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 (PST) in-country is conducted by Peace Corps staff, most of whom are locally-hired trainers. To foster integration into the community, trainees live with a host family during training. Training covers technical, linguistic, cross-cultural, health, and safety and security topics.
- Technical training involves formal sessions and practical assignments working in the community.
- Language training incorporates formal lessons (five days a week in small groups) and a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will have assignments in the community and with your host family. The goal is to establish basic social communication skills, with a plan to practice and further develop your language skills. You will be tested on language proficiency during service.
- Cross-cultural and community development training will help you understand your cultural values, those held in-country, and your role as a development facilitator. Training will cover 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 mentality.
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 strategies for coping with unwanted attention, how to identify safety risks in-country, and about Peace Corps’ emergency response and support systems.
Additional training during Volunteer service includes in-service training after one to three months at your site, mid-service training, and close-of-service conference.
Pre-Service Training (PST)
The Peace Corps uses a competency-based training approach throughout the continuum of learning, supporting you from arrival in the Philippines to your departure. PST is the first event within this continuum of learning and ensures that you are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to effectively perform your job. PST is conducted in the Philippines by Peace Corps staff, most of whom are locally hired trainers. Peace Corps staff measure achievement of learning and determine if you have successfully achieved competencies, including language standards, for swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Peace Corps training incorporates widely-accepted principles of adult learning and is structured around the experiential learning cycle. Successful training results in competence in various technical, linguistic, cross-cultural, health, and safety and security areas. Integrating into the community is one of the core competencies you will strive to achieve both in PST and during the first several months of service.Successful sustainable development work is based on the relationships you build by respectfully integrating into the host country community and culture. You will be prepared for this through a homestay experience, which requires trainees to live with host families during PST. Integration into the community fosters language and cross-cultural learning and ensures your health, safety, and security. PST is conducted during new Volunteers’ first 11 weeks in the Philippines. The goal of PST is to provide all Volunteers with technical, language, intercultural, safety and security, and personal and health management skills that are needed to work effectively and live successfully in Philippine sites. PST is a combination of community- and center-based training. The first two weeks will take place at a centrally located training facility while the remainder will be conducted at cluster sites in Philippine communities. At each cluster site, which is based on project sector, the new Volunteers live with host families and train every day with four or five other trainees. The training is delivered by Filipino language, culture, and technical facilitators who live at the cluster locations in close proximity to the new Volunteers.
Technical training will prepare you to work in the Philippines 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, who are experts on the fields of education, community development, and coastal resource management, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning 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 the Philippines and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your project’s goals and objectives and will meet with the Philippine 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.
Technical training helps facilitate Volunteers’ entry into their work assignments and their communities. Technical training sessions and activities are conducted by experienced Filipino facilitators. The purpose is to develop required technical skills and to learn about successful methods and strategies to work successfully at sites. Actual practical work in schools and community organizations is an important part of this training. Another purpose of technical training is to help new Volunteers learn how to achieve community integration at their sites. This training includes courtesy calls to local community leaders, peer and community interviewing, community walks, field observations, community mapping, shadowing, and conducting community meetings. New Volunteers learn how to identify specific community needs and to develop strategic partnerships with community members.
Volunteers will be trained in the national language, Filipino (Tagalog), during PST. However, given that there so are many languages and dialects in the Philippines, most Volunteers learn an additional local language for two weeks in PST before moving to their permanent sites. Please note, before beginning the additional local language, Volunteers must successfully meet the minimum language requirements in Filipino (Tagalog). Filipino language and cultural facilitators usually teach formal language classes five to six days a week in small groups. 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 develop strategies to continue studying language during your service. At the end of PST, all Volunteers are required to undergo an oral proficiency test called the Peace Corps Language Proficiency Interview (LPI) where every Volunteer receives a score. LPI benchmarks serve as a guide for ongoing language learning throughout service. Volunteers are expected to commit to continued language learning. The Peace Corps supports Volunteers and offers assistance such as tutorials and language learning materials during the last few weeks of PST, during the in-service training (IST) that takes place after six months, and during a weekend language intensive offered during the first year of service. Volunteers are required to take LPIs at PST, IST, mid-service training, and close of service.
Volunteers will participate in intercultural sessions and activities during PST. Some of the competencies are integrated into other components of training such as language, health and safety and security.
A huge part of cross-cultural training is homestay. Volunteers are required to live with a host family during PST and also at their permanent site for their first three months of service. Many Volunteers continue to live with their families for the entirety of their service. A homestay debriefing is conducted during the first three months of Volunteers’ service. Some may have encountered issues or problems that should be addressed with the entire group—both for Volunteers and host families. The debriefing provides the opportunity for the Volunteers and the host families to ask questions, give their perspective about cultural differences, and discuss how to bridge the gaps between Volunteers and host families with their programming team. This debriefing session will hopefully encourage both the host families and the Volunteers to extend their homestay experience for a longer period of time. As mentioned earlier, Volunteers are strongly encouraged to continue living with host families. Usually the Volunteers who continue living with host families develop the best Philippine language fluency and the deepest understanding of Philippine culture. Please note that independent housing can be difficult to find in some locations.
During PST, you will be trained in health prevention, basic first aid, and treatment of medical illnesses found in the Philippines. You will be expected to practice preventive health and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees are required to attend all medical sessions. Health education topics will nutrition, food and water preparation, emotional health, dealing with alcohol, prevention of HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and common illnesses in the Philippines. At the end of training, each trainee will also be asked to write a personal health plan on how they can maintain good health in country. This is a requirement prior to swearing-in.
Safety and Security Training
During the safety and security training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention, how to identify safety risks in-country and about Peace Corps’ emergency response and support systems. Also, safety training is integrated into the language and cross-culture training activities to reflect the Volunteer reality and lifestyle. Safety training is not only for Volunteers, but is also provided for host families, Volunteers’ co-workers, and supervisors. At the end of PST, you will be tested on your knowledge, skills, and abilities on safety and security core sessions.