Training in Vanuatu
From Peace Corps Wiki
Pre-service training provides trainees with 10 weeks of intense, entry-level language, cultural, technical, development, and personal security and health skills to function effectively as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Vanuatu. Training emphasizes building interpersonal skills and self-confidence, identifying and using local resources, and teaching relevant skills to host country counterparts. It will be the first “reality test” of life as a Volunteer, which will help you make an informed commitment when you are sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Vanuatu by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of your community and the country. The Peace Corps staff, Vanuatu experts, and current Volunteers 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 the general economic and political environment in Vanuatu and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Vanuatu 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.
The national language of Vanuatu is Bislama; this is the language you will learn during pre-service 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. Vanuatu language instructors teach formal language classes five days a week in small groups of four to five people.
Your language training incorporates a community-based approach. 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 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.
Although Bislama is the national language, there are many other local languages throughout Vanuatu. Although you will not be taught local languages during pre-service training, you are encouraged to learn the local language of your community during your service.
The culture of Vanuatu is diverse and fascinating. As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Ni-Vanuatu host family. This experience will 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 adapt to living in Vanuatu. 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, informal and adult education strategies, and political structures.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You are expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Trainees must attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you might encounter while in Vanuatu. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.
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.
Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps 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:
- In-service training (IST): Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language, and project development skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment after having served for three to six months.
- Midterm conference (done in conjunction with technical sector in-service): Helps Volunteers review their first year, reassess their personal and project objectives, and plan for their second year of service.
- Close of service (COS) 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, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.