Training in Guyana
You will participate in eight weeks of pre-service training, which will take place primarily in communities outside of Georgetown. Training will focus on four interrelated components—cross-cultural understanding, technical training, health, and safety/security issues. Pre-service training also includes opportunities for continuous assessment, by both trainees and training staff, of trainees’ progress in cultural adjustment and adoption of technical skills.
Most of your training—Mondays through Wednesdays—will be done in the villages that serve as training sites. Currently, these sites are on the east bank of Demerara and roughly a half-hour ride by public transport to the city. On a weekly or biweekly basis, trainees will have sessions in Georgetown, giving them the opportunity to become familiar with the city.
A large portion of training deals with broad aspects of cross-cultural understanding, adaptation, and the role of Peace Corps Volunteers in development. This part of training is common to all Volunteers regardless of your technical project. To be effective on the job and have a personally satisfying service, it helps to become less of an outsider to the Guyanese. Trainers will work with you—individually and in groups—to help you adapt to the new culture and be ready for your eventual assignment.
You will also learn to understand Guyanese Creole, or Creolese. The training staff will help you identify words and phrases heard in everyday conversations. You will practice Creolese idioms and gestures and learn the common proverbs and folktales that enrich Creolese communications.
The second component, technical training, will be tailored to your job requirements. You will learn new skills and how to modify existing skills to work in the Guyanese environment. Much of technical training will be hands-on. The Peace Corps staff, Guyanese experts, and current Volunteers will conduct the technical training, which places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Guyanese 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 adapt to living in Guyana. Many trainees form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
Peace Corps/Guyana expects that you will respect the customs of your host family’s household, such as eating what the family eats without expecting special treatment (with appropriate exceptions for vegetarians and people with food allergies) and adhering to the household’s customary hours. You will be considered a member of the family, not a boarder.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You will be expected to practice preventive healthcare 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 Guyana. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other STIs 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 your service, there are usually two 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 and reaffirming their commitment after having served for three to six months.
- 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, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.