successful and many have learned to speak Kyrgyz fluently. Prior to leaving the United States, you will need to start on some of the basics. Kyrgyz language uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Becoming familiar with the alphabet prior to your arrival can also help minimize some of the culture shock when you first step off the airplane. In the majority of communities, Kyrgyz is predominately spoken, while in a few communities Russian is the main language (mostly in the north and east). Many Kyrgyz people who speak Kyrgyz also understand Russian, but Russian speakers don’t always understand or speak Kyrgyz. In some regions, a mix of these two languages is spoken.
Intercultural Competence, Diversity, and Inclusion Training
Cross-cultural training will provide opportunities for you to reflect on your own cultural values and how they influence your behavior in Kyrgyz Republic. Classes will also address questions you have about the behaviors and practices you observe in Kyrgyz Republic, 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.
You will also learn about local history, and arts. The Kyrgyz people take great pride in their poets, writers, artists, and composers, so awareness of their cultural achievements is an important aspect of adapting to life in the Kyrgyz Republic.
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 Kyrgyz Republic. 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.