Training in Moldova
Pre-service training begins the day you arrive in Moldova, lasts for about 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 five or six 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.
Assessment criteria, which you will be informed of early in pre-service training, will help measure your progress toward acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to live and work effectively in Moldova. Certain competencies are set for each of the training components (language, health and safety, cross-cultural, and technical). You will have periodic interviews with staff during training to discuss your progress in gaining these competencies and, if necessary, develop a plan of action for improvement. Failure to gain the competencies may prevent you from becoming a Volunteer.
The members of the training staff are Moldovan, and most of them have worked with the Peace Corps for several years. They are a valuable resource for getting to know the Moldovan culture and language, and you can and should rely on them for advice and support.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Moldova by building on the skills you already have and helping you develop new skills in a manner appropriate to the needs of the country. The Peace Corps staff, Moldovan experts, and current Volunteers will 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 will include sessions on the general economic and political environment in Moldova and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your technical sector’s goals and will meet with the Moldovan agencies and organizations that invited the Peace Corps to assist them. 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. Therefore, language training is the heart of the training program, and you must successfully meet minimum language requirements to complete training and become a Volunteer. Experienced Moldovan language instructors teach formal language classes four or five days a week in small groups of four to six people. Most trainees will study Romanian as their primary language, but a few will study Russian.
Your language training will incorporate 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 get you to a point of 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.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Moldovan host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families participate in an orientation conducted by Peace Corps staff to explain the purpose of pre-service training and to assist them in helping you adapt to living in Moldova. 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, nonformal and adult education strategies, and political structures. You will also have opportunities to take field trips to historic sites and to learn traditional songs and dances.
During pre-service training, you will be given basic medical training and 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 Moldova. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other STIs are also covered.
During the safety 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.
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 strengthen their commitment to Peace Corps service while increasing their technical and cross-cultural skills. During your service, there are several types of training events. These include:
- In-Service Trainings (ISTs): Provide an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language, and project development skills while sharing their experiences and reaffirming their commitment after having served for three to six months. Throughout the first year of service you will be provided with a number of in-service trainings including Technical ISTs, Language ISTs, and Language Weekends. The in-service trainings vary in length from 1.5 days to 4 days.
- All Volunteer Conference: An annual conference organized with the participation of Volunteers from all sectors and including health and safety sessions as well as cross-sectoral technical training and activities.
- Close-of-Service Conference: Prepares Volunteers for the future after Peace Corps service and reviews their respective projects and personal experiences.
The number, length, and design of these trainings are adapted to country-specific needs and conditions. The key to the training system is that training events are integrated and interrelated, from the pre-departure orientation through the end of your service, and are planned, implemented, and evaluated cooperatively by the training staff, Peace Corps staff, and Volunteers.