Difference between pages "Jamaica" and "Costa Rica"

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Volunteers began working in Jamaica in 1962, the same year that the country gained its independence from Britain. The first group of Volunteers was dedicated to working in library development, vocational education, and agriculture.
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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.
  
Since then, more than 3,400 Volunteers have served in this country of stark contrasts. Outside of the luxurious resorts, Jamaica's population faces the same struggles as many island nations. A wealth of biodiversity exists in this small country, and protecting Jamaica's valuable natural resources while balancing the benefits of tourism is essential to its economy. There are many areas where people still subsist as farmers, and many youth are without jobs or the skills to contribute to developing their communities.
+
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.  
  
Volunteers are working to conserve Jamaica's natural resources, promoting healthy living, and helping youth to gain the skills and education they need for their future.
 
  
  
 
==Peace Corps History==
 
==Peace Corps History==
  
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Jamaica]]''
+
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Costa Rica]]''
  
The Peace Corps was first asked to work in Jamaica in 1962, and Volunteers worked in cities, towns and the countryside as teachers, agricultural extensionists, health educators, and rural development workers. In the mid-1970s, Volunteers were assigned to schools, hospitals, health clinics, and other government ministry offices as teachers, nurses, and loan officers.
+
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 most recent shift in approach to development was conceived in 1989 and is now a reality. Current assignments are part of a uniform plan that has a significant community development core. While each project plan has specific tasks and skill requirements, Peace Corps/Jamaica assignments generally involve facilitating the growth and development of communities and their members in a way that empowers them to make and carry out better decisions about their own lives. Not all Volunteers are placed in small rural communities. Sites also exist in small towns, peri-urban centers, inner cities, and tourist cities such as Montego Bay, Negril, and Ocho Rios. No Volunteers are assigned to Kingston (the capital) or Spanish Town.  
+
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 Lifestyle==
+
==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles==
  
''Main article: [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Jamaica]]''
+
''Main article: [[Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Costa Rica]]''
  
Your living conditions in Jamaica may not be as rugged as those in many Peace Corps posts. Most Volunteers have indoor plumbing and running water. The water usually is not heated, however, so be prepared for cold showers. Laundry, while usually washed by hand, is usually done in a sink or a washtub. Electricity exists island-wide, except in very remote areas. Very few Volunteers go without a refrigerator and other electrical appliances, and many Volunteers have amenities such as cable television.
+
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.
  
Living conditions will vary depending upon whether your site is rural, peri-urban, or urban. Areas with mining, manufacturing, and tourism will have a higher standard of living. The agency to which you are assigned will assist you in identifying suitable housing. All Volunteers must live in the initial housing identified by their agency for at least the first four months of service after which Volunteers may move to different housing if they so desire (with the approval of Peace Corps staff). If accommodations do not meet your needs, it will be your responsibility to locate housing that meets specified budgetary, health, and safety criteria and is approved by Peace Corps staff. The most common living situations are a room with its own entrance, attached to a bathroom and kitchen that you share with a family; an apartment you share with another Volunteer; or your own place. Generally, Volunteers remain in the housing initially identified by their agency.
+
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.)
  
During pre-service training, you will be placed with a host family for the community-based portion of training. Here you will receive a firsthand orientation to Jamaican culture and community life.
 
  
 
==Training==
 
==Training==
  
''Main article: [[Training in Jamaica]]''
+
''Main article: [[Training in Costa Rica]]''
  
Once you arrive in Jamaica, you will participate in an intense, nine and a half-week training program, beginning with two days of orientation at the Colin Powell Building while living in a local hotel. There, you will be introduced to the staff and support services pertaining to medical and administrative matters, as well as to cross-cultural, safety and language issues, and local cuisine.
+
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.
  
Then you move to your first host family setting, living with a Jamaican family, for seventeen days. Training, held nearby, consists of program overview, language development, safety and security and medical issues. You will then be divided into your technical skill groups and depart to a community to take part in community-based training for approximately for a little over a month, living with a Jamaican family while gaining technical skills and continuing to adjust to the language, culture, climate, and food. Training uses current adult-learning methodologies. During the final week, you will come together as a larger group again to process your experience, complete your assessment, and finalize your commitment before being sworn-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
+
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.
  
You, along with your training staff, will assess your progress throughout training to ensure you are meeting or exceeding the expectations of training. You will engage in a number of assessment exercises during pre-service training, which will enable you to accumulate points toward swearing- in. Toward the end of pre-service training, each trainee will participate in a final oral exam before a panel of Peace Corps staff, trainers, and host agency partners as a final assessment to determine suitability for swearing-in. After the satisfactory completion of training, you will be sworn-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
+
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.  
  
==Health Care and Safety==
+
==Your Health Care and Safety==
  
''Main article: [[Health care and safety in Jamaica]]''
+
''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. Peace Corps/Jamaica maintains a clinic with two full-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Jamaica at local, international-standard hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported to the United States once your condition is stable enough to allow for safe travel.
+
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 Jamaica]]''
+
==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
  
In Jamaica, 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 Jamaica.
+
''Main article: [[Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Costa Rica]]''
  
Jamaicans are proud of their cultural diversity and that is exemplified through their motto, "Out of Many, One People". That being said, many who reside in deep rural communities, have had little interaction with people outside of their villages or towns. Volunteers should not experience many cultural problems in major towns or capital cities, as that is where Jamaica's diversity is at its most vibrant. 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 Jamaica 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.
+
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.
  
The two dominating spheres of influence on Jamaican culture are the many christian churches and the dancehall culture.  The christian culture will lead to clashes with volunteers who do not regularly attend church service or who oppose christian beliefs - the most sensitive being the attitude towards the Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered community. While the Peace Corps may not directly say so, for safety reasons, it is recommended that any gay volunteers wishing to serve should do so closeted. The dancehall culture, seemingly at odds with the strong christian influences, is highly and explicitly sexual.
+
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 Jamaica, 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 pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.  
+
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 Female Volunteers
 +
* Possible Issues for Male Volunteers
 
* Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
 
* Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
 
* Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
 
* Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
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* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
 
* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
 
* Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
 
* Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
* Possible Issues for Married Volunteers
 
  
==Frequently Asked Questions==
+
==Frequently Asked questions==
  
 
{{Volunteersurvey2008
 
{{Volunteersurvey2008
|H1r=  58
+
|H1r=  12
|H1s=  67.3
+
|H1s=  77.5
|H2r=  62
+
|H2r=  5
|H2s=  75.2
+
|H2s=  89.8
|H3r=  63
+
|H3r=  12
|H3s=  74.5
+
|H3s=  88.3
|H4r=  61
+
|H4r=  35
|H4s=  98.5
+
|H4s=  104.5
|H5r=  66
+
|H5r=  16
|H5s=  38.5
+
|H5s=  57
|H6r=  66
+
|H6r=  15
|H6s=  51.7
+
|H6s=  93
 
}}
 
}}
  
''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Jamaica]]''
+
''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Costa Rica]]''
  
* How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Jamaica?
+
* How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Costa Rica?
* What is the electric current in Jamaica?
+
* What is the electric current in Costa Rica?
 
* How much money should I bring?
 
* How much money should I bring?
 
* When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
 
* When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
 
* Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
 
* Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
 
* Do I need an international driver’s license?
 
* Do I need an international driver’s license?
* What should I bring as gifts for Jamaican friends and my host family?
+
* 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?
 
* 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?
 
* How can my family contact me in an emergency?
* Can I call home from Jamaica?
+
* Can I call home from Costa Rica?
 
* Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
 
* Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
 
* Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
 
* Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
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==Packing List==
 
==Packing List==
  
''Main article: [[Packing list for Jamaica]]''
+
''Main article: [[Packing List for Costa Rica]]''
  
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Jamaica 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 have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Jamaica.
+
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.
  
* 1 General Clothing
+
* General Clothing
* 2 Men
+
* Shoes
* 3 Women
+
* Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
* 4 Shoes
+
* Peace Corps does not provide for these items
* 5 Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
+
* Miscellaneous
* 6 Kitchen
+
* Items You Do Not Need to Bring
  
 
==Peace Corps News==
 
==Peace Corps News==
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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]]
 
Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by [[News | country of service]] or [[News by state|your home state]]
  
''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+%22jamaica%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
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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>
  
<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/jm/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
+
<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>
  
 
==Country Fund==
 
==Country Fund==
  
Contributions to the [https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=532-CFD Jamaica Country Fund] will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Jamaica. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
+
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.
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
* [[Volunteers who served in Jamaica]]
+
* [[Volunteers who served in Costa Rica]]
* [[List of resources for Jamaica]]
+
 
* [[Pre-Departure Checklist]]
 
* [[Pre-Departure Checklist]]
* [[Inspector General Reports]]
+
* [[List of resources for Costa Rica]]
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/jm.html Peace Corps Journals - Jamaica]
+
* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/cs.html Peace Corps Journals - Costa Rica]
 +
* [http://www.thebusschedule.com/cr Bus schedule of Costa Rica]
  
[[Category:Jamaica]] [[Category:The Caribbean]]
+
[[Category:Costa Rica]] [[Category:Central America and Mexico]]
 
[[Category:Country]]
 
[[Category:Country]]

Latest revision as of 10:45, 22 May 2014


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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 Monday December 29, 2014 )<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/cs/blog/50.xml%7Ccharset=UTF-8%7Cshort%7Cmax=10</rss>

Country Fund[edit]

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[edit]

External links[edit]