Training in Ukraine
The overall goal of pre-service training is to prepare you for safe and successful service in your future assignments and communities. The emphasis during training is on both adapting your existing skills and experience to the Ukrainian environment, as well as on developing new knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable you to care for your own health and safety, work effectively at your sites and successfully integrate into your new communities. The program has five major components: technical training, language training, cross-cultural training, health training, and safety and security training. The homestay experience (living with a Ukrainian family throughout pre-service training (PST) is one of the most valuable aspects of training.
The training program recognizes that trainees come with a unique set of skills and experiences along with a well-developed sense of curiosity, independence, and the ability to adapt to new situations. Thus training is designed to provide trainees with strategies for taking more responsibility for their own learning.
Peace Corps/Ukraine uses a community-based model of training. Your entire training group will meet in the training hub only for the initial PST orientation (called an Arrival Retreat), for several days in the middle of PST (called PST University), and then at the end of PST (called Swearing-In Retreat). For most of the training period, however, trainees will live in clusters (in towns and villages located within two-to three-hour ride from the Peace Corps Office in Kyiv) with three to four other trainees, a language and cross-cultural facilitator and a technical and cultural facilitator (the latter will be shared by every two clusters). You will study either Ukrainian or Russian depending on your future assignment. In addition, you will be given various assignments in the community that will enable you to develop and apply your skills and experience. About midway through training, you will get your site assignment and have an opportunity to visit your future site and meet with your Ukrainian counterparts.
Our training program is competency based and you will be regularly evaluated on your ability to acquire and demonstrate the capacity building, community entry/integration and personal health and safely competencies needed to become an effective Volunteer and a productive member of your community.
Technical training will prepare you to work in Ukraine 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, Ukrainian 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 Ukraine, Ukrainian system of education and strategies for working within such a framework. You will review your project’s purpose, goals, and objectives and will receive track-specific on-the-job training through participating in the technical sessions and performing your internship assignments.
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.
Your language training will incorporate a community-based approach. In addition to classroom time, you will be given assignments to complete outside 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 once you are at your site. Prior to being sworn-in as a Volunteer, you will work on strategies to continue language studies during your service.
As part of your pre-service training, you will live with a Ukrainian host family. This experience is designed to ease your transition to life at your site. Families go through 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 Ukraine. 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 gender and development, nonformal and adult education strategies, cultural values, and political structures.
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 Ukraine. Nutrition, mental health, safety and security, setting up a safe living compound, and how to avoid HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) 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 travel. 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
The Peace Corps has implemented a training system that provides Volunteers with continual opportunities to upgrade their technical and cross-cultural skills. During service, there are at least two training events. The titles and objectives for those events are as follows:
- In-service training: Provides an opportunity for Volunteers to upgrade their technical, language, and project development skills while sharing their experiences. In-service events in Ukraine include language refreshers, regional meetings, and professional workshops and conferences. Ongoing language learning is a top priority of training and expanded language materials, tutor training and individual help are available for Volunteers.
- Close-of-service conference: Prepares Volunteers for the future after Peace Corps service and reviews their 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.