Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Morocco" and "Costa Rica"

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{{Living_conditions_and_volunteer_lifestyles_by_country}}
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{{CountryboxAlternative
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|Countryname= Costa Rica
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|CountryCode = cs
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|status= [[ACTIVE]]
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|Flag= Flag_of_Costa_Rica.svg
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|Welcomebooklink = http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/crwb515.pdf
 +
|Region= [[Central America and Mexico]]
 +
|CountryDirector= [[Steven Dorsey]]
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|Program & Training Officer = [[Amanda Rabinowitz]]
 +
|Sectors= [[Rural Community Development]]<br> ([[APCD]]: [[Moises Leon]])<br> [[Youth Development]] <br>([[APCD]]: [[Carolina Suarez]])<br> [[Micro-Enterprise Development]] <br>([[APCD]]: [[Luis Mata]])
 +
|ProgramDates= [[1963]] - [[Present]]
 +
|CurrentlyServing=
 +
|TotalVolunteers= 3148
 +
|Languages= [[Spanish]]
 +
|Map= Cs-map.gif
 +
|stagingdate= Oct 4 2010
 +
|stagingcity= Washington, DC
 +
}}
  
 +
Since 1963, Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Costa Rica in a variety of projects including health, education, environment, agriculture, small business development, and youth development. During Peace Corps' history in Costa Rica, its projects have changed to respond and adapt to the needs and challenges of Costa Rica and its people.
  
==Communications ==
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In many respects, Costa Rica has attained impressive levels of social and economic development, manifesting a high level of material progress. However, under this surface, growing social ills threaten to diminish the country's gains in education, democracy, and healthcare. Peace Corps' presence in Costa Rica focuses on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations throughout the country strengthening agencies and communities to serve these populations.
  
During pre-service training, you will receive mail at the Peace Corps/Morocco office, which will forward mail to the training site at least once a week. Please do not have packages sent to you during training. After you are assigned to your permanent site, you will receive mail at a local post office or at your workplace. Packages should be sent directly to your site after training. Depending on the distance to your site from Rabat, mail may take anywhere from three days to three weeks to get to you.  
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Costa Rica has three projects functioning at this time, rural community development, children, youth, and families, and micro enterprise development. The youth project aims to increase educational and training opportunities for youth, youth organizations, and community volunteers by strengthening the institutional capacity and community outreach of Costa Rica's Ministry of Child Welfare, PANI (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia). The rural community development project focuses on: organizational strengthening of local associations, development committees and other groups; increasing economic opportunities in the rural areas, especially for women's groups and rural youth; on educational enrichment activities with children, youth and adults in collaboration with the National Office of Community Development.  
  
Your mailing address during training will be:
 
  
"Your Name", Trainee <br>
 
s/c Corps de la Paix <br>
 
2, rue Abou Marouane Essaadi <br>
 
Agdal, Rabat 10100, MOROCCO <br>
 
  
 +
==Peace Corps History==
  
It normally takes 10 to 12 days for an airmail letter to arrive from the United States. Surface mail takes from one to four months. Mail that goes through the Moroccan post office is subject to customs inspection, censorship, and currency control. Advise your friends and relatives that mail delivery is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly. Also, they should never send cash through the mail, as it will seldom reach you. Please check the U.S. Post Service website at www.usps.com for the latest updates on how best to send your letter or package.  Currently, the USPS recommends air Parcel Post (not surface mail) for packages, or airmail for letters.
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''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Costa Rica]]''
  
Although having packages sent from home is not recommended because of the unreliability of mail service and the customs fees, if you do have packages sent, brown padded envelopes work well. Make sure they have the green customs label and are marked as gifts, which should prevent the imposition of fees. It is best to wait to have packages sent until you know your permanent address. Again, please do not have your family send you packages during pre-service training.  
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Since 1963, more than 2,200 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Costa Rica in a variety of projects in the areas of health, education, the environment, community development, agriculture, small business development, and youth development. Throughout the program’s existence in Costa Rica, Volunteers have been consistently well received by the Costa Rican people and local counterpart agencies.
  
==Telephones ==
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The children, youth, and families project was the primary sector of the Peace Corps/Costa Rica program from 1998 through 2002. In 2003, a second project in rural community development began; it focuses on the poorest rural communities in the country. And now in 2005, we are opening a third project in the area of micro-enterprise development to address the needs of a mostly rural population.
  
Telephone and telegraph services are available in all parts of the country. Volunteers in larger cities may have a telephone in their home. Many Volunteers purchase inexpensive cellphones in Morocco, an expense that is not covered by the Peace Corps. Public telephones (called teleboutiques) suitable for making direct-dial international calls exist in most towns. Collect calls can be made only at a post and telecommunications office, and you should anticipate a wait.  AT&T and MCI calling cards work in Morocco.
 
  
The Peace Corps office in Morocco can be reached by direct dialing from the United States. During normal working hours, the office number (from most states) is 011.212.3.768-3780, and a duty officer monitors calls for emergencies after office hours. Volunteers are not permitted to use telephones at the Peace Corps/Morocco office to call family or friends unless the call pertains to an emergency and is approved in advance by the country director.
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==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles==
  
==Computer, E-mail, and Internet Access ==
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''Main article: [[Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Costa Rica]]''
  
Volunteers, typically, are able to access e-mail and the Internet at cybercafes. Cybercafes are affordable, generally reliable and can be found in increasing numbers in just about any town or city. Most Volunteers do not have a cyber café at their site, but most are within a few hours’ travel from one.  The Volunteer lounge at the Peace Corps office in Rabat is equipped with two computers, both with Internet access, and a printer reserved for Volunteer use. Volunteers are not allowed to use staff computers.  
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Currently, there are Volunteers in all parts of the country: the Central Valley, Limón on the Caribbean coast, Puntarenas on the Pacific coast, as far north as Los Chiles near the Nicaraguan border, and as far south as Paso Canoas on the Panama border. While sites vary in size, climate, and distance to downtown San José (from 20 minutes to eight hours by bus), each has been preselected by the Peace Corps in consultation with relevant host country agencies as being a community where a Volunteer will find plenty of work opportunities and support.
  
Some Volunteers bring their laptop computers, but they are responsible for insuring and maintaining the computers themselves. The Peace Corps will not replace stolen computers and strongly encourages those who bring them to get personal property insurance.  
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Volunteers in the children, youth, and families project live in urban, semi-urban, or rural communities. While Volunteers in the community development and micro-enterprise development projects will live in rural/semi-rural communities. Volunteers in urban sites usually have access via a short bus ride to services such as banks, post offices, and hospitals. Volunteers in more rural areas have to take a longer bus ride to the nearest large town to mail letters or cash checks. Some sites are converted squatter settlements made up of a combination of tin and wood shacks, but most sites have recently built two- or three-room cement block buildings with corrugated steel roofs. All Volunteer houses have cold running water and electricity, and most have phones. In all communities, you will find a church, a school, and general stores (pulperías) that sell staples such as rice, black beans, tuna, soap, soft drinks, and snack food.
  
==Housing and Site Location ==
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During training, you will live with a family selected by the training staff in one of several training communities. During your first year of service, you are also required to live with a family in your assigned community. This promotes your integration into the community, increases your language skills, and helps ensure your safety. The families are recommended by community leaders and approved by your program manager. Requests to live independently during the second year are approved on a case-by-case basis.
  
You will be assigned to your permanent site towards the end of pre-service training. After your site announcement, you will visit your assigned site to meet your counterparts and other members of your community. Once you move to the site, you will spend your first two months living with a host family that has been chosen by the Peace Corps. This family has prepared for your arrival and will provide you with a safe and secure place to live while you continue to learn the language and adapt to the culture. An additional objective of this period is to help you integrate more effectively into the community.  
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The family you stay with, which is likely to include children, will probably have a home modest in size and comfort. While the Peace Corps requests that Volunteers be given their own room, you may find that its walls do not reach the ceiling or are very thin. It is important to remember that the concept of individual space in Costa Rica is different from that in America. While some Volunteers find living with a family frustrating at times, they also concede that it is an enriching way to experience a new culture and develop an awareness of its values.
  
After the mandatory two-month stay with a Moroccan family, you are free to change your housing, in accordance with the Peace Corps’ safety and security criteria (see the chapter on Health Care and Safety). The Peace Corps will give you a modest settling-in allowance to purchase household necessities such as a stove, dishes, and furniture. Peace Corps will provide additional items, such as a carbon monoxide detector and water filter, if necessary. Volunteers in areas that experience unbearably cold winters can be reimbursed for the purchase of an appropriate heater. Depending on the site, Volunteer housing generally consists of two or more rooms and private bath and latrine facilities. Some Volunteers live in family compounds with one or two private rooms for their use.  
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While you will find most Costa Rican people to be kind and good, communities also have members with a variety of problems, including substance abuse and alcoholism, low income, single parenthood, child abuse, high unemployment, and delinquency. Therefore your safety is of major concern, and you will have to adjust and conform to different norms of behavior and take continual precautions to maximize your safety. (The Health Care and Safety chapter provides more information on this important issue.)
  
While many Volunteers in Morocco have running water and electricity, you may not have these amenities and may collect your water from an outside faucet or well and spend your evenings reading by candle or lantern. You need to be very flexible in your housing expectations, as there are no guarantees of continuous electricity or water.
 
  
Depending on your program and assignment, you may be placed in a community that ranges from a large, semi-urban town to a very small rural village. Some Volunteers share a site, while others are quite a distance from other Volunteers.  Peace Corps staff members visit all sites to ensure that they meet the Peace Corps’ safety and security criteria. Staff also visit all Volunteers intermittently to provide personal, medical, and professional support.
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==Training==
  
==Living Allowance and Money Management ==
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''Main article: [[Training in Costa Rica]]''
  
As a Volunteer in Morocco, you will receive four types of allowances. The first is a one-time settling-in allowance, currently five thousand Moroccan dirhams (MAD 5000), that is used to buy basic household items when you move to your site. This amount is reviewed once a year through a “settling-in survey” to ensure that the allowance is sufficient. You will receive a monthly living allowance, currently MAD 2000, to cover your basic expenses, i.e., food, utilities, household supplies, clothing, recreation and entertainment, communications costs (e.g., cell phone cards, internet access), transportation, reading material, and other incidentals. Your monthly rent will be covered separately by the Peace Corps. The living allowance is paid in local currency and is sent to Volunteers during the third week of each month for the following month. The living allowance is reviewed once a year through a market survey to ensure that it is adequate.  You may find that you receive more remuneration than your counterpart or supervisor.  
+
Pre-service training, which follows a community-based training model, lasts for 11 weeks. Training communities are selected based on whether they meet certain safety and health requirements and allow trainees to carry out activities that help prepare them for their work. Approximately three to five trainees are placed in each of several communities around the capital city, San José, where they live with a host family. A language and cultural facilitator works closely with each group of trainees, providing formal language classes in trainees’ homes or in another suitable space in the community and practice-based instruction outside of the classroom. Advanced or native Spanish speakers participate in an alternative program that accommodates their particular needs.
  
You will also receive a vacation allowance of $24 (currently MAD 220) per month and a travel allowance to cover the cost of work-related trips (pre-approved work-related leave, official Peace Corps events, etc.). The current travel allowance policy is under review.  
+
All trainees are assigned integrated training activities, to be completed independently or with assistance from the language and cultural facilitators or members of the community. Trainees are responsible for scheduling the activities and determining what kind of support and resources they need in order to complete them. This neighborhood-based, experiential training is complemented by classroom-based technical, cultural, and health and safety training. On Fridays and some Saturdays, all trainees and staff meet at the Peace Corps office for seminars on the particular training “theme” that serves as a framework for determining weekly activities and as a guide for language instruction.
  
Most Volunteers find they can live comfortably in Morocco with these allowances. Volunteers are strongly discouraged from supplementing their income with money brought from home, as they are expected to live at the economic level of their neighbors and colleagues. Nevertheless, credit cards are handy for vacations and travel and can be used in several establishments in the larger cities. Traveler’s checks can be cashed for a small percentage fee. ATMs can be found at most major banks in large cities.
+
The training program include a group field trip to observe functioning projects, a visit to a Volunteer’s site, and one trip to trainees’ future sites, during which trainees begin planning for their future assignments.  
  
==Food and Diet ==
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==Your Health Care and Safety==
  
A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are available year-round, and all meats except pork are readily available. Dairy products like yogurt and milk can usually be obtained.  Although maintaining a vegetarian diet should not be difficult, you will be confronted with cultural issues when visiting Moroccan families, as they will offer you, and expect you to accept, traditional foods. Thus vegetarians need to be flexible about sharing the Moroccan diet when visiting friends and neighbors.
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''Main article: [[Health Care and Safety in Costa Rica]]''
  
Fresh bread is widely available and is an important part of the Moroccan diet. Pastries are available in larger towns, and pasta is available in almost any small shop.  
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The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Costa Rica maintains a health unit with a full-time medical officer, who takes care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Medical services may include hospitalization at authorized facilities that are located in the capital city. If you become seriously ill or the resources in-country are insufficient, the Office of Medical Services at Peace Corps headquarters may decide to medically evacuate you to the United States for further care or treatment.
  
Mint tea is a Moroccan's favorite drink. It is traditionally very sweet and is served throughout the day. The numerous cafes in Morocco, which are mostly frequented by men, also serve coffee and fresh orange juice. Because Morocco is a Muslim country, beer and wine are not usually available in rural areas.
 
  
==Transportation ==
+
==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
  
Most Volunteers travel within the country in commercial buses or long-distance taxis (grand taxi). Local taxis (petit taxis) are available in all medium and large cities. If required for their work, Volunteers are issued bicycles with bicycle helmets. To reduce safety risks, Peace Corps/Morocco prohibits Volunteers from driving or riding on any two- or three-wheeled motorized vehicle (such as a motorcycle) for any reason. Nor are Volunteers allowed to own or drive private cars. Violation of these policies may result in termination of your Volunteer service.
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''Main article: [[Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Costa Rica]]''
  
==Geography and Climate ==
+
In Costa Rica, 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 Costa Rica.
  
Morocco is sometimes referred to as the cold country with the hot sun. The sun shines most of the year, but the cold can penetrate straight to your bones. The country has a varied geography, with beaches, mountains, desert, and agricultural land. The north tends to receive more rain than the south, so the majority of agriculture occurs in the north.  
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Outside of Costa Rica’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 Costa Rica 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.
  
Moving southward, the landscape changes to desert, turning into the Sahara in the deep southeast. Morocco boasts a popular ski resort in the Atlas Mountains outside Marrakech, and on either side of the mountains are flat, hot, and dry plains. Summer is hot all over Morocco, with coastal areas experiencing greater relative humidity than inland areas.  
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To ease the transition and adapt to life in Costa Rica, 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.  
  
==Social Activities ==
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* Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
 +
* Possible Issues for Male Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
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* Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
 +
* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
  
Morocco is more tolerant than many other Muslim nations toward Western cultural norms. But while people in large cities tend to dress in Western clothing, those in rural communities are still very traditional. Most Volunteers live in small towns or rural settings and need to conform to local customs. Men have more external freedom than women do in that they can circulate freely outside the home. Cultural norms do not allow men and women to mix freely outside the home, and women tend to spend more time in the home, taking care of domestic affairs and socializing with other women. Moroccans are known for their hospitality, and you should expect invitations to dinner, weddings, and other social functions.
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==Frequently Asked questions==
  
==Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior ==
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{{Volunteersurvey2008
 +
|H1r= 12
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|H1s= 77.5
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|H2r= 5
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|H2s= 89.8
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|H3r=  12
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|H3s=  88.3
 +
|H4r=  35
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|H4s=  104.5
 +
|H5r=  16
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|H5s=  57
 +
|H6r=  15
 +
|H6s=  93
 +
}}
  
The people of Morocco take pride in their personal appearance. To gain their acceptance, respect, and confidence, it is essential that you dress and conduct yourself professionally. Dress standards for Volunteers are generally conservative. Women may wear pants with long-sleeved shirts for normal work-related activity, but are expected to wear long, casual skirts or dresses for more professional activities (e.g., meetings and/or workshops with Ministry representatives). Men are expected to wear long trousers for most activities.
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''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Costa Rica]]''
  
Adhering to the conservative dress codes in Morocco is a test of your motivation and commitment to adapt to your new environment. If you have reservations about this, you should consider the amount of sacrifice and flexibility required to be successful and reevaluate your decision to become a Volunteer.
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* How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Costa Rica?
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* What is the electric current in Costa Rica?
 +
* How much money should I bring?
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* When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
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* Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
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* Do I need an international driver’s license?
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* What should I bring as gifts for Costa Rican friends and my host family?
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* Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
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* How can my family contact me in an emergency?
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* Can I call home from Costa Rica?
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* Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
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* Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
  
The Peace Corps expects Volunteers to behave in a way that will foster respect within their communities and reflect well on the Peace Corps and on the United States. You will receive an orientation to appropriate behavior and cultural sensitivity during pre-service training. As a Volunteer, you have the status of an invited guest, and thus you need to be sensitive to the habits, tastes, and taboos of your hosts.
 
  
Certain behaviors can jeopardize the Peace Corps’ mission in Morocco as well as your personal safety and thus cannot be tolerated by the Peace Corps. Engaging in these behaviors may lead to administrative separation, a decision by the Peace Corps to terminate your service. The Volunteer Handbook provides more information on the grounds for administrative separation.
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==Packing List==
  
==Personal Safety ==
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''Main article: [[Packing List for Costa Rica]]''
  
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 (often alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as wealthy 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. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help Volunteers reduce their risks and enhance their safety and security. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.  
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This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Costa Rica and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always purchase some things locally and have other things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Costa Rica.
  
==Rewards and Frustrations ==
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* General Clothing
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* Shoes
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* Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
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* Peace Corps does not provide for these items
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* Miscellaneous
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* Items You Do Not Need to Bring
  
Although the potential for job satisfaction is quite high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations.  Because of financial or other challenges, collaborating agencies do not always provide the support promised.  Moreover, the pace of work and life is slower than what most Americans are accustomed to, and some people you work with may be hesitant to change practices and traditions that are centuries old. For these reasons, the Peace Corps experience of adapting to a new culture and environment is often described as a series of emotional peaks and valleys.
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==Peace Corps News==
  
You will be given a high degree of responsibility and independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you have had or will have. Often you will find yourself in situations that require an ability to motivate yourself and your co-workers with little guidance from supervisors. You might work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving feedback on, your work. Development is a slow process. Positive progress most often comes only after the combined efforts of several Volunteers over the course of many years. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.
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Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by [[News | country of service]] or [[News by state|your home state]]
  
To overcome these difficulties, you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness. 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 Morocco feeling that they have gained much more than they sacrificed during their service. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, you will be a successful Volunteer.  
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''The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.''<br><rss title=on desc=off>http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&scoring=n&q=%22peace+corps%22+%22costa+rica%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
  
[[Category:Morocco]]
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<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/cs/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
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==Country Fund==
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Contributions made to the [https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=515-CFD Costa Rica Country Fund] will support Volunteers and their community partners with Children, Youth and Family; Community Economic Development; and Rural Community Development projects. The types of projects for which Volunteers and their communities solicit vary based on the unique needs and priorities of their communities. Common Costa Rica projects include: sports development camps and equipment, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention workshops, public infrastructure development including clinics and school playgrounds, classrooms, sports fields, libraries, and computer labs; and capacity building activities that develop knowledge and skills in one or more of the following areas: youth development, gender empowerment, business, fine arts, performing arts, music, English, information and communications technology, and life skills.
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==See also==
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* [[Volunteers who served in Costa Rica]]
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* [[Pre-Departure Checklist]]
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* [[List of resources for Costa Rica]]
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==External links==
 +
* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/cs.html Peace Corps Journals - Costa Rica]
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* [http://www.thebusschedule.com/cr Bus schedule of Costa Rica]
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[[Category:Costa Rica]] [[Category:Central America and Mexico]]
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[[Category:Country]]

Revision as of 19:02, 6 November 2010


US Peace Corps
Country name is::Costa Rica


Status: ACTIVE
Staging: {{#ask:Country staging date::+country name is::Costa Rica[[Staging date::>2016-08-26]]

mainlabel=- ?staging date= ?staging city= format=list sort=Staging date

}}


American Overseas Staff (FY2010): {{#ask:2010_pcstaff_salary::+country name is::Costa Rica

mainlabel=- ?Grade_staff= ?Lastname_staff= ?Firstname_staff= ?Middlename_staff= ?Initial_staff= ?Salary_staff=$ format=list sort=Grade_staff

}}


Latest Early Termination Rates (FOIA 11-058): {{#ask:Country_early_termination_rate::+country name is::Costa Rica

mainlabel=- ?2005_early_termination=2005 ?2006_early_termination=2006 ?2007_early_termination=2007 ?2008_early_termination=2008 format=list

}}


Peace Corps Journals - Costa Rica File:Feedicon.gif

250px
Peace Corps Welcome Book
Region:

Central America and Mexico

Country Director:

Steven Dorsey

Sectors:

Rural Community Development
(APCD: Moises Leon)
Youth Development
(APCD: Carolina Suarez)
Micro-Enterprise Development
(APCD: Luis Mata)

Program Dates:

1963 - Present

Current Volunteers:
Total Volunteers:

3148

Languages Spoken:

Spanish

Flag:

150px

__SHOWFACTBOX__

Since 1963, Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Costa Rica in a variety of projects including health, education, environment, agriculture, small business development, and youth development. During Peace Corps' history in Costa Rica, its projects have changed to respond and adapt to the needs and challenges of Costa Rica and its people.

In many respects, Costa Rica has attained impressive levels of social and economic development, manifesting a high level of material progress. However, under this surface, growing social ills threaten to diminish the country's gains in education, democracy, and healthcare. Peace Corps' presence in Costa Rica focuses on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations throughout the country strengthening agencies and communities to serve these populations.

Costa Rica has three projects functioning at this time, rural community development, children, youth, and families, and micro enterprise development. The youth project aims to increase educational and training opportunities for youth, youth organizations, and community volunteers by strengthening the institutional capacity and community outreach of Costa Rica's Ministry of Child Welfare, PANI (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia). The rural community development project focuses on: organizational strengthening of local associations, development committees and other groups; increasing economic opportunities in the rural areas, especially for women's groups and rural youth; on educational enrichment activities with children, youth and adults in collaboration with the National Office of Community Development.


Peace Corps History

Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Costa Rica

Since 1963, more than 2,200 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Costa Rica in a variety of projects in the areas of health, education, the environment, community development, agriculture, small business development, and youth development. Throughout the program’s existence in Costa Rica, Volunteers have been consistently well received by the Costa Rican people and local counterpart agencies.

The children, youth, and families project was the primary sector of the Peace Corps/Costa Rica program from 1998 through 2002. In 2003, a second project in rural community development began; it focuses on the poorest rural communities in the country. And now in 2005, we are opening a third project in the area of micro-enterprise development to address the needs of a mostly rural population.


Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles

Main article: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Costa Rica

Currently, there are Volunteers in all parts of the country: the Central Valley, Limón on the Caribbean coast, Puntarenas on the Pacific coast, as far north as Los Chiles near the Nicaraguan border, and as far south as Paso Canoas on the Panama border. While sites vary in size, climate, and distance to downtown San José (from 20 minutes to eight hours by bus), each has been preselected by the Peace Corps in consultation with relevant host country agencies as being a community where a Volunteer will find plenty of work opportunities and support.

Volunteers in the children, youth, and families project live in urban, semi-urban, or rural communities. While Volunteers in the community development and micro-enterprise development projects will live in rural/semi-rural communities. Volunteers in urban sites usually have access via a short bus ride to services such as banks, post offices, and hospitals. Volunteers in more rural areas have to take a longer bus ride to the nearest large town to mail letters or cash checks. Some sites are converted squatter settlements made up of a combination of tin and wood shacks, but most sites have recently built two- or three-room cement block buildings with corrugated steel roofs. All Volunteer houses have cold running water and electricity, and most have phones. In all communities, you will find a church, a school, and general stores (pulperías) that sell staples such as rice, black beans, tuna, soap, soft drinks, and snack food.

During training, you will live with a family selected by the training staff in one of several training communities. During your first year of service, you are also required to live with a family in your assigned community. This promotes your integration into the community, increases your language skills, and helps ensure your safety. The families are recommended by community leaders and approved by your program manager. Requests to live independently during the second year are approved on a case-by-case basis.

The family you stay with, which is likely to include children, will probably have a home modest in size and comfort. While the Peace Corps requests that Volunteers be given their own room, you may find that its walls do not reach the ceiling or are very thin. It is important to remember that the concept of individual space in Costa Rica is different from that in America. While some Volunteers find living with a family frustrating at times, they also concede that it is an enriching way to experience a new culture and develop an awareness of its values.

While you will find most Costa Rican people to be kind and good, communities also have members with a variety of problems, including substance abuse and alcoholism, low income, single parenthood, child abuse, high unemployment, and delinquency. Therefore your safety is of major concern, and you will have to adjust and conform to different norms of behavior and take continual precautions to maximize your safety. (The Health Care and Safety chapter provides more information on this important issue.)


Training

Main article: Training in Costa Rica

Pre-service training, which follows a community-based training model, lasts for 11 weeks. Training communities are selected based on whether they meet certain safety and health requirements and allow trainees to carry out activities that help prepare them for their work. Approximately three to five trainees are placed in each of several communities around the capital city, San José, where they live with a host family. A language and cultural facilitator works closely with each group of trainees, providing formal language classes in trainees’ homes or in another suitable space in the community and practice-based instruction outside of the classroom. Advanced or native Spanish speakers participate in an alternative program that accommodates their particular needs.

All trainees are assigned integrated training activities, to be completed independently or with assistance from the language and cultural facilitators or members of the community. Trainees are responsible for scheduling the activities and determining what kind of support and resources they need in order to complete them. This neighborhood-based, experiential training is complemented by classroom-based technical, cultural, and health and safety training. On Fridays and some Saturdays, all trainees and staff meet at the Peace Corps office for seminars on the particular training “theme” that serves as a framework for determining weekly activities and as a guide for language instruction.

The training program include a group field trip to observe functioning projects, a visit to a Volunteer’s site, and one trip to trainees’ future sites, during which trainees begin planning for their future assignments.

Your Health Care and Safety

Main article: Health Care and Safety in Costa Rica

The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Costa Rica maintains a health unit with a full-time medical officer, who takes care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Medical services may include hospitalization at authorized facilities that are located in the capital city. If you become seriously ill or the resources in-country are insufficient, the Office of Medical Services at Peace Corps headquarters may decide to medically evacuate you to the United States for further care or treatment.


Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues

Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, 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 Costa Rica.

Outside of Costa Rica’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 Costa Rica 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 Costa Rica, 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.

  • Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
  • Possible Issues for Male Volunteers
  • Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
  • Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
  • Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
  • Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
  • Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities

Frequently Asked questions

Costa Rica
2008 Volunteer Survey Results

How personally rewarding is your overall Peace Corps service?|}} Rank:
2008 H1r::12|}}
Score:
2008 H1s::77.5|}}
Today would you make the same decision to join the Peace Corps?|}} Rank:
2008 H2r::5|}}
Score:
2008 H2s::89.8|}}
Would you recommend Peace Corps service to others you think are qualified?|}} Rank:
2008 H3r::12|}}
Score:
2008 H3s::88.3|}}
Do you intend to complete your Peace Corps service?|}} Rank:
2008 H4r::35|}}
Score:
2008 H4s::104.5|}}
How well do your Peace Corps experiences match the expectations you had before you became a Volunteer?|}} Rank:
2008 H5r::16|}}
Score:
2008 H5s::57|}}
Would your host country benefit the most if the Peace Corps program were---?|}} Rank:
2008 H6r::15|}}
Score:
2008 H6s::93|}}
2008BVS::Costa Rica


Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Costa Rica

  • How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Costa Rica?
  • What is the electric current in Costa Rica?
  • How much money should I bring?
  • When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
  • Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
  • Do I need an international driver’s license?
  • What should I bring as gifts for Costa Rican friends and my host family?
  • Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
  • How can my family contact me in an emergency?
  • Can I call home from Costa Rica?
  • Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
  • Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?


Packing List

Main article: Packing List for Costa Rica

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Costa Rica and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always purchase some things locally and have other things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Costa Rica.

  • General Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
  • Peace Corps does not provide for these items
  • Miscellaneous
  • Items You Do Not Need to Bring

Peace Corps News

Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by country of service or your home state

The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
<rss title=on desc=off>http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&scoring=n&q=%22peace+corps%22+%22costa+rica%22&output=rss%7Ccharset=UTF-8%7Cshort%7Cdate=M d</rss>


PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
( As of Friday August 26, 2016 )<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/cs/blog/50.xml%7Ccharset=UTF-8%7Cshort%7Cmax=10</rss>

Country Fund

Contributions made to the Costa Rica Country Fund will support Volunteers and their community partners with Children, Youth and Family; Community Economic Development; and Rural Community Development projects. The types of projects for which Volunteers and their communities solicit vary based on the unique needs and priorities of their communities. Common Costa Rica projects include: sports development camps and equipment, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention workshops, public infrastructure development including clinics and school playgrounds, classrooms, sports fields, libraries, and computer labs; and capacity building activities that develop knowledge and skills in one or more of the following areas: youth development, gender empowerment, business, fine arts, performing arts, music, English, information and communications technology, and life skills.

See also

External links