Preparation & Training

The Peace Corps’ training system provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to develop their technical and intercultural skills.

During service, there will be multiple training opportunities, including pre-service training, in-service training, midservice training, and the close-of-service conference.

Overview of pre-service training

The Peace Corps uses a competency-based training approach throughout the continuum of learning, supporting you from arrival in-country to your departure. Pre-service training is conducted by Peace Corps staff—most of whom are locally hired trainers—and current Volunteers. Peace Corps staff will measure learning achievement and determine if you have successfully achieved competencies, including language standards, for swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. 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 pre-service training and during the first several months of service. The Peace Corps uses homestay experiences to assist in the integration process to foster language and intercultural learning and ensure your health, safety, and security. Successful sustainable development work is based on the relationships you build by respectfully integrating into the host country community and culture.

Technical training

Technical training builds on skills you have and emphasizes learning to transfer your skills to your community. Peace Corps staff will make sure you build the technical skills needed—from agriculture to education to community development—to undertake project sector activities, report progress, and be productive in your community.

Language training

Language skills are critical to your job performance, help you integrate into your community, and are essential for developing meaningful relationships with community members, so language training is at the heart of the training program. Language training will incorporate both classroom and community-based approaches, with language instructors teaching small-group language classes five days a week and assignments for you to work on with your host family and in your community. Your goal will be to gain basic social communication skills so you can practice and develop language skills further once you are at your site. To become a Volunteer, you must meet minimum language requirements.

Cross-cultural training

Intercultural training allows you to reflect on your own cultural values and how they influence your behavior in-country. You’ll also discuss the questions you have about the behaviors and practices you observe in-country, exploring the underlying reasons for these behaviors and practices—and 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, to give you a framework and tools to help with adjustment issues. The host family experience is a key component intercultural learning, and will ease your transition to life at your site.

Health training

During pre-service training, Peace Corps medical officers instruct you on how to maintain your health during service, including health prevention, first aid, and treatment of common illnesses in-country. You will be expected to assume primary responsibility for your health by using the skills you learn and by adhering to all medical policies and recommendations. You’ll also receive training on nutrition, food/water preparation, emotional health, alcohol awareness, prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexual transmitted infections, domestic/intimate partner violence, and responding to emergencies.

Safety and security training

Maintaining personal safety and security during service is a shared responsibility of the Peace Corps and of Volunteers themselves. During pre-service training, you will learn what you can do to reduce your risks at home, at work, and while traveling. You will learn to identify and mitigate safety risks in-country, as well as about the support the Peace Corps provides in the event you become the victim of a crime. Safety and security training consists of five global core sessions plus country-specific sessions on transportation safety, gender issues, bystander intervention, dealing with unwanted attention, and emergency action planning.