Timor-Leste flag

Country Director's Welcome

Peace Corps Timor-Leste volunteers are required to live with a host family throughout their two-year service....Many PCVs say that living with a host family is the best part of their overall experience.

<img src="img/Jamie's photo.jpg" alt="CD Timor-Leste">
Jamie Fouss, Country Director, Peace Corps Timor-Leste

Welcome to Timor-Leste, where rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and warm-hearted people await your presence. Located in the eastern half of the island of Timor, Timor-Leste has a population of around 1.3 million. Formerly colonized by Portugal for four centuries and occupied by Indonesia for almost 20 years, it is the world's third youngest country. Despite its strategic position, Timor-Leste is one of Asia's least developed nations, with a GDP per capita of US$1,160 in 2020. The country grapples with a poverty rate of approximately 50%, marked by high inequality and limited job opportunities. Relying heavily on government spending fueled by petroleum revenues and international assistance, Timor-Leste faces challenges in addressing its growing, poorly educated working-age population and insufficient job creation.

In 2015, the Government of Timor-Leste invited Peace Corps volunteers to work on two projects: Community Economic Development (CED) and English Teacher training (ED). CED Volunteers help Timorese households achieve economic security and upward economic mobility. Volunteers are placed at cooperatives, NGOs, community-based organizations (e.g., farmers, women’s, youth groups), youth centers, and occasionally with municipality-level government offices. English Education Volunteers work in third cycle (middle school) and secondary schools (grades 7–11). They work with Timorese students, teachers, and community members and English language teaching proficiency, improve student performance in English, and promote community involvement in enhancing literacy both within and outside the school environment.

Building relationships is fundamental to your integration and success. Whether with fellow Volunteers, local counterparts, or your host family, these connections will be your support network throughout your service. All Peace Corps Timor-Leste volunteers are required to live with a host family throughout their two-year service. Living with a host family in your community, you'll immerse yourself in Timorese culture and language, embracing local customs and forging meaningful relationships with community members. Beyond helping the volunteer improve their language skills, host families provide food, safety, security, and, very importantly love. Many PCVs say that living with a host family is the best part of their overall experience.

At the heart of the Peace Corps mission is a commitment to service and cultural exchange. As a Volunteer in Timor-Leste, you'll represent the United States, contributing to enhanced understanding and cooperation between our nations. This is an extraordinary opportunity to significantly impact the lives of your Timorese counterparts and communities while experiencing your own personal and professional growth. Your dedication to your role as a Peace Corps Volunteer is paramount. Please reflect honestly on your commitment to upholding the highest standards of Peace Corps service.

If you are invited to serve in Timor-Leste, please thoroughly review the Welcome Book, your Volunteer Assignment Description (VAD), and the Volunteer Service Handbook for in-depth insights into Timor-Leste, your assignment, and Peace Corps policies. On behalf of the Peace Corps Timor-Leste team, I encourage you to embrace the opportunity to join us on this remarkable journey of service and personal growth here in Timor-Leste. Welcome to the toughest job you'll ever love. Obrigadu barak. (Thank you very much.)

Jamie Fouss
Country Director
Peace Corps Timor-Leste