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Peace Corps Volunteer
2 years, 3 months
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Up to 12 months
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Virtual Service Pilot
3-6 months
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Virtual Service Pilot

Enhance University Students’ English Through Interactive Discussion

Activity/project background

Partner: Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (LNU) (Government)

The Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (LNU) in Ukraine is a world-known, classical institution for higher education in the Western part of Ukraine, boasting of its formidable scientific schools, traditional practices, and innovative approaches. LNU wants to improve the English proficiency and the critical thinking capacity of economic and translator-specialty students. This engagement aims to provide opportunities for students to communicate with native English speakers. This initiative has the potential to enrich the students’ social and presentation skills, support their career trajectories, build resiliency and self-esteem, and enable students to improve their cross-cultural comprehension and appreciation, thereby fostering constructive and meaningful interactions with individuals from non-native cultures facilitating their integration into international exchange programs and the global community.

LNU is seeking Virtual Service Pilot Participants (VSPPs) to support in co-teaching classes and a student conversation club that may include sessions on use of conversational business English skills in presentation, public speaking, as well as role plays, intercultural communication, and life skill discussions. Practical application of conversational language skills using general business English include role plays, group work and interactive activities concerning networking, intercultural communication, job interviews, dealing with disagreements, and generating and presenting ideas. In addition, the VSPPs will support the priorities of Peace Corps Ukraine by supporting the academic success of students and empowering young people to be successful in life, through enhanced English language skills.

LNU has previously collaborated with the Peace Corps and understand that the role of a VSPP is very different than a two-year Volunteer.

Engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:

• Co-evaluate the students’ English language proficiency and gaps in their communication skills
• Co-develop a detailed curriculum for co-teaching club activities for intermediate and upper-intermediate English level learners complete with learning objectives and discussion topics
• Co-teach four 1-hour long conversational English club meetings every month, targeting 10 -15 second year and third year students (19-21 years old)
• Co-design a range of communication activities centering on role plays, games, group work, and competitions to augment the students’ English speaking and listening skills related to presentation techniques, panel presentation, self-presentation and other relevant public speaking skills, networking, intercultural communication, job interviews, dealing with disagreements, generating, and presenting ideas
• Discuss with the Ukrainian partners results of the learning progress made by the students on regular basis, and modify course as needed
• Write a brief report on the outcomes, challenges, and lessons learned throughout the program

This engagement is expected to be approximately 27 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week. This engagement is estimated to be 5 -8 hours per week of which one-hour long session per week will be online with students.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts and English clubs will take place during university academic hours between 3:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Ukraine standard time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Zoom, WhatsApp, and email for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in any field

Experience: 2 years of experience in TEFL/English teaching to university students (or adults)

Intercultural skills and motivation: Flexible, strong cross-cultural agility, high tolerance for ambiguity, able to work independently, resourceful, creative, and genuinely motivated and capable to serve virtually

Desired qualifications

Education: Bachelor's degree in any field and relevant certification: TEFL, TESOL, Cambridge, or similar

• Experience with virtual engagement and communication
• Experience developing teaching resources
• Participating in communities of practice related to university education

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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