In 1993, the government of Moldova invited Peace Corps Volunteers to come to Moldova. The government representatives believed that well-developed English language skills would help Moldovans participate in the international community and global economy by helping them gain access to a wealth of information, resources, and markets. Current English education Volunteers also incorporate environmental issues into the curriculum.
Recently, Peace Corps/Moldova added projects in organizational development, and agriculture and agrobusiness to assist the Moldovan government in addressing the country’s economic and social development needs. Peace Corps Volunteers work in 97 towns and villages throughout the country. Since the program’s inception, more than 400 Volunteers have served in Moldova.
Peace Corps History
Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Moldova
In 1993, the government of Moldova invited Peace Corps Volunteers to come to Moldova. The Peace Corps’ first assignment was to help expand the English-teaching capacity of Moldovan educators. Government representatives believed that well-developed English language skills would help Moldovans participate in the international community and global economy by helping them gain access to a wealth of information, resources, and markets.
Several years later, Peace Corps/Moldova added projects in organizational development, agriculture and agrobusiness, and health education to assist the Moldovan government in addressing the country’s economic and social development needs. Currently, Peace Corps Volunteers are working in about 100 towns and villages throughout the country. Since the program’s inception, more than 1,000 Volunteers have served in Moldova.
Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle
Main article: Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Moldova
You will live with one host family during pre-service training and with another family for the first three months at your site. Both families will be selected for you. You will have your own room but are likely to share bath and toilet facilities. There is usually running water even in rural areas, however, indoor bath and toilet facilities are less common. After your first three months at your site, you will have the option of finding other housing if it is available, meets the Peace Corps’ safety requirements, and is within the Peace Corps’ housing allowance. Many Volunteers choose to live with a family throughout their two years of service and find the experience a rewarding one. Peace Corps/Moldova will inform you of the trade-offs involved in housing decisions, including matters of safety and security, but the ultimate responsibility for finding housing (if you choose to change housing) after your first three months of service will be yours.
Life in Chisinau, the capital, varies considerably from life in villages, where the pace is slower, the atmosphere charmingly rustic, and the people generally more polite. But along with the great appeal of a gentler pace, villages in Moldova offer a somewhat arduous lifestyle. The primary forms of entertainment are socializing with friends and watching television. People live the life of a farm family even if they work in a profession such as teaching. Each household usually has a very large vegetable garden and all kinds of farm animals to care for. There is generally running water, outhouses are the most common toilet facilities, and bathing is usually done once a week in a bathhouse or using buckets of water in a tub. Despite this lack of amenities, however, life in a village will be rich in traditional Moldovan customs and friendships with Moldovans.
Towns or regional centers may lack the compelling appeal of rural Moldova, but the pace is somewhat faster. There are more local resources and more forms of entertainment. Towns and regional centers also have more regular public transportation.
Streets and sidewalks are muddy for a large part of the year in towns and villages alike. Heating in winter can be problematic, as many municipalities cannot afford to turn on the heat until long after the weather has turned cold, and even then heating may be minimal or nonexistent for periods of time. For this reason, host families are required to have independent heating sources. Most families in villages rely on ceramic stoves built into the walls, known as sobas, which burn wood, coal, or corncobs. In larger towns or cities, houses may have their own gas boiler.
Main article: Training in Moldova
Pre-service training begins the day you arrive in Moldova, lasts for about 8-10 weeks, and ends when you are sworn in as a Volunteer. The days are full with plenty to accomplish, so training is nothing like summer camp.
Peace Corps/Moldova uses a community-based training approach. Trainees live in small villages with eight or nine other trainees from their project area. Language classes occur daily, and afternoons are usually devoted to self-directed activities and homework assignments. Once a week, trainees in each project area meet together at a cluster site for technical sessions. Also once a week, all trainees come to a central hub for administrative, medical, and other special sessions.
The structure of Moldova’s pre-service training requires married couples to live apart in different villages during training. While this may seem like an obstacle for some, most married couples have actually found the arrangement to be beneficial because it allows them to focus on their own training needs and to develop a degree of independence they would otherwise not experience. Couples see each other at the central hub and are free to stay together with their respective host families on weekends and other times that work with the schedule of training activities.
Health Care and Safety
Main article: Health care and safety in Moldova
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 Moldova maintains a clinic with two full-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and consultations with specialists, are also available in Moldova and will be arranged by the medical officer if they become necessary. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an American-standard medical facility in the region or to the United States.
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues
Main article: Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Moldova
In Moldova, 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 Moldova.
Outside of Moldova’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 African-American (if you have blond hair and blue eyes they generally will think that you are German or Scandinavian instead of American). The people of Moldova 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 Moldova, 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.
- Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
- Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Volunteers
- Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
- Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Moldova
- How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Moldova?
- What is the electric current in Moldova?
- 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 Moldovan 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 Moldova?
- Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
Main article: Packing list for Moldova
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Moldova 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 a 100pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Moldova.
- 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
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Contributions to the Moldova Country Fund will support Volunteer and community projects that will take place in Moldova. These projects include water and sanitation, agricultural development, and youth programs.
- Volunteers who served in Moldova
- List of resources for Moldova
- Pre-Departure Checklist
- Inspector General Reports