Training in Albania
From Peace Corps Wiki
You will participate in an intensive 12-week training program that will begin immediately upon your arrival in Albania. The weekly schedule is Monday through Friday with most Saturday mornings for language training and special events. You and a few other trainees will live with host families in a small town or village. You will participate in many of the training activities with that small group. One or two days each week, you will travel to a central site where you will participate in training activities with the entire group of new trainees. Pre-service training focuses on learning the Albanian language, cross-cultural, community skills development, technical skills development, safety and security, and health. The training period is a time for you to reexamine your commitment to being a Volunteer in Albania. It also gives Peace Corps/Albania the opportunity to get to know you and be assured that your skills and attitudes are a good match for the program here. Throughout the training period, you and Peace Corps staff will measure your progress in meeting the training objectives.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Albania by building on the skills you already have and by helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. Peace Corps staff members and Albanian experts conduct the training program. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have to the community in which you will serve as a Volunteer.
Technical training includes sessions on the environment, economics, and politics in Albania with emphasis on the status and activities of the sector that you will work in. The training will help you identify strategies to understand and work within existing frameworks. You will review your technical sector’s goals and meet with the Albanian agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. You will also meet with other Albanian and international organizations that support the activities of the particular sector. You will be supported and evaluated throughout the training to build the confidence and skills you need to undertake your project activities and be a productive member of your community.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will find that language skills are the key to personal and professional satisfaction during your service. These skills are critical to your job performance, they help you integrate into your community, and they can ease your personal adaptation to the new surroundings. Language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Albanian language instructors teach formal language classes five days a week in small groups of four to five people. The Albanian language is also incorporated into the other components of training.
Your language training will use a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family. The goal is to help you acquire basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop language skills further on your own. Prior to being sworn in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.
It is a good idea to start studying Albanian as soon as you accept the invitation to come to Albania. Unfortunately, there are not many commercially available materials for learning the language. One useful resource that is widely available is Pimsleur International’s audiotape series for self-instruction in Albanian. Please don’t worry if you lack the resources for these materials. We will also send you a CD-ROM with Albanian language learning materials four to six weeks prior to your departure.
Community skills training provides information and methods for integrating into the Albanian culture, and the skills and tools that will help you understand your community more deeply.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with an Albanian host family. This experience will ease your transition to life at your site. Host families have gone through an orientation by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Albania. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
Cross-cultural and community development training will help you improve your communication skills and understand your role as a facilitator of development. You will be exposed to topics such as community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, non-formal and adult education strategies, and political structures.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and health information. You will be expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies.
Trainees are required to attend all medical sessions. The topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that you might encounter while in Albania. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and avoiding HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also covered.
During the safety and security training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces your risks at home, at work, and during your travels. You will also learn appropriate, effective strategies for coping with unwanted attention and about your individual responsibility for promoting safety throughout your service. You will learn how to assess basic risks and hazards and to identify and manage the risks you may encounter. There will be tests of the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and your compliance is required in order to complete training. You will learn that safety and security are team efforts and if you do not work and live safely, you can put other members of the team at risk. As one Volunteer said, “safety is a team sport in Albania and never takes a vacation.”
Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to examine their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their language, community, and technical skills. Peace Corps/ Albania provides two types of training events:
- In-service training: Provides opportunities for Volunteers to upgrade their language, community, technical, and project development skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment to serve. You may participate in several in-service training events during your two years of service.
- Close of service conference: Provides an opportunity to review Volunteers’ respective projects and personal experiences and prepares them for the future after Peace Corps service.
Training events are integrated and inter-related, from the predeparture orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.