Training in Bulgaria

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Training in Bulgaria
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Pre-service training will probably be the most intense period of your Peace Corps service, as you will need to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully serve as a Volunteer in just 10 weeks. While the training period will be extremely busy, it should also be a time of excitement, discovery, and self-fulfillment. The effort and challenges of adapting to a new culture will draw on your reserves of patience and humor but will be handsomely rewarded with a sense of belonging among new friends.
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See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

Prior to being sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will participate in an intensive 11-week training program. The training is conducted in Bulgaria and is based on adult learning principles. The training focuses on Bulgarian language study, cross-cultural adjustment and adaptation, health and personal safety, and development of technical skills.

Training will take place in a small community, where you will live with a host family and study the Bulgarian language with four or five other trainees. This community-based training involves a lot of experiential learning in which community members are called upon to cooperate in the training process. Periodically, you will join other trainees from your group at a hub site, where you will receive training in administrative, technical, medical, and safety matters.


[edit] Technical Training

Technical training will prepare you to work in Bulgaria by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Bulgarian experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to help communities help themselves and how to share your special skills.

Technical training will include sessions on the economic and political environment in Bulgaria and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Bulgarian agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive member of your community.

[edit] Language Training

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are the key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance; they help you integrate into your community, and they can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Therefore, language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Experienced Bulgarian language instructors teach formal language classes five days a week in small groups of four to five people. Peace Corps/Bulgaria has developed an extensive collection of language training resources designed specifically for Volunteers and their language learning needs. Your language training follows a community-based approach. You and about five fellow trainees will stay in a small community to learn Bulgarian with the help of the language instructor assigned to your group and with the support of your host family. This method immerses you in the language and allows you to acquire hands-on experience in the Bulgarian environment. The goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop language skills further once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your service.

If you accept the invitation to serve in Bulgaria, you will receive a URL address to access introductory Bulgarian language materials in the “My Toolkit” section found on the Peace Corps website. Peace Corps/Bulgaria recommends that you listen to the language materials in order to get acquainted with the sounds of the language and the Cyrillic alphabet before you arrive in Bulgaria.

[edit] Cross-Cultural Training

As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Bulgarian host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families go through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you to adapt to living in Bulgaria and learning to integrate into a Bulgarian community. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.

Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills and understand your role as a facilitator of development. You will be exposed to topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures.

[edit] Health Training

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 Bulgaria. Nutrition, mental health, responsible alcohol use, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.

[edit] Safety Training

During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.

[edit] Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service

In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, Peace Corps worldwide has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During service, there are usually three training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:

The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.

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