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.
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.and close-of-service conference.
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. Ugandan 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.
The 10-week training includes the following:
- Training center—orientation, safety, health, some technical training
- School-based —technical training for Education trainees OR village-based small group technical trainings for Health and Agriculture trainees
- Community-based small group language with individual trainee homestays
- Future site visit—trainees visit their future sites for a couple of days
- Supervisors’ workshop plenary—supervisors and trainees review policies and plan
Uganda uses an “Advertise & Bid System” to make site assignments. Before you leave home, Peace Corps Uganda will send all invitees job descriptions for all opportunities. When you get to Uganda, you will meet with the country director and program staff to discuss your interests. About a week after you arrive, you will submit a "bid" of site preferences. Staff will announce site assignments on about day 10 after your arrival. Language evaluation is conducted through a language proficiency test. Written and verbal feedback are provided for training presentations. Other feedback is a dialogue between you and the training staff regarding engagement in learning activities and adaptation to Uganda. Upon successful completion of pre-service training, you will be sworn in as a Volunteer and depart for your site.
Peace Corps/Uganda has developed an “Education Bootcamp” approach to its technical training for Education Volunteers. Intense and focused with lots of practice and immediate feedback, it has earned high grades in its content and methods to prepare Volunteers in a very short time how to teach in Ugandan schools. In recognition that all Volunteers train as a part of their service, Peace Corps/Uganda is cross-training this model with appropriate modifications in content and methods for Health and Agriculture Volunteers.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, help you integrate into your community, and can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is at the heart of the training program. You must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Uganda language instructors usually teach formal language classes five 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.
In the language immersion part of pre-service training, you will live in a community that speaks the target language you will be learning. There will be six regional satellites. You will travel to that community/town with your language and cross-cultural facilitator. S/he will introduce you to your homestay family and the family members will take you “home” to live with them. You will have a great opportunity to develop an understanding of the family and community life. You will walk to a nearby training location to study daily in small groups of three to five trainees under the guidance of your language and cross-cultural facilitator. You will visit the local markets and other activity settings to speak with people in the local language and you are encouraged to find other people apart from your trainers with whom you can practice the language. Your language learning will be assessed by certified language testers using the Language Proficiency Interview (LPI). Near the end of your stay, you and the other trainees in your language cluster will participate in a homestay farewell function.
Luganda is predominantly spoken in central Uganda. It is spoken by people called Baganda. It is also spoken and understood by other Bantu language speaking people in other regions of Uganda. Luganda is a tonal language.
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 Uganda. You will also discuss the questions you have about the behaviors and practices you observe in Uganda, 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. The host family experience provides a unique context for cross-cultural learning, and 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 Uganda. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
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 Uganda. 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.