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 Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Bangladesh
Peace Corps Volunteers first began serving in the area that is now Bangladesh when it was known as East Pakistan, and the Peace Corps remained active in the area throughout the 1960s. Tensions that had existed between East and West Pakistan for years came to a head in 1970 when the central government declared that Urdu would be the official language of all Pakistan, thereby supplanting East Pakistan’s native Bangla. In the midst of political tension and impending war, the Peace Corps had to close its program in East Pakistan. At the end of the war of independence in 1971, East Pakistan declared itself an independent country called Bangladesh.
The first group of Volunteers to serve in independent Bangladesh arrived in November 1998. Two more groups were sworn in in subsequent years however all were evacuated after September 11, 2001. Volunteers returned in 2003 but the program closed again in 2006.
 Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles
Main article: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Bangladesh
During pre-service training and for the first three months at site, Volunteers live with host families to develop Bangla language skills, gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Bangladeshi culture, and facilitate integration in the community. Following this initial three-month period, Volunteers may choose to continue living with their host family or seek other accommodations. Volunteers generally find modest apartments in their communities, which usually have electricity and running water. Host family accommodations are reviewed and approved in advance by Peace Corps staff. All housing selected by Volunteers must also be approved by the Peace Corps/Bangladesh office.
The communities where Volunteers live and work are identified by Peace Corps staff in conjunction with the host institutions. Peace Corps/Bangladesh staff visit and evaluate all sites for safety and suitability. Around the middle of pre-service training, each Volunteer is assigned a site according to the “best fit” between the individual and the site. Volunteers have the option of being posted with another Volunteer—provided the request is mutual—or being posted by themselves. In training, you will develop some idea of where you would like to be posted, and Volunteer preference is taken into account.
Main article: Training in Bangladesh
Prior to being sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will participate in an intensive nine-week training program. This training takes an experiential approach to learning, in which each Volunteer lives with a host family in order to experience the language and culture firsthand. In addition, trainees take group trips on public transportation to visit other towns and learn about the country outside the confines of classroom training.
An invitation to attend pre-service training is not a guarantee that you will be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Throughout the program, you will be evaluated on your language skills, motivation, cross-cultural sensitivity, emotional maturity, and technical competence as they pertain to your ability to serve successfully as a Volunteer in Bangladesh. However, this does not mean that you will be in a situation of constant observation and criticism. Those who are sincere in their commitment to Peace Corps service will receive all the support they need to satisfactorily complete training and assume their duties as Volunteers.
 Your Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health Care and Safety in Bangladesh
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. Peace Corps/Bangladesh maintains a clinic with a full-time medical officer, who takes care of Volunteers’ primary health care needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Bangladesh at local hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an American-standard medical facility in the region or to the United States.
 Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Bangladesh.
Outside of Bangladesh’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Bangladesh are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
 Frequently Asked questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Bangladesh
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Bangladesh?
- What is the electric current in Bangladesh?
- How much money should I bring?
- When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
- Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
- Do I need an international driver’s license?
- What should I bring as gifts for Bangladeshi friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Can I call home from Bangladesh?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
 Packing List
Main article: Packing List for Bangladesh
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Bangladesh and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80pound weight limit on baggage. Because you will acquire a lot of stuff during training (e.g., books, bedding, a mosquito net, and a medical kit), you should leave some space in your luggage for these items or plan to purchase an additional bag after you arrive in Bangladesh. Do not bring anything of great monetary or sentimental value, and consider obtaining insurance for valuable belongings before you leave the United States. Remember that you can get almost everything you need in Bangladesh. Cotton is the most comfortable material for clothing, including underwear, in hot and humid weather, but you may also want to bring some warmer clothes for travel (e.g., fleece). The tailors in Bangladesh will copy clothing for a reasonable price, so you might want to bring a few pictures or patterns with you. If you plan to go trekking in another country, such as Nepal or India, bring some hiking shoes or boots, preferably already broken in. Regular shoes can be purchased locally in sizes up to 9 for women and 10 for men.
- 1 General Clothing
- 2 For Women
- 3 For Men
- 4 Shoes
- 5 Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
- 6 Miscellaneous
 Peace Corps News
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 See also
Bengali Language and cultural orientation material made by the U.S. Peace Corps for volunteers.