The Republic of Macedonia is making significant efforts to develop a society based on democratic principles, establish a viable market economy, and explore new forms of governance that respect diversity and human rights. Although progress has been made, both inflation and unemployment rates remain high, while industrial production continues to fall.
Currently, Volunteers serve in small towns, villages, and regional centers throughout the country. They assist Macedonia in its challenging transition by working in English language education serving in primary and secondary schools, and assisting and serving in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local governments to improve their organizational, managerial skills, and practices. Volunteers work in education and community development.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Macedonia
The Peace Corps received an invitation from the government of Macedonia in March 1996 to initiate and develop a program. By the beginning of June 1996, the first group of seven trainees arrived. They completed training in August and were assigned to the Ministry of Education’s secondary school English education program. Over the next three years, Peace Corps/Macedonia grew to include programs in business, environmental education, and municipal development.
Because of the political unrest in neighboring Kosovo, the Peace Corps program in Macedonia was suspended in 1999. The confusion and tension resulting from the sudden influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Macedonia were simply too great to safely continue Peace Corps operations. The surprisingly quick return of these refugees to Kosovo meant that the Peace Corps was able to resume operations after only a six-month suspension.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles
Main article: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Macedonia
Housing must adhere to Peace Corps-defined standards and the Peace Corps staff visits all proposed living arrangements to evaluate their suitability. Most Volunteers live with host families. Some still live in small, modest apartments, either a studio or a one-bedroom with a kitchen, with basic furniture and provisions for security. Volunteers should be prepared to serve in any region of Macedonia.
Main article: Training in Macedonia
Before you are sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will participate in an intensive 11-week training program. The training uses a community-based approach, which means that you will live in villages and small towns surrounding a larger hub town. During training, Trainees live with Macedonian or Albanian families. The training focuses on studying the Macedonian language and, for some, the Albanian and Macedonian languages, in addition to cross-cultural adaptation, health and personal safety, and technical skills development. This period is a time for you to reexamine your commitment to be a Volunteer in Macedonia. It is also a time for the Peace Corps staff members to get to know you and be assured that your skills and attitude are a good match for the program in Macedonia. Throughout the training period, self-assessment as well as assessment by the Peace Corps staff will measure your progress toward meeting training objectives.
Your Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health Care and Safety in Macedonia
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 Macedonia maintains a clinic with one full-time Peace Corps medical officer (PCMO) and one part-time medical officer, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs.
Additional medical services, such as testing and some treatment, are also available in Macedonia at local hospitals. If a Volunteer becomes seriously ill, he or she will be transported to either a more advanced medical facility in the region or to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Macedonia
In Macedonia, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Macedonia.
Outside of Macedonia’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 misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Macedonia 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.
- Possible Issues for Female 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
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Macedonia
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Macedonia?
- What is the electric current in Macedonia?
- 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 Macedonian 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 Macedonia?
- Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
Main article: Packing List for Macedonia
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Macedonia and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each 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 102pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Macedonia.
- General Clothing
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Peace Corps News
The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.
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PEACE CORPS JOURNALS
( As of Wednesday September 24, 2014 )<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/mk/blog/50.xml%7Ccharset=UTF-8%7Cshort%7Cmax=10</rss>
Contributions to the Macedonia Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Macedonia. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Macedonia
- Friends of Macedonia
- Inspector General Reports
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- List of resources for Macedonia