Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Romania" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Swaziland"

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{{Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles by country}}
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{{Diversity and cross-cultural issues by country}}
===Communications ===
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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years.  Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.
  
====Mail ====
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Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Swaziland, 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 Swaziland.
  
Mail service in Romania is quite reliable. Mail from the United States takes a minimum of one to two weeks to arrive. Advise your family and friends to write “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes.  
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Outside of Swaziland’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 Swaziland 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.  
  
Your mailing address during pre-service training (for letters only) will be:
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To ease the transition and adapt to life in Swaziland, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.
  
“Your Name” <BR>
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Peace Corps/Swaziland has an active diversity committee consisting of Volunteers interested in promoting diversity and assisting fellow Volunteers with diversity challenges.  
Peace Corps/Romania <BR>
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Str. Negustori, Nr. 16 <BR>
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Sector 2, Bucharest <BR>
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023954 Romania
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Do not have packages sent to you during the 10-week training period. All packages go to a central post office in Bucharest, and you must pick them up personally to prove who you are and pay the customs fees. This will be virtually impossible for you to do during training and the Peace Corps cannot do it for you, so you could lose anything that is sent. The Peace Corps will forward letters sent to the Peace Corps office in Bucharest to the training site on a regular basis. Once you have been sworn-in as a Volunteer, you will have your own mailing address at your new site. Express mail from the United States is becoming more common, and DHL, UPS, and World Express all offer services in Romania.
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===Overview of Diversity in Swaziland ===
  
====Alternatives to Mail ====
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The Peace Corps staff in Swaziland recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, religions, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.
  
Since the U.S. Postal Service ceased the surface shipping service worldwide in May 2007, sending goods overseas can seem prohibitively expensive. However, viable, economical options do exist to Romania. 
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===What Might a Volunteer Face? ===
  
Romanian-born Americans have a very strong tradition of sending parcels back to family and friends in Romania. Because of the high volumes involved, a number of independent small shipping companies have cropped up in areas of the United States with concentrations of Romanian immigrants. Particularly strong in Chicago and Detroit, such agents also exist in other places.
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====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers ====
  
The cost is in the range of $0.80 to $1.20 per pound. An additional advantage is that because the duties are paid in advance by the sender there is no need for the recipients to go to the vama (customs office) to claim the packages. They are therefore delivered directly to the home/work site in Romania without further cost.
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Men and women are expected to fulfill distinct roles and responsibilities in Swazi culture, and women are traditionally regarded as members of a legal minority. In rural areas especially, female Volunteers may find extremely conservative attitudes regarding gender equality. Likewise, the behavior of female Volunteers is scrutinized or criticized more often than is the behavior of male Volunteers. Although the Peace Corps encourages understanding of and sensitivity toward other cultures, it may occasionally be necessary to explain or defend why you believe something or behave a certain way. In addition, you may often be asked about your marital status and receive marriage proposals, professions of love, and other unwanted attention from men.  
  
The most recent list of known shippers is contained in the [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PeaceCorpsRomania/files/ Files Section] of the "peacecorpsromania" Yahoo Group.
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color ====
  
====Telephones ====
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Most Swazis in cities and towns are aware of the different racial and ethnic groups that exist in the United States, but people in rural areas are not likely to have this level of awareness. Volunteers who are African, Asian, or Hispanic American may not be recognized as Americans. African Americans may be expected to learn local languages more quickly and may be more readily accepted into the culture than other Volunteers; on the other hand, they may be less readily accepted because of their Western cultural heritage.  Asian Americans may be expected to exhibit stereotypical behavior Swazis have observed in films, which is sometimes referred to as the “kung fu syndrome.” In addition, the presence of Asian merchants in the country may have an impact on how Asian-American Volunteers are perceived or treated.
  
Telephone service in Romania is not as reliable as what you are accustomed to in the United States, although it is improving in most places, especially as mobile phone services increase. Sprint, MCI, and AT&T provide international long-distance services in Romania, and you can access such services from public phones or post office phones. Regular long-distance calls from private phones are possible but expensive. Many Volunteers purchase their own mobile phones as the best option for making calls. Prepaid cards that offer a variety of discounts for both telephone and Internet access are available locally.
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====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
  
Cell phones purchased in the US '''may''' work in Romania, provided they are unlocked to accept out-of-network SIM cards and are tri-/quad-band phones
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In Swaziland, older members of society are viewed and treated with a great deal of respect. Younger Volunteers may have to work harder than their older colleagues to be accepted as professionals. Swazi counterparts may be surprised by the amount of energy and physical fitness demonstrated by senior Volunteers. They may also be curious or puzzled about why a senior female Volunteer seems to have no spouse or children, even if she has the pictures to prove otherwise.  Because most Volunteers are under 30, it may be difficult for older Volunteers to find friends and support among the most accessible group—other Peace Corps Volunteers.  
compatible with Romanian frequencies. Many volunteers with internet access find Skype (also available in netcafes) to be a superior option.
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====Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access ====
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====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers ====
  
Many Volunteers find having their own laptop computer very useful. Access to the Internet is available at some organizations, though some will have older, slower systems.  
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Gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers should know that Swaziland has a very conservative society. Homosexuality certainly exists in Swaziland but not with the same level of acceptance as in the United States. Local media frequently portrays homosexuality in a very negative light. Most Swazi homosexuals and bisexuals are likely to have migrated to the larger cities, while most Volunteers are posted in rural sites.  Because of Swazi cultural norms, you will not be able to be open about your sexual orientation in your community. You may serve for two years without meeting another homosexual or bisexual Volunteer, and there may be little support for your sexual orientation within the Volunteer social scene. Lesbians, like all American women, may have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex, while gay men may have to deal with machismo: talk of sexual conquests, girl watching, and dirty jokes.
  
If you decide to bring a laptop, we advise you to insure it against breakage and theft. The Peace Corps will not reimburse any expenses for repairs or lost or stolen equipment; nor does it provide technical support to Volunteers. If you choose to obtain Internet service where you live, you will have to pay for it out of your living allowance. Refurbished desktop computers with warranties can be bought in some Romanian cities for $200 to $300. There are also cybercafes at which you can access the Internet (at varying connection speeds).
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'''See also:''' Articles about Swaziland on the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Peace Corps Alumni Association website at http://www.lgbrpcv.org/articles.htm
  
===Housing and Site Location ===
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====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
  
You will live with a Romanian family in your assigned site for one to two months after being sworn-in as a Volunteer. Living with a family will give you an anchor in your new community.  
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The vast majority of Swazis have some religious affiliation and attend church regularly. Both Christian and non-Christian Volunteers may be expected to attend church with members of their community. You may be asked if you are Christian or why you do not belong to a certain Christian denomination, if you have been “saved,” and other questions you may consider to be a personal matter. Although this behavior may take some getting used to, you are sure to find effective ways to cope with these challenges and gain a deeper understanding of the Swazi people.  
  
The connection to a family will help ensure your safety and security as well as integrate you into the community.
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities ====
  
Through this experience, you will improve your language skills and gain a better understanding of Romanian culture and the norms of your local community. After your initial months at site with a Romanian family, you and your host organization will locate appropriate permanent housing for you.  
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There is very little infrastructure in Swaziland to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Disabled Volunteers may find living in rural communities particularly challenging.  Nevertheless, the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Swaziland without unreasonable risk to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/Swaziland staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in projects, training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.  
  
Your host organization will identify housing for you that meets Peace Corps standards for safety, privacy, a healthy environment, and proximity to shopping and work. The Peace Corps asks host organizations to provide housing, but contributes part of or even the entire rental cost, if necessary. The populations of towns and cities where Volunteers live range from 5,000 to 300,000, and the type and availability of housing varies accordingly. Volunteers serve throughout Romania except in Bucharest, and there are regional differences in housing as well. The most common accommodation is a small, one-room apartment in a large building.
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====Possible Issues for Married Volunteers ====
  
In rural communities, there are often only single-floor houses and privacy can become a difficult matter. If assigned to a rural community, you may need to live with a host family for the entire two years of your service.  
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Married couples who serve together in the Peace Corps are in a unique situation. While they benefit from having a constant companion to provide support, they may have differing expectations of service. One spouse may be more enthusiastic, homesick, or adaptable than the other. Spouses often experience differing levels of language ability, acceptance by their community, or job satisfaction. A wife may be expected by Swazis to perform certain domestic chores and may find herself in a less independent role than she is accustomed to.  A husband may feel cultural pressure to act as the dominant member in the relationship and to make decisions without considering his wife’s views.  
  
In the winter, you may lack central heating, hot water, and perhaps cooking gas, which are controlled by the government.  Electricity is usually reliable. The availability of hot water depends upon the town in which you live. Many towns have hot water every other day for two to three hours. The Peace Corps supplies electric space heaters to Volunteers who need them.
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[[Category:Swaziland]]
 
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If you choose to move into your own housing, Peace Corps must ensure that it meets our housing criteria. This includes safety, private space, healthy environment, proximity to shopping and work, basic furniture with cooking space, and a private bathroom.
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===Living Allowance and Money Management ===
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You will receive a monthly living allowance in Romanian lei, which the Peace Corps will transfer by wire directly into your bank account. The exchange rate in February 2008 was approximately 2.51 RON (Romanian New Lei) to the dollar. The living allowance is intended to cover the costs of food, utilities, household supplies, clothing, recreation and entertainment, local transportation, reading materials, and other incidentals. The Peace Corps discourages you from supplementing your living allowance with additional money from home. You are expected to live in an unpretentious manner in order to fit in with your community.
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Credit cards can be used on a limited basis in Bucharest and other large cities—usually only at expensive restaurants, shops, and hotels (do not let them out of your sight, accompany the clerk/waiter to the machine to scan the card). Bank ATMs are quite common throughout Romania and most of them support withdrawals from stateside bank accounts, but check with the issuing bank before going. Personal checks cannot be cashed in Romania, so it is advisable to bring some pristine American currency (worn or old notes or those with marks of any kind may not be accepted) in $10 and $20 denominations for vacation travel. Exchange bureaus in Romania will not change $1 bills and may not change $5 bills.  Traveler’s checks are another option for vacation travel, yet are not commonly accepted in Eastern Europe.
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===Food and Diet ===
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The variety of food in Romania is steadily increasing, especially in larger towns. In the summer, fresh vegetables and fruits of very good quality are widely available. In the winter, apples, oranges, and bananas are likely to be available, but there are fewer fresh vegetables. Meat and bread are the predominant foods in the Romanian diet and are usually eaten at every meal. As the Romanian economy moves toward a free market, the availability of imported foods is increasing dramatically, although the imports are more expensive than locally produced items. American and local fast-food restaurants also exist in many parts of the country.
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Vegetarians may have a difficult time in Romania during the winter months when fewer fresh vegetables are available.  They may need to adjust their diet to stay healthy. In addition, being offered meals heavy on meat will be a challenge when visiting Romanian families.
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===Transportation ===
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Getting around via train, bus, or “maxi-taxi” is usually quite easy and reliable, albeit often slow, and the costs are reasonable. Some Volunteers may have a 12- to 14-hour train ride to travel to the Peace Corps office in Bucharest.  Volunteers in Romania are not allowed to own or drive cars or motorcycles, or to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, for any reason.
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International train and air service is readily available. The Peace Corps encourages you to travel within Romania or to other countries in eastern and central Europe on your vacations to enhance your understanding of the country and the region.
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Some transportation websites in Romania include the following:
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[http://www.cdy.ro/home.php C&I Personal Transportation Minibus]
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[http://cfr.ro Mersul Ternurilor Train Schedule]
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===Geography and Climate ===
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Romania is the largest central European country after Ukraine. The Danube River forms its southern border, and the U-shaped Transylvanian Alps and Carpathian Mountains extend through much of the central and northern regions. An eroded plateau with hills and valleys occupies the center of the U, while the Moldavian plateau lies to the east. Mountains account for about a third of Romania, with alpine pastures in the higher regions and thick forests below. Another third is covered by lower hills dotted with orchards and vineyards.  The final third, mostly in the south and east, is an agricultural plain.
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Romania has long winters (lasting from mid-November through March), a delightful spring (April through May), a hot summer (June through August), and a beautiful autumn (September through mid-November). The winter months can be extremely cold and windy, especially in the mountains and the northern part of the country. The summer months can be very hot and humid, especially in the lowland areas. Rainfall is heaviest from April through July, averaging five inches in June.
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===Social Activities ===
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The cultural and social life of Romania is one of its most enjoyable aspects. You will have opportunities to attend inexpensive concerts, operas, and ballets, some of which are outstanding. The works of Shakespeare are performed alongside those of contemporary foreign authors and classic Romanian writers such as Ion Luca Caragiale. Cinemas in larger towns often show English-language films with Romanian subtitles. Entertainment at your site will depend on the town’s size. Some sites have a cinema and various sporting activities. Soccer, basketball, handball, tennis, and karate are the most popular. Dance clubs and discos also exist in most sizable towns. For winter activities, you can ski in the mountains or ice skate at local rinks. During the summer, visiting the Black Sea coast and hiking in the mountains are favorite forms of recreation. Many social activities center around the family, and you will be invited to many family events at your site.
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===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ===
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One of the challenges for you as a Peace Corps Volunteer is fitting into the local culture while maintaining your own cultural identity and acting as a professional all at the same time. Your appearance at work can help set the appropriate tone and make your adjustment to your site easier. Romanians tend to dress up more for the office than Americans do, partly because it’s a luxury to be able to do so after so many years of communist rule. Because of this, they may react negatively to the equally extreme casualness of some American dress, such as baggy jeans. While you are at work, you will demonstrate respect and win credibility if you dress in a professional manner, as they do. Most of the people you work with will not have expensive clothes, or large quantities of clothes. For Volunteers, in most cases, pressed shirts, slacks, skirts and sweaters are fine. A suit or sports jacket or a dressy dress or skirt will be needed for special occasions.
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Observing what your co-workers wear is the best way to identify the appropriate dress code for different situations. As in the United States, people in larger cities tend to dress more formally than those in smaller cities and towns. Your program sector may also influence how you dress. Environment Volunteers can wear more casual clothes at work but still need some formal clothes for meetings with agencies and certain school activities. Community economic development and institutional development Volunteers dress in business-casual or business clothes, the latter meaning jackets and ties for men and dresses, skirts or pants with tops, or suits for women. In some organizations, particularly in smaller cities, jeans for men and women are the norm, except when meeting with authorities or attending special events. TEFL Volunteers work in schools, where women wear dresses and skirts or pants with tops and men wear slacks with shirts and sweaters (and sometimes ties). Younger Volunteers will boost their professional demeanor by dressing somewhat more conservatively than they might in the States.
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===Personal Safety ===
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More information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is outlined in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Romania Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security incidents. The most common crime reported by many foreigners and tourists in Romania is pickpocketing. The next most common street crime involves the non-existent "Tourist Police." No plainclothes police officers will ever approach you on the streets. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be reviewed once you arrive in Romania. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
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===Rewards and Frustrations ===
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The Peace Corps experience can be described as a series of emotional peaks and valleys that occur as you adapt to a new culture and environment. The potential for being productive and satisfied with your service is high, but so is the probability of being frustrated. Your school or organization may not always provide the support that you want, or it may not be sure about what it wants you to do. The pace and focus of life and work may be different from what you expect, and many people will be reluctant to change age-old practices.
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On the positive side, you will be given a high degree of responsibility and independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you have had. You will find yourself in situations that require an ability to motivate yourself and your co-workers with little support or guidance from supervisors.  You may work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving any supportive feedback on, your work. Development is a slow process. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.
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To overcome these difficulties, you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness. Romanians are warm, friendly, and hospitable, and the Peace Corps staff, your co-workers, and fellow Volunteers will support you during times of challenge as well as in moments of success.  Judging by the experience of former Volunteers, the peaks are well worth the difficult times, and most Volunteers leave Romania feeling that they have gained much more than they gave during their service. If you make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, you will be a successful and satisfied Volunteer.
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[[Category:Romania]]
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Latest revision as of 12:37, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.

Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Swaziland, 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 Swaziland.

Outside of Swaziland’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 Swaziland 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.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in Swaziland, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.

Peace Corps/Swaziland has an active diversity committee consisting of Volunteers interested in promoting diversity and assisting fellow Volunteers with diversity challenges.

Overview of Diversity in Swaziland[edit]

The Peace Corps staff in Swaziland recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, religions, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

What Might a Volunteer Face?[edit]

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers[edit]

Men and women are expected to fulfill distinct roles and responsibilities in Swazi culture, and women are traditionally regarded as members of a legal minority. In rural areas especially, female Volunteers may find extremely conservative attitudes regarding gender equality. Likewise, the behavior of female Volunteers is scrutinized or criticized more often than is the behavior of male Volunteers. Although the Peace Corps encourages understanding of and sensitivity toward other cultures, it may occasionally be necessary to explain or defend why you believe something or behave a certain way. In addition, you may often be asked about your marital status and receive marriage proposals, professions of love, and other unwanted attention from men.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color[edit]

Most Swazis in cities and towns are aware of the different racial and ethnic groups that exist in the United States, but people in rural areas are not likely to have this level of awareness. Volunteers who are African, Asian, or Hispanic American may not be recognized as Americans. African Americans may be expected to learn local languages more quickly and may be more readily accepted into the culture than other Volunteers; on the other hand, they may be less readily accepted because of their Western cultural heritage. Asian Americans may be expected to exhibit stereotypical behavior Swazis have observed in films, which is sometimes referred to as the “kung fu syndrome.” In addition, the presence of Asian merchants in the country may have an impact on how Asian-American Volunteers are perceived or treated.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers[edit]

In Swaziland, older members of society are viewed and treated with a great deal of respect. Younger Volunteers may have to work harder than their older colleagues to be accepted as professionals. Swazi counterparts may be surprised by the amount of energy and physical fitness demonstrated by senior Volunteers. They may also be curious or puzzled about why a senior female Volunteer seems to have no spouse or children, even if she has the pictures to prove otherwise. Because most Volunteers are under 30, it may be difficult for older Volunteers to find friends and support among the most accessible group—other Peace Corps Volunteers.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers[edit]

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual Volunteers should know that Swaziland has a very conservative society. Homosexuality certainly exists in Swaziland but not with the same level of acceptance as in the United States. Local media frequently portrays homosexuality in a very negative light. Most Swazi homosexuals and bisexuals are likely to have migrated to the larger cities, while most Volunteers are posted in rural sites. Because of Swazi cultural norms, you will not be able to be open about your sexual orientation in your community. You may serve for two years without meeting another homosexual or bisexual Volunteer, and there may be little support for your sexual orientation within the Volunteer social scene. Lesbians, like all American women, may have to deal with constant questions about boyfriends, marriage, and sex, while gay men may have to deal with machismo: talk of sexual conquests, girl watching, and dirty jokes.

See also: Articles about Swaziland on the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Peace Corps Alumni Association website at http://www.lgbrpcv.org/articles.htm

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers[edit]

The vast majority of Swazis have some religious affiliation and attend church regularly. Both Christian and non-Christian Volunteers may be expected to attend church with members of their community. You may be asked if you are Christian or why you do not belong to a certain Christian denomination, if you have been “saved,” and other questions you may consider to be a personal matter. Although this behavior may take some getting used to, you are sure to find effective ways to cope with these challenges and gain a deeper understanding of the Swazi people.

Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities[edit]

There is very little infrastructure in Swaziland to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Disabled Volunteers may find living in rural communities particularly challenging. Nevertheless, the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable of performing a full tour of Volunteer service in Swaziland without unreasonable risk to yourself or interruption of your service. Peace Corps/Swaziland staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations in projects, training, housing, job sites, and other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.

Possible Issues for Married Volunteers[edit]

Married couples who serve together in the Peace Corps are in a unique situation. While they benefit from having a constant companion to provide support, they may have differing expectations of service. One spouse may be more enthusiastic, homesick, or adaptable than the other. Spouses often experience differing levels of language ability, acceptance by their community, or job satisfaction. A wife may be expected by Swazis to perform certain domestic chores and may find herself in a less independent role than she is accustomed to. A husband may feel cultural pressure to act as the dominant member in the relationship and to make decisions without considering his wife’s views.