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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 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.

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. Paraguayan 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

Paraguay has the following competencies: 

Common Area (Core Curriculum) Competencies for all Paraguay PCVs
  1. Integrate into Paraguayan family, community, and culture 
  2. Exemplify professional Peace Corps service (i.e. commit to Peace Corps mission, goals, work placement procedure) 
  3. Facilitate participatory community development

Competency Areas for Community Economic Development Volunteers
  1. Leadership development
  2. Group Formation
  3. Workforce development (employability skills)
  4. Improve financial decision making among individuals and families 
  5. Vocational Skills: Information and Communication Technology 
  6. Entrepreneurship 
  7. Promote improved business management practices

Competencies for Agriculture  Volunteers
  1. Increase  farmers’ capacity to improve the diversity, productivity, and/or sustainability of smallholder farmer agricultural production
  2. Increase farmers’ capacity to increase agriculture-related income
  3. Increase the capacity of women of reproductive age and/or key household decision makers to increase the dietary diversity of households 
Competencies for Environmental Education and Conservation Volunteers
  1. Build Paraguayan community awareness and capacity for sustainable environmental protection. 
  2. Promote soil conservation, organic gardening, and agroforestry practices.

Competencies for Community Health  Volunteers

  1. Promote behaviors shown to reduce the risk of Non Communicable Diseases. 
  2. Promote Sexual and Reproductive Health knowledge to make healthy, informed decisions about health and sexual well-being.
  3. Promote behaviors and practices that contribute to improved maternal, neonatal, and infant health outcomes.

Evaluation of your performance throughout service is a continual process, as Volunteers are responsible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for personal conduct and professional performance. Successful completion of pre-service training is characterized by achievement of a set of learning objectives to determine competence. Failure to meet any of the selection standards by the completion of training may be grounds for a withdrawal of selection and disqualification from Peace Corps service. Progress in one’s own learning is a dialogue between you and the training staff. All of the training staff—including the training director, and the language, technical, medical, safety and security, and cross-cultural trainers—will work with you toward the highest possible competencies by providing you with feedback on learning objective performance throughout training. After reviewing and observing your performance, the training staff makes recommendations to the country director, and it is the country director who is responsible for making the final decision on whether you have qualified to serve as a Volunteer in the host country. Upon successful completion of training, trainees who qualify for Peace Corps service are required by law to swear or affirm an oath of loyalty to the United States; it cannot be waived under any circumstance. You can consult a staff member during training if you want to request the text of the oath and if you have any questions about the wording or meaning of the oath.

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.  

Paraguay is a bilingual nation where both Spanish and Guarani are official national languages. Guarani or “Jopara” (a mixture of Guarani and Spanish) is the most common way to communicate in most areas in the country. Much of the informal and colloquial communication is done in Guarani, while Spanish is the common language in large urban areas and formal business settings. The ability to transfer information, serve as a community resource, and integrate into the Paraguayan culture is directly related to your ability to communicate in both Guarani and Spanish. Volunteers who enter training without Spanish skills often struggle to learn the two languages unless they have an open and positive attitude about language learning, are quick language learners, and spend a considerable amount of their personal time outside of the classroom studying and practicing the language with their host family. Because of this special challenge, Volunteers are strongly urged to initiate or brush up on Spanish language studies before leaving for Paraguay.

Intercultural Competence, Diversity, and Inclusion Training

As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Paraguay 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 Paraguay. 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 learn tools for cross-cultural competence and practice these tools during pre-service training.

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 Paraguay. 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.