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.
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. Ukraine 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.For most of the training however, groups of four to five trainees will live in towns and villages located within two-to three-hour ride from Kyiv. Each group will have a language and cross-cultural facilitator and a technical and cultural facilitator (the latter will be shared by between two groups).
Technical TrainingMost of your technical training will be facilitated by your technical/cross-cultural facilitators (TCFs) who will not only conduct sessions, but also observe your activities, help you reflect on your experiences, and provide regular feedback and support Starting from the first week, you will participate in ongoing pre-service training internship activities:
- Youth Development: You will be assigned to secondary schools or centers of social services for
youth and will observe and teach healthy life styles and civics classes, assist English teachers, and
prepare and facilitate youth club meetings. You will visit departments of youth and sport,
children’s creativity centers, orphanages, and other partner organizations. Finally, together with
your community partners, you will organize and run a three-day youth camp and design and
implement a community project to address local needs.
- Community Development: You will meet with the local government administrations, NGO
leaders, and other community partners. You will be involved in activities similar to what you will
do at your sites, such as community mapping, needs assessment, professional meetings, and
trainings. Finally, together with community members, you will design and implement community
projects to address community needs.
- TEFL: You will be assigned to schools and universities and will be involved in lesson
observations and analysis, designing lesson plans, teaching, working with Ukrainian teachers,
devising strategies for classroom management, and organizing extracurricular activities, including
an English language club for your students and a community/school project.
Language TrainingLanguage 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 have language classes conducted by your language/cultural facilitator (LCF) Monday through Friday, four to five hours a day, including classroom instruction, language field trips, self-directed learning activities, technical language, and tutoring. The daily schedule of your language classes should be agreed upon by your group and your LCF, taking into account your technical training and internship activities. Classes will generally take place at your LCF’s residence.
During pre-service training, you will be focusing on Ukrainian and introduced to Russian, as both languages are spoken in Ukraine. While the official state language is Ukrainian, you may hear a lot of Russian in many cities and towns of southern, eastern, and northern Ukraine.
Language is crucial to your success as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Due to the complexity of Ukrainian and Russian, a strong commitment to language learning will be very helpful both in pre-service training and throughout your two-year service. We strongly encourage you to continue language learning after pre-service training by taking tutoring classes at your site and participating in Peace Corps language refreshers and camps.
Intercultural Competence, Diversity, and Inclusion TrainingFor some of you, this is your first experience with cross-cultural training. For others, it may be reinforcement. To make the best use of your time, pre-service training will focus on the essential information necessary for understanding Ukraine and Ukrainians and the skills you need for successful cultural adjustment to your new environment and productive intercultural interactions. You will learn that culture is a generalization about groups of people’s behaviors and, consequently, cross-cultural training is a generalized solution. And when we deal with generalizations there are always exceptions. The secret of cross-cultural success is awareness. If you are aware of how culture influences thought and behavior, how people from other cultures may see you, and how your cultural background may influence how you see them, then deeper understanding comes easier. Your teachers will facilitate your adjustment to the new culture and realities of life in Ukraine. Your patience and your ability to stay positive and open to new experiences, as well as an ability to laugh at yourself, will be crucial to your success.
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 Ukraine. 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.