Training in Morocco
From Peace Corps Wiki
Training is an essential part of Peace Corps service. The goal is to give you enough skills and information to enable you to live and work effectively in Morocco. In doing so, we build upon the experiences and expertise you bring to the Peace Corps. We anticipate that you will approach training with an open mind, a desire to learn, and a willingness to become involved. Trainees officially become Volunteers after successful completion of training.
The 11-week training program provides you the opportunity to learn new skills and practice them as they apply to Morocco. You will receive training and orientation that integrates components of language, cross-cultural communication, area studies, development issues, health and personal safety, and technical skills pertinent to your specific assignment. Trainees work together as a group and have a chance to experience local culture and customs on their own during a stay with a host family and community-based technical training.
When you arrive in-country, you will spend the first four days in Rabat and then travel to a sector-specific seminar site. While in Rabat, you will be welcomed by the Country Director and receive an overview of Peace Corps in Morocco, be introduced to your programâs training staff, receive vaccinations, and participate in introductory sessions on safety and security, cross-culture, and technical aspects of your sector program. Next you will travel overland to your seminar site where you will begin learning one of three Moroccan languages and Arabic script. After the first week, you will leave the seminar site and begin community-based training (CBT). During this phase of training, groups of 5-6 trainees learning the same language will be assigned to continue training in a pre-selected village. At your CBT site, you will live with a host family. Staying with a host family will bring to life some of the topics covered in training, giving you a chance to practice your new language skills and directly observe and participate in Moroccan culture. Throughout the training period you will be spending some time at the seminar site (approximately 30 % of your time) and the majority of your time at the community-based training (approximately 70% of your time). Bring a small travel bag so that you donât have to bring all of your luggage, each time you move from the seminar site to the CBT site. For the final week of training, all trainees will be brought together at a common training site where, upon completion of the final sessions, you will be sworn in as a Volunteer.
At the onset of pre-service training, staff will outline your goals and the criteria that will be used to assess your progress. Evaluation of your performance during training is a continual process of dialogue between you and the training staff. Staff will work with you toward the highest possible achievement of training goals by providing you feedback throughout training. After successfully completing pre-service training, you will make the final preparations for departure to your site.
Technical training prepares you to work in Morocco 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, Moroccan experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.
Technical training includes sessions on sector-specific trends and how to translate and use your skills to work effectively in your community. You will review your technical sectorâs goals and will meet with the Moroccan agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will be supported and evaluated by staff throughout training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive member of your community.
Training can be intense and is sometimes stressful. The best advice we can give you is to maintain your sense of humor while trying to get as much out of pre-service training as possible. The Peace Corps believes that all of the information and experience you gain are crucial to your success as a Volunteer.
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. Moroccan language and culture facilitators teach formal classes six days a week in small groups of five or six people.
In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family.
The goal is to get you to have basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop language skills further on your own. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service. After you settle in at your site, the Peace Corps will provide funds for a language tutor. As Nelson Mandela has said, âIf you talk to a man in a language that he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.â
Four major languages are spoken in Morocco: Moroccan Arabic (Derija) and the Berber dialects Tashelheit, Tamazight, and Tarifit. For the most part, Moroccans who work for the government have pursued their secondary and university studies in French. Moroccans may also use French at their jobs. The Peace Corps therefore highly recommends that Volunteers begin studying or reviewing French before coming to Morocco.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Moroccan host family. This experience will ease your transition to life at your site. Families have gone through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Morocco. 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 learn the social and behavioral skills needed to enter your community and function in a culture significantly different from your own. You will be exposed to topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures.
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 Morocco. Setting up a safe living compound, bicycle maintenance, fuel safety, nutrition, water treatment, mental health, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.
Safety and Security 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 to cope with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service.
Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides trainees and Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During your service, there are usually three training events. The titles and objectives for those trainings are as follows:
- In-service training: Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language, and project development skills while sharing their experiences with fellow Volunteers and Moroccan counterparts.
- Mid-service conference: During mid-service physical exam time, Volunteers will have the opportunity to meet together, reflect on their first year in Morocco, and start planning the second year of service.
- Close of service conference: Prepares Volunteers for the future after Peace Corps service and reviews their respective projects and personal experiences. 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. Training is planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.