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|Languages= [[Kazakh]], [[Russian]]
|Languages= [[Kazakh]], [[Russian]]
Revision as of 22:28, 26 April 2009
|Peace Corps Welcome Book|
Kazakhstan was the second largest republic of the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union was dismantled, Kazakhstan declared its independence in December 1991. The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Kazakhstan in July 1993, and since then Volunteers have been helping people and communities make the difficult transition from communism to a free-market economy.
Just as importantly, Peace Corps Volunteers are engaging in a variety of cross-cultural exchanges that are helping Americans and Kazakhstanis gain a better understanding about each other's histories, languages, and cultures.
In collaboration with government ministries, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Peace Corps Volunteers in Kazakhstan work in two program areas: education and organizational and community assistance.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan
Since the first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Kazakhstan in 1993, approximately 700 Volunteers have served here. The first group consisted of 50 English language and economic development Volunteers.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles
Main article: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Kazakhstan
You will live with a host family for the first six months of your service in addition to staying with a host family during pre-service training. Depending on your site placement, you may continue to live with a host family or move to a dorm or apartment. There are many sites in smaller communities where independent living is not an option, so some Volunteers will stay with families for the duration of their service. If you feel you cannot live with a host family for this period of time, you should consider carefully whether you wish to accept this assignment in Kazakhstan.
There are many benefits to staying with a host family, including companionship upon arrival at site, faster acquisition of the local language, and improved integration into the local community. Aspects of host-family living that Volunteers may find challenging include the lack of privacy and independence and eating local cuisine. Volunteers are not allowed to supplement their living allowance to live in an accommodation above the level acceptable for a Volunteer.
Main article: Training in Kazakhstan
Your Peace Corps training begins in the United States during pre-departure orientation, when you come together as a group to prepare for your flight to Kazakhstan. When you arrive in Almaty, you will be met at the airport and transported by bus to your training site. Pre-service training lasts 12 weeks and consists of Kazakh and Russian language instruction, cross-cultural awareness, health and personal safety, and technical skills—depending on your assignment. Pre-service training emphasizes experiential learning in which you take responsibility for your own learning. Training is an immersion model—that is, being immersed in the local living and work conditions. During your first week in-country, you will move in with a host family selected by the Peace Corps. Expect to deal with the frustrations of language barriers and cultural differences from the start. Expect to deal with frustrations due to lack of e-mail, telephones, copy machines, and computers. Training will prepare you for your first three to six months at site and the techniques for continued individual learning. It is also the time for you to make an informed two-year commitment to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan.
Your Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health Care and Safety in Kazakhstan
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. The Peace Corps in Kazakhstan maintains a clinic with full-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported to either an American medical facility in the region or to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics considered familiar and commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed.
Outside of Kazakhstan’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Kazakhstan 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 differences that you present. Volunteers need to be supportive of one another.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities
Frequently Asked questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Kazakhstan
- How much luggage will I be allowed to bring to Kazakhstan?
- What is the electric current in Kazakhstan?
- 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 Kazakhstan friends and my host family?
- Where will my site assignment be when I finish and how isolated will I be?
- How can my family contact me in an emergency?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing List for Kazakhstan
Having received input from a number of current Volunteers, it is safe to say that everyone agrees that you can buy everything that you need in Kazakhstan and that bringing less is actually better. With that caveat, this section contains several lists of the “basics” and the most common recommendations from Volunteers.
Remember you have a 100-pound baggage weight restriction and that Kazakhstanis have been living here for centuries without imports!
During training, you will primarily need “business casual” attire, though there are occasions (such as the swearing-in ceremony) when more formal attire is appropriate (jackets for men, dresses/skirts for women).
- General Clothing
- For Men
- For Women
- Clothing Colors
- Medical Supplies
- Cooking Supplies
- Office Supplies
- Gifts for Host Families
- Saving Money
Peace Corps News
PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
( As of Monday May 20, 2013 )
Contributions to the Kazakhstan Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Kazakhstan. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Kazakhstan
- Inspector General Reports
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- List of resources for Kazakhstan