Difference between pages "Russia" and "Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea"

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There are two Peace Corps/Russia administrative units: [[Russia West]] and [[Russia East]].
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{{Diversity_and_cross-cultural_issues_by_country}}
The Russia West office is located in Moscow and supervises the Volunteers located from
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In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years.  Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.  
the western borders of Russia to the oblast of Krasnoyarsk in the east. The Russia East
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office, located in Vladivostok, supervises Volunteers from the Irkust oblast to the eastern
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shoreline including Sakhalin Island. The country director is located in Moscow and a
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deputy director manages the Vladivostok office.
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 +
Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Guinea, 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 Guinea.
  
[[Image:Rs-map.gif|400px|right]]
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Outside of Guinea’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 have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Guinea 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.  
{{TOCright}}
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'''Status:''' Presently Inactive<br>
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To ease the transition and adapt to life in Guinea, 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.
'''Program Dates:''' 1992-2003<br>
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'''Volunteers Served:''' 729
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 +
===Overview of Diversity in Guinea===
  
 +
The Peace Corps staff in Guinea recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.
  
Russia is the largest country in the world measuring 6.5 million square miles. It is 1.8
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===What Might a Volunteer Face?===
times the size of the United States. After perestroika and the collapse of the former
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Soviet Union in 1990, the Russian Government implemented a series of major reforms
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including the introduction of free-market policies, the elimination of most price controls,
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the reduction of budget subsidies to promote privatization of state-owned enterprises, and
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the delegation of more responsibilities to local governments. This painful political,
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social, and economic transformation continues today.
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The Peace Corps entered Russia in 1992, bringing Volunteers to assist the development
 
of business in Russia. The Peace Corps programs in Russia were administered out of
 
three offices: one in Saratov, one in Moscow (which did not have Volunteers), and the
 
third in Vladivostok—each with independent operating budgets and staff. In 1995, TEFL
 
Volunteers came to assist university English programs. Also in 1995, the Saratov office
 
closed, and the staff and budget for Saratov and Moscow consolidated in Moscow. There
 
are two Peace Corps/Russia administrative units: Russia West and Russia East. The
 
Russia West office is located in Moscow and the staff supervises the Volunteers located
 
from the western borders of Russia to the Krasnoyarsk oblast in the east. The Russia East
 
staff with an office located in Vladivostok supervises Volunteers from the Irkust oblast
 
near Lake Baikal to the eastern shoreline including Sakhalin Island. The country director
 
is located in Moscow and a deputy director manages the Vladivostok office.
 
  
After the market collapse of 1998, the value of the ruble dropped. In August 1998, the
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====Possible Issues for Female Volunteers====
exchange rate was 6.5 rubles to the dollar. It fell to 25 rubles to the dollar in 1999.
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During our visit, the exchange rate averaged 30 rubles to the dollar. As the government
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removes subsidies to services such as transportation, increased costs are affecting Peace
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Corps operations in Russia.
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The Russia programs were interrupted in 1998 when no Trainees entered Russia, because
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Female Volunteers who are single are often considered an oddity by Guineans because most Guinean women, particularly in rural areas, are married, some with children, by the time they are 20. Single women also face what in the United States would be considered inappropriate advances from Guinean male colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances. Strategies to deal with these issues are discussed in training, and the Peace Corps staff can offer help in resolving any problems. These problems become less common once Volunteers have been accepted into their communities and have built a network of female friends and co-workers.
visas were not granted. However, the Volunteers already in country were allowed to
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complete their service, and the Peace Corps staff remained intact. In 1999, the
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governmental sponsorship of the Peace Corps moved from the Ministry of Foreign
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Affairs to the Ministry of Education.
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Russians are highly educated; the official literacy rate is 98%. The Russian education
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color====
system ranks among the best in the world. It is a highly regulated system with
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examinations for students and strict credentialing requirements for teachers. Education is
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free and compulsory until the age of seventeen.
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Increasingly, Russians identify English language proficiency as an important step to
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Volunteers who belong to minority ethnic groups will generally not experience overt biases. However, Guineans may make some stereotypic assumptions based on someone’s background. For example, many Asian-American Volunteers are considered experts in Chinese or kung fu, and African-American Volunteers may be mistaken for a Liberian or Sierra Leonean because of an Anglicized French accent.  
regaining footholds in international trade, technology, information sharing, and study
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abroad. This has led to a demand for English language and business English instruction
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reflected in the fact that 75% of all students choose it as their first foreign language.
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Because of this extraordinary demand, and because Russian teachers of English have
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been isolated from native speakers, there is a need for assistance in teaching English.
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Volunteers who do not have teaching credentials or teaching experience feel at a
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disadvantage among their host country teaching colleagues. Russia training strains to
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overcome the discrepancy between the training and experience of Russian teachers of
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English and the training and experience of TEFL Volunteers.
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Currently, 81% of the Volunteers in both Russia program assignments concentrate on
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Caucasian Volunteers may be annoyed by local terms for “white people” such as toubab, porto, or foté, but should understand that they are not pejorative. Even educated, middle-class Guineans are also sometimes referred to by those terms. Once Volunteers become known in their towns, children’s curiosity and name-calling diminish.  
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). See Table 1. The Russia West
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Volunteers are assigned to TEFL projects and business education. In the Russia East program, Volunteers are assigned to TEFL—two Volunteers remain in an environment
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project and two in business education. Both the business education and the environment
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projects in the Russia East program have had their last Volunteer input.
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Russia TEFL Volunteers teach at several levels of the Russian educational system.
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Volunteers with credentials are assigned to pedagogical institutes for teacher training,
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Volunteers with advanced degrees go to universities, and most Volunteers go to
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secondary schools or to “colleges” or technical schools. A few Volunteers work in
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primary schools in order to have a full teaching schedule. Most of the teacher training,
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university, and secondary school assignments are in urban centers, but Volunteers who
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teach at some secondary schools and the primary level may be assigned to more rural
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settings. In the Russia West program, Volunteers with a business background are
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assigned to teach business English at universities or at the technical colleges.
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Providing support is logistically difficult in Russia. In the 1998 PPA Worldwide Survey,
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53% of the Russia East Volunteers and 69% of the Russia West Volunteers reported that
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it took 10 or more hours to travel to their Peace Corps office; 35% of Volunteers in the
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EMA region and 26% of Volunteers worldwide reported 10 or more hours to reach their
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Peace Corps offices. In some instances, communication is unavailable, difficult, or
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requires travel to a larger urban center. Email capabilities are available to most of the
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Volunteers assigned to urban or regional centers, but not to Volunteers in the smaller
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rural or village sites. Both posts plan to place more Volunteer in smaller cities and rural
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areas, so the staff must adjust the site selection and development process and Volunteer
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support accordingly.
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====Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers ====
  
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Volunteers in their early 20s sometimes find that they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues, since Guineans of the same age often are still pursuing an education. Older Volunteers, in contrast, are automatically accorded respect, since Guinean culture recognizes that wisdom and experience come with age.
  
==Volunteer Work==
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====Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers=====
  
{| border="1" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0"
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Homosexuality is not publicly acknowledged or discussed in Guinean society. Although gay and lesbian Volunteers generally choose not to be open about their sexual orientation, they have successfully worked in Guinea.  
|-
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| align="center" | '''[[Sector]]''' || '''[[Assignment]]''' || '''[[Beg. Yr]]''' || '''[[End. Yr]]'''
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|-
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| rowspan="3" align="center"| '''[[Business]]'''
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| [[Business Advising]]
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| [[1997]]
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| [[2001]]
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|-
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| [[Business Development]]
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| [[1997]]
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| [[2001]]
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|-
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| [[NGO Advising]]
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| [[1999]]
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| [[1999]]
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|-
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| rowspan="3" align="center"| '''[[Education]]'''
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| [[English Teacher]]
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| [[1996]]
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| [[2001]]
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|-
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| [[English Teacher Trainer]]
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| [[1996]]
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| [[2001]]
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|-
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| [[Univ. English Teaching]]
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| [[1997]]
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| [[2001]]
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|-
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|}
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====Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers ====
  
===Business Development===
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Guinea is, for the most part, a Muslim country (the exception is in the Forest Region, where Christians and animists are more numerous). Being of a different religion is not a problem, as Guineans are very tolerant. They may not always agree with your beliefs, but they will not act negatively toward you because of them.  
Peace Corps Volunteers work to nurture business development by providing business education, consulting, and support to government officials, entrepreneurs, business institutes, schools, and NGOs. One Volunteer collaborated with Russian business owners, business professors, U.S. technical assistance providers, and fellow Volunteers to produce a series of marketing videos based on Russian case studies. These videos will be used in seminars and workshops for Russian entrepreneurs.
+
  
Volunteers have also created the University of Alaska's Russian-American Business Center, which works to develop the business skills of female entrepreneurs as well as offering workshops on business planning over the Internet. Business Volunteers provide a wide range of seminars and workshops for the management and staff of Russian NGOs. A Volunteer-developed NGO training course is being incorporated into the course offerings of the Volga-Vyatka Academy of Public Service, which trains government officials in the Volga region.
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====Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities ====
  
===Education===
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As a disabled Volunteer in Guinea, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. Physically challenged Volunteers will be treated initially with curiosity. Those who require ambulatory devices will encounter obstacles to mobility because there are no ramps or lifts on public transportation or in buildings. But those who serve will ultimately win respect and be considered role models.  
Volunteers were able to work in elementary, secondary, and higher-education schools.  As Russian English teachers continue to leave local schools to take higher paying positions in the private sector, the Peace Corps is focusing its efforts on training the next generation of Russian English teachers. Russia's economic problems have made it difficult for the Ministry of Education to provide modern textbooks to schools, many of which are still using Soviet textbooks containing anti-American propaganda. In Western Russia, Volunteers authored five textbooks that were published regionally at low cost.
+
  
Volunteers also work with students at the high school level. Volunteers in Western Russia conducted a two-week summer immersion program called "Camp America" for over 100 teenagers. In the Russian Far East village of Arsneniev, a Volunteer founded the first English-language newspaper for teens. This for-profit newspaper is written by advanced students from different schools, who are learning layout design, marketing and editing. The profits from the paper provide revenue for new English materials.
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As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of serving in Guinea without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Guinea staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in training, housing, job sites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.  
  
In the Russian Far East, university TEFL volunteers participated in regional conferences for language learning often working with the Russian FEELTA (Far Eastern English Language Teaching Association) and the American ELF (English Language Fellows) programs.
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[[Category:Guinea]]
 
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===Environment===
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The Environment program is located in the Russian Far East, an area similar to the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The incredible natural beauty of this area provides motivation for increasing environmental awareness. Environmental Education Volunteers contribute to the growing environmental preservation movement through their work in schools, extra-curricular environmental centers, NGOs, and nature preserves. One Volunteer organized the youth in his village to construct solar dehydrators, which were used by local farmers to dry herbs and mushrooms for the winter.
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Volunteers are assisting NGOs with grant proposal writing, organizational development, and fundraising techniques. A Volunteer in Vladivostok helped the Resource Center for Environmental Education, a local NGO, successfully implement a proposal to send several Center members and a film technician to the United States to make a documentary about outdoor education. The film will be shown on Russian television and used in seminars with other environmental NGOs.
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==Peace Corps News==
+
 
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Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by [[News | country of service]] or [[News by state|your home state]]
+
 
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''The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.''<br><rss title=on desc=off>http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&scoring=n&q=%22peace+corps%22+%22russia%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
+
 
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<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/rs/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
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==External Links==
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[http://www.peacecorps.gov/kids/world/europemed/rus_business.html Peace Corps Kids World: Russia]<br>
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[http://archives.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/12/28/peace.corps/index.html CNN.com: Russia kicks out U.S. Peace Corps (12/28/2002)]
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==See also==
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* [[Volunteers who served in Russia]]
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* [[Inspector General Reports]]
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==External links==
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* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/rs.html Peace Corps Journals - Russia]
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[[Category:Russia]] [[Category:Eastern Europe and Central Asia]]
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[[Category:Country]]
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[[Category:Inactive]]
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Latest revision as of 08:18, 21 May 2014

Diversity and cross-cultural issues in [[{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with their host countries, Peace Corps is making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]
See also:
[[Category:{{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |5}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |6}} {{#explode:Diversity and cross-cultural issues in Guinea| |7}}]]

In fulfilling the Peace Corps’ mandate to share the face of America with our host countries, we are making special efforts to see that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent years. Differences in race, ethnic background, age, religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among our Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’ mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.

Our diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In Guinea, 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 Guinea.

Outside of Guinea’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 have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Guinea 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 Guinea, 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.

Overview of Diversity in Guinea[edit]

The Peace Corps staff in Guinea recognizes adjustment issues that come with diversity and will endeavor to provide support and guidance. During pre-service training, several sessions will be held to discuss diversity and coping mechanisms. We look forward to having male and female Volunteers from a variety of races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, and sexual orientations, and hope that you will become part of a diverse group of Americans who take pride in supporting one another and demonstrating the richness of American culture.

What Might a Volunteer Face?[edit]

Possible Issues for Female Volunteers[edit]

Female Volunteers who are single are often considered an oddity by Guineans because most Guinean women, particularly in rural areas, are married, some with children, by the time they are 20. Single women also face what in the United States would be considered inappropriate advances from Guinean male colleagues, supervisors, and acquaintances. Strategies to deal with these issues are discussed in training, and the Peace Corps staff can offer help in resolving any problems. These problems become less common once Volunteers have been accepted into their communities and have built a network of female friends and co-workers.

Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color[edit]

Volunteers who belong to minority ethnic groups will generally not experience overt biases. However, Guineans may make some stereotypic assumptions based on someone’s background. For example, many Asian-American Volunteers are considered experts in Chinese or kung fu, and African-American Volunteers may be mistaken for a Liberian or Sierra Leonean because of an Anglicized French accent.

Caucasian Volunteers may be annoyed by local terms for “white people” such as toubab, porto, or foté, but should understand that they are not pejorative. Even educated, middle-class Guineans are also sometimes referred to by those terms. Once Volunteers become known in their towns, children’s curiosity and name-calling diminish.

Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers[edit]

Volunteers in their early 20s sometimes find that they have to make an extra effort to be accepted as professional colleagues, since Guineans of the same age often are still pursuing an education. Older Volunteers, in contrast, are automatically accorded respect, since Guinean culture recognizes that wisdom and experience come with age.

Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers=[edit]

Homosexuality is not publicly acknowledged or discussed in Guinean society. Although gay and lesbian Volunteers generally choose not to be open about their sexual orientation, they have successfully worked in Guinea.

Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers[edit]

Guinea is, for the most part, a Muslim country (the exception is in the Forest Region, where Christians and animists are more numerous). Being of a different religion is not a problem, as Guineans are very tolerant. They may not always agree with your beliefs, but they will not act negatively toward you because of them.

Possible Issues for Volunteers with Disabilities[edit]

As a disabled Volunteer in Guinea, you may find that you face a special set of challenges. Physically challenged Volunteers will be treated initially with curiosity. Those who require ambulatory devices will encounter obstacles to mobility because there are no ramps or lifts on public transportation or in buildings. But those who serve will ultimately win respect and be considered role models.

As part of the medical clearance process, the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services determined that you were physically and emotionally capable, with or without reasonable accommodations, of serving in Guinea without unreasonable risk of harm to yourself or interruption of your service. The Peace Corps/Guinea staff will work with disabled Volunteers to make reasonable accommodations for them in training, housing, job sites, or other areas to enable them to serve safely and effectively.