Training in Kazakhstan
Your Peace Corps training begins in the United States during pre-departure orientation, when you come together as a group to prepare for your flight to Kazakhstan. When you arrive in Almaty, you will be met at the airport and transported by bus to your training site. Pre-service training lasts 12 weeks and consists of Kazakh and Russian language instruction, cross-cultural awareness, health and personal safety, and technical skills—depending on your assignment. Pre-service training emphasizes experiential learning in which you take responsibility for your own learning. Training is an immersion model—that is, being immersed in the local living and work conditions. During your first week in-country, you will move in with a host family selected by the Peace Corps. Expect to deal with the frustrations of language barriers and cultural differences from the start. Expect to deal with frustrations due to lack of e-mail, telephones, copy machines, and computers. Training will prepare you for your first three to six months at site and the techniques for continued individual learning. It is also the time for you to make an informed two-year commitment to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan.
Technical training prepares you to work in Kazakhstan 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. The Peace Corps staff and Kazakhstani trainers will conduct training. Training places great emphasis on learning how to transfer the skills you have and how to determine what the community feels are their needs. A key to successful Peace Corps service is not to impose what you feel they need, but to learn what the community members and host agencies deem to be their needs and work with them on those projects.
You will be supported and evaluated by experienced Kazakhstani trainers and Peace Corps staff 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, 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 host community, and ease your personal adaptation to new surroundings and people. Therefore, language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements in order to complete training and become a Volunteer. Experienced Russian and Kazakh language instructors provide formal language instruction six days a week in small classes of five to six people. The Kazakh and Russian languages are also introduced in the health, culture, safety, and technical components of training.
Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. You will have classroom time and will be given assignments to work on outside of the classroom and with your host family to learn the language. Our goal is to get you to a point of basic social communication skills so that you can practice and develop these skills more thoroughly. Prior to swearing in as Volunteers, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your two years of service.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Kazakhstani host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition into life at your site. Families have gone through an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of the pre-service training program and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Kazakhstan. Many Volunteers form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.
Cross-cultural and community development will be a focus of training to improve your perception, communication, and facilitation skills. Topics such as needs assessments, community mobilization, conflict resolution, gender and development, and traditional and political structures are addressed.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and information. You are expected to practice preventive healthcare and to take responsibility for your own health by adhering to all medical policies. Topics include preventive health measures and minor and major medical issues that Volunteers may encounter while in Kazakhstan. Sexual health and harassment, nutrition, mental health, and safety issues are also covered.
During the safety training sessions, you will learn how to adopt a lifestyle that reduces risk in your 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.
Additional Trainings During Volunteer Service
In its commitment to institutionalize quality training, the Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with opportunities to increase their technical, language, and cross-cultural skills throughout their two years of service.
During your service, there are usually three or four training events. The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The titles and objectives for trainings in Kazakhstan are as follows.
- In-Service Trainings: In-service trainings provide an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language, and project development skills while sharing their experiences. Additional trainings may be held on specific topics (e.g., HIV/AIDS prevention, project design and management, or grant writing.)
- Close of Service Conference: The close of service conference prepares Volunteers for their future after Peace Corps service and reviews Volunteers’ respective projects and personal experiences.