Difference between pages "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Cambodia" and "Packing list for Fiji"

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{{Living_conditions_and_volunteer_lifestyles_by_country}}
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{{Packing lists by country}}
  
==Communications==
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This list has been compiled by Volunteers who currently serve in [[Fiji]] and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You can always have things sent to you later.  You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Fiji.
  
===Mail===
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===General Clothing===
The postal system in Cambodia is somewhat unreliable and varies greatly from province to province. Peace Corps/Cambodia will set up a system for Volunteers to receive packages at the office mailing address below throughout your service, although the Peace Corps will only be responsible for packages and other mail that actually arrives at our office.
 
  
You will be able to receive mail at the following address throughout your service:
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Avoid bringing clothing that requires dry cleaning. Also suede gets ruined here due to the high humidity.
  
PCT [your name]<br>
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===For Women:===
P.O. Box 2453<br>
 
Phnom Penh<br>
 
Cambodia<br>
 
  
===Telephones===
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* Long dresses with sleeves. These should be loose and well below the knees (ankle length is best). Latest casual fashions are fine. One or two “nicer” dresses are good to have for swearing-in ceremonies and other important occasions, such as weddings and attending church services. ''You really only need one of these to wear to church.  Any other time, Fijians never wear dresses or skirts to their ankles.  Just below the knee is fine.''
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* Black dress and/or skirt. In the unfortunate event that there is a funeral in your community, you will need to have a properly conservative long black skirt or dress.''You will go to at least one funeral so definately bring a black dress or skirt.  The dress doesn't have to be ankle length because you can buy a black sulu to wear underneath it.''
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* Long, loose skirts. These should below the knees and full enough for you to be able to sit on the floor with your legs to the side and your knees covered. ''These are what Fijian women wear everyday they're in town and some wear them in the village too, so bring plenty.''
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* Tops and shirts. At least one or two long-sleeved tops to wear when you’ve had enough sun. Also, plenty of loose-fitting, comfortable, short-sleeved cotton shirts. Tight-fitting and/or low-cut shirts or sleeveless tank tops are not appropriate. Loose tailored T-shirts are fine (check Eddie Bauer, Lands End, L.L. Bean, etc.). You may also want to consider one or two sleeveless tops for when you are traveling (on vacation/at resorts). ''If you can afford them, bring a few REI/Patagonia style fancy "quick-dry" whatever tee-shirts because cotton takes a long time to dry in humid Fiji and your cotton shirts will quickly get holes and become worn from all the hand washing.  The REI shirts last forever and dry well in Fiji.''
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* Blouses. Depending upon your site and your assignment, you may find yourself dressing more formally/professionally than you are used to at home.  Bring a few nice, lightweight tailored blouses. Short sleeves are best for the hotter weather. ''Italic text''
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* Jacket and sweatshirt. It does (occasionally) get cool here, so bring something that is sturdy and cotton.  Long-sleeved T-shirts work well, too. You will not need anything like fleece unless you are planning to travel to a colder area during your stay. ''Italic text''
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* Undergarments. There is only one kind to consider: cotton. Bring as many as you will need for your full two years as they are very expensive to replace here and they tend to wear out with repeated scrubbing. You may need to wear a slip with your lightweight dresses and skirts. On hot days, cotton slips will be more comfortable than nylon. Some Volunteers wear non-see-through medium-weight cotton skirts to avoid the double layers that slips produce. Leave your panty-hose and stockings at home as women do not wear them here (they are too hot in this climate).
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* Jeans and long pants. Usually they will not be appropriate to wear at your site and in general are just too heavy to wear in the heat anyway. Pants and jeans are acceptable for home wear and some urban activities, but almost never in a village or settlement. Bring a couple along for travel and/or visits to Suva. Lightweight cottons and capris-type pants are most appropriate.
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* Shorts. One or two pair(s) of long, knee-length shorts are advisable. Though they cannot be worn in the villages in public, they can be worn at the beach or for playing sports. Some women also wear shorts under their sulus, so consider a pair or two for this purpose.  Nylon running shorts or tight biking shorts are not acceptable. For exercising outdoors, longer running shorts or capris-length shorts are acceptable.
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*      ''You will want to go to Suva (the capital) occasionally and go out to dinner and go dancing and whatnot.  So bring the same clothes you wear in the US when you want to dress up a little and look nice (jeans, spaghetti straps, short dresses, etc.).  The Fijians do it too, it's fine.''
  
Volunteers will be issued cellphones during pre-service training and be responsible for the subsequent usage. Cellphone service is widely available even in rural areas and is commonly used. You will be able to receive domestic and international calls and SMS text messages on these phones. Because it is expensive for Volunteers to make international calls from their cellphones, many Volunteers' families have purchased international phone cards online.
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===For Men:===
  
===Computer, Internet, and Email Access===
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* Slacks and long pants. Permanent press cotton-poly blends are a good bet and always acceptable in professional situations and at your site. Medium-weight, drab colors will last and hide stains and can usually go a bit longer between washings. Blue jeans are not acceptable in professional situations and are usually too heavy to wear anyway, but are fine to wear around the house and in some urban activities.
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* Shirts. Permanent press, collared, button-down cotton shirts are suggested for work. Long sleeves rolled up for comfort are perfectly acceptable, but short sleeves are cooler and more commonly worn. Golf shirts are fine to wear to work. T-shirts and rugby shirts are for recreation only. One or two dressier shirts are needed for special occasions or church.
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* Shorts. These are usually worn only in casual, non-jobrelated activities and in some rural-based assignments (e.g., fisheries). Cut-offs and gym shorts are for recreation only. Otherwise, stick to packing permanent press, medium-weight, drab-colored cotton shorts that come just to or below mid-thigh.
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* Jacket, sweater, sweatshirt. It’s not always warm in the tropics, so you will find it handy to have an extra layer to wear. Washable cotton is suggested. It is not necessary to bring a sports jacket, but there are events when it will be nice to have one (swearing-in ceremonies, local celebrations, etc.). A tie with a short-sleeved dress shirt is also acceptable without a jacket for dressier occasions.
  
Internet access is available in Phnom Penh and in most provincial capitals, although price and speed vary considerably. A majority of the Volunteers currently serving in Cambodia do NOT have daily or even weekly access to computers or the Internet.
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Undergarments. Bring a good number of cotton briefs. Underclothes are very expensive in Fiji and wear out quickly due to hand-scrubbing and humidity. Cotton boxer shorts are not available here.  
  
Many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have offices at the provincial level in Cambodia. Some have dial-up Internet access to their headquarters in Phnom Penh. You may be able to barter your Internet usage by helping these organizations. In addition, some NGOs have started to put computer labs in district schools. However, since schools generally do not have electricity or phone service, these labs must be run on a generator and do not have Internet access.
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* Swimsuits. Local men just wear their walking shorts for swimming. Trunk styles are more acceptable than bikini Speedo styles.  
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* Neckties. One will come in handy for special occasions and for church. Most men do not wear ties to work as they are too hot.
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* Socks. Cotton socks are expensive and hard to find here; however, you probably won’t need more than a few pair.  
  
At the Peace Corps Office in Phnom Penh, there is a Volunteer Resource Room with computers (and free access to the Internet), as well as a printer, and a resource library for Volunteers' use. Whenever Volunteers are in Phnom Penh, they are welcome to use the Volunteer Resource Room, which is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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===All Volunteers===
  
===Housing and Site Location===
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Shoes and Accessories
  
Peace Corps/Cambodia Volunteers will live with host families throughout their service. Since most high schools are at the district level, most education Volunteers live in provincial and district towns. Health centers are located at the commune or village level, so health education Volunteers will be in smaller towns. In the district towns, some homes have electricity and indoor plumbing, including toilets and cold water showers. Electricity is not available at every site. Drinking water must be boiled,filtered, or purchased. Other basic amenities such as soap, shampoo, hair conditioner, lotion, stationery, sodas, and instant coffee should be available in provincial or district centers.
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* Athletic shoes. Fiji offers many different sporting activities, especially walking. If you plan to do a lot of running, hiking, or playing squash, bring the appropriate shoes for it. Brand-name shoes are often available, but expensive and styles are limited. Be aware that expensive athletic shoes are among the items most often stolen from Volunteers. Leather hiking shoes are usually too hot and mold before you get much use out of them. ''I've been in Fiji for almost a year and I've worn my sneakers once.  I live in flip-flops.''
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* Sandals/walking shoes. A good sturdy, waterproof style (like Teva or Chaco) that can be worn both in the water and out are a good investment; you will find yourself living in them. You may also want to bring along a “nice” pair of sandals for more formal occasions (swearing-in, celebrations, etc.)''Fijians don't wear nice sandals even on nice occasions. Flip-flops are always appropriate''. Plastic flip-flops are widely available here and are great for showers. You will probably not need dress shoes, heels, rain boots or the like.
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* Sunglasses. The sun in the tropics is very strong, so be kind to your eyes. If you wear prescription glasses, you may want to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses. Cheap, non-polarized sunglasses are available in urban areas; duty-free shops carry quality brands, but be ready to pay a premium for them.
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* Hats. Hats are taboo in the villages, but there will be plenty of times when you are away from the village when you will be glad for some protection from the sun.  A collapsible, washable type that is easily packed is best. Note: never wear a hat inside a building or house.
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* Waterproof windbreaker. A lightweight, waterproof jacket is a good thing to have. Make sure it isn’t too heavy and that it’s breathable. You will not need a full raincoat, as a cool, afternoon shower will be a welcome change from the heat! Plastic raincoats tend to be cumbersome and very hot in this weather.
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* Umbrella. It rains a lot here! Inexpensive folding umbrellas are available, but tend to be poorly made. Consider bringing one from home (Eddie Bauer makes a great travel umbrella that is well-made and very small). Better quality, full-size umbrellas are available everywhere. ''Definitely bring a travel-sized, rust-proof umbrella from home.  You will use it all the time.''
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* Waterproof watch. Even if you don’t get the watch wet, if it isn’t waterproof, it will rust from the humidity.  Watches can be purchased here at reasonable costs.
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* Personal hygiene and toiletry items. Just about anything you need can be purchased here; however, imported items often cost roughly the same as they would in the U.S. If you have a favorite brand or product, you might consider bringing a supply with you. If you are on any special medication, bring a three-month supply with you as it may take that long for a replacement to be ordered from the U.S. Anyone with glasses, hearing aid, etc. should bring at least one replacement. In most cases, the Peace Corps will not replace lost or damaged contact lenses nor more than one pair of eyeglasses.''After you swear-in (at the end of training) the peace corps doctors provide you with any kind of medication you can think of, including sunscreen, face-wash, lotion, bug-spray, pain killers, baby powder, etc.  So don't bring too much of this kind of stuff, just a little to get you through training.  Oh wait.  They did give us sunscreen and bug-spray during training so don't bring any of that.''
  
===Living Allowance and Money Management===
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===Kitchen and Home===
  
As a Volunteer, you will receive a monthly living allowance, which will be transferred directly to your Peace Corps bank account on a regular basis. The living allowance will be based on what Volunteers need to live comfortably. An annual survey determines whether your living allowance is appropriate. Like Peace Corps Volunteers worldwide, those in Cambodia are expected to live at a level commensurate with that of their Cambodian co-workers. Expensive dinners out at Phnom Penh tourist restaurants will be possible only rarely for you as a Volunteer. However, the allowance is certainly enough to enable you to purchase basic necessities and have a night out occasionally.
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* Clock. Bring a small one with an alarm, either wind-up or battery-powered.
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* Good, sharp kitchen knife. Needs no explanation and will make your hours in the kitchen much fewer and less painful! Remember to pack this in your luggage and not in your carry-on bag. ''For sure bring this''
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* Battery-operated (or solar-powered) tape recorder, radio cassette/CD player and/or shortwave radio. Also bring along some of your favorite music as pre-recorded tapes and CDs are very expensive here. ''You will be very happy if you bring your iPod and portable speakers (battery powered in case you don't have electricity).''
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* Portable tool kit. Screwdriver, pliers, etc. can be bought here, but you may want to bring a small portable kit anyway. ''Kind of a good idea, but if you don't already have it, don't go buy one just for Fiji.''
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* Towels. Two towels and face cloths. Lightweight towels dry faster in the humidity.
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* Flashlight. Also known as a “torch” here in Fiji, these come in very handy. Consider a waterproof flashlight.  Mini-Mag-lights are great, too.
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* Pocket knife or all-purpose tool. A Swiss Army knife or Leatherman is something you will find yourself using daily.
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* Duct Tape. A roll or two will come in handy throughout your two years.
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* Luggage locks. A few small locks for your bags when they are in storage. Note: Most airlines are discouraging their use in flight, so you may want to just pack them in your suitcase rather than actually using them on your trip over. ''Italic text''
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* Plastic drip coffeemaker. Bring it if you really love coffee. The non-electrical kind that fits on top of a glass decanter or the type that you can brew an individual cup is best. Instant coffee is available all over Fiji and drip coffee can be found in Suva, if you’re willing to pay the price.
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* Silica gel. This is to protect your electronics (camera, etc.) from moisture damage. It also comes in handy with leather items, tapes, shoes, your medical kit, etc. You can get packets at your local craft store (used to dry flowers), at some discount chains (Target), some home stores and on the Internet. The kind that you can bake and re-use is best. ''Yes, bring this if you love your iPod.''
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* Basic cookbook. The Joy of Cooking comes in a compact paperback version and is very useful. ''You will get Peace Corps Fiji cookbook with all the info you need for cooking in Fiji, so you don't need to bring your own.''
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* Vegetable steamer. Non-electric, basket kind that fits inside a pot. ''I guess if you really like steamed vegetables.''
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* Zip-loc bags. These have so many uses! They keep the bugs out of your food; they can be used to store items (with a little silica packet to capture the moisture), for travel, wet clothing, cosmetics, etc.
  
===Food and Diet===
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===Miscellaneous and Personal Items===
  
The food in Cambodia is excellent. Khmers like to eat three meals a day, as well as snacks between meals. The staple food is rice, so you can expect to eat a lot of it. Rice is extremely important to Khmer culture, and Volunteers may be surprised by the amount of rice they are expected to eat. It is important to remember that the offering of rice is an intrinsic part of Cambodian hospitality. That said, noodles and bread are widely available, and no two families have the same eating habits. For example, you might have rice with some type of meat for breakfast, fried rice or noodles with or without meat for lunch and rice with curry or stir-fried vegetables for dinner. District towns usually have a market that will serve the surrounding villages, so you should be able to get your basic necessities easily. Provincial towns also have small supermarkets, where you can purchase cheese and other more Western foods.
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Bring along small, but replaceable, parts of your life you don’t want to live without for the next two years. Make sure they are light enough to carry, sturdy enough to last and dispensable enough so that losing them wouldn’t be serious problem. Here are some suggestions:
  
An amazing variety of fruits and vegetables (many that you have never seen before) are available in season. Food stalls in district towns offer reasonably priced cooked food and are open from early morning until evening. Many Khmers eat at these noodle shops during the day, rather than going home for lunch.
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* Checks. It’s a good idea to keep a checking account at home so that you can write checks for things like tax returns, magazine subscriptions, graduate school applications, etc.
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* Camera supplies. Film is available, but lens tissue, cleaning fluid, etc. are very expensive. There is also a one-day developing service, but expensive as you might expect.
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* Paperback books. Very expensive in Fiji. Peace Corps is developing a limited lending library and there is a public library in Suva. Books can be shipped surface mail or “M-bag” (ask the post office for information), but will take several months to arrive.  ''Bring as many as possible, you'll love yourself if you do.''
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* Day pack/backpack. Waterproof is best. You will use it often. ''Yes.''
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* Games, Cards, UNO, Scrabble, Frisbees, etc.
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* Sturdy luggage/travel bags. Waterproof and collapsible.  
  
Vegetarians can survive in Cambodia, but some may find it difficult to maintain a strict diet, especially in some social contexts. In some areas, it may also be difficult to get enough protein without eating meat or fish.
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Hard luggage tends to be cumbersome here as you will not have much room for storage. Collapsible cloth bags or backpacks tend to be more durable than leather goods, which can mold quickly. Once you are in Fiji, you will be asked to travel during training for extended periods of time with only your necessities in one suitcase, so bring one average-sized lightweight piece of luggage so that you can travel light when necessary. You might consider a few waterproof bags—also known as sea bags—for when you travel by boat. ''You don't big sea bags, just small ones to fit your wallet, cell phone, ipod, etc. for when your traveling by boat.''
  
===Transportation===
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* Inflatable globe or lightweight atlas. Great for explaining where you come from to local children. ''Adults too.''
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* Musical instrument(s) (if you play any).
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* Photos of home. Photos of winter/snow scenes will be especially fascinating. ''Fijians love to see photos of your family from America.''
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* Simple song book of American songs. ''If you don't know any American songs...''
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* American pocket dictionary (British versions available here). ''Why would you want this?''
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* Backpacker’s sleeping bag. You will not need a full-size sleeping bag, but a “dream sack,” cotton “mummy” sleeping bag liner or other lightweight travel sheet will come in handy. ''Completely unnecessary.''
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* Surface mail subscriptions of your favorite magazines. Takes about six to eight weeks to arrive. ''Wait until you get your site assignment, then have your subscriptions sent there.  You'll definitely enjoy getting magazines in your mailbox.  Some good ones are Time, the Economist, and National Geographic.''
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* Cheap baseball logo hats for gifts.
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* U.S. symbols (such as pins, flags, etc.) for gifts. Bottle openers, nail clippers, bumper stickers, ashtrays, ballpoint pens, etc. ''It's a good idea to bring gifts for you host family during training.  After that, you don't need any gifts for anybody.''
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* Comic books, cheap wind-up toys, posters, magazines, logo T-shirts for gifts.
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* Water sport equipment. If you plan on SCUBA diving or snorkeling during your downtime you might consider bringing some gear—especially light-gauge wetsuits or dive skins to protect you from water lice. Snorkeling equipment might also be very handy for environmental education Volunteers. We do not recommend that you bring a SCUBA tank, regulator or buoyancy compensating device, as they can be rented and/or supplied by our partners for professional use. ''Definitely bring a mask, snorkel, and fins.  Nobody goes SCUBA diving as part of their assignment, and when you go diving on your own, the equipment is always included.''
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* U.S. postage stamps. A good idea for sending mail home with staff or other Volunteers who are going to the States.
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*      ''Bring a can-opener from America cause the ones here suck.''
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*      ''If you're addicted to chewing gum, the gum here is kinda lame too so bring your own.  But only bring the kind that you pop out of the plastic thing cause all other kinds melt.''
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*      ''Hand sanitizer if you're into that.''
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*      ''Women:  Battery-operated body massager...trust me.''
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*      ''Italic text''
  
Transportation in Phnom Penh is predominantly by motorbike (moto), tuk-tuk (a small carriage pulled by a moto), cyclo (a bike with a chair in front), bicycle (known as a pushbike) or on foot. The central part of Phnom Penh is relatively small, and walking is quite pleasant, especially along the river. Most Cambodians ride on the back of a moto (called a motodop or moto taxi). As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you are not allowed to ride on motos, so you will have to use other safe and affordable alternatives.
 
  
The intercity transportation system in Cambodia is good. One can travel between provincial towns and Phnom Penh via air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses on paved roads. Between provincial towns and district towns and villages, Cambodians travel by van or pickup truck. These smaller conveyances are less well-organized and likely to be crowded. Additionally, the roads are sometimes very bad, especially during the rainy season. Within towns, people ride motos or bikes, take moto taxis or walk. Finding a consistent means of transportation to and from your site may be a challenge, especially in the early months of service.
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[[Category:Fiji]]
 
 
Peace Corps/Cambodia provides a bike and bicycle helmet to each Volunteer for travel to work, for errands, and pleasure. You will have a bike during pre-service training and will receive training in bike maintenance and repair. You will rely heavily on your bike to get around in and near your site.
 
 
 
===Geography and Climate===
 
 
 
Cambodia is in Southeast Asia, in the southern part of Indochina. It covers an area of 181,035 square kilometers and has a population of slightly over 13 million people (2003). Cambodia's climate is warm, humid, and tropical. The country experiences tropical monsoons from May to October, causing flooding in large portions of this mostly flat country. Cambodia has four seasons: Cool and wet, cool and dry, hot and dry, and hot and wet. April is particularly hot and muggy, just before the monsoons start.
 
 
 
The most significant geological feature of Cambodia is the Tonle Sap Lake. During the rainy season, as the Mekong River reaches flood stage, it forces the Tonle Sap River to flow backwards. The water of the Mekong flows northwest to fill the huge Tonle Sap Lake to many times its normal size and volume. When the Mekong flood has peaked and the lake reaches capacity, which usually occurs in late September, the river changes direction once again to flow southeast into the Mekong and south to Vietnam.
 
 
 
===Social Activities===
 
 
 
You will spend much of your free time socializing with your Cambodian colleagues and neighbors, eating, attending Cambodian festivals, weddings, and other cultural events. Your ability to adjust to and enjoy this kind of social life will be an important aspect of your success as a Volunteer.
 
Cambodians spend a lot of time socializing with their families. As most houses in rural areas are built on stilts, you will see many families passing the time under the house during the hottest part of the day. Cambodian women generally socialize in and around the home. Cambodian men often socialize outside the home, playing sports, shooting pool, drinking, and playing cards or chess in cafés. Many of the activities that are popular with men are associated with gambling, and are therefore not appropriate activities for Volunteers to participate in with students.
 
 
 
Volunteers may meet periodically in provincial market towns to share ideas and experiences. In keeping with its goal of cross-cultural exchange, the Peace Corps expects Volunteers to establish social networks with Cambodian friends and colleagues at their sites rather than seek out other Volunteers for social activities. Such networks enhance Volunteers’ ability to be effective in their work.
 
 
 
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
 
 
 
Cambodians, even if very poor, dress neatly and take great personal pride in appearances. Following this example as a Volunteer will increase your effectiveness and credibility in the community. First impressions in Cambodia are extremely important. Throughout your Volunteer service in Cambodia, from the moment you step off the plane at the start of training to your arrival at your work site, you will be expected to dress professionally. Cambodian staff, host families, colleagues, community members, and local officials will pay very close attention to how you present yourself.
 
 
 
Peace Corps Volunteers, especially teachers, will be seen as role models. Appropriate professional dress for men includes slacks and collared short-sleeved shirts and neat shoes (no flip-flops). For women, blouses (with collars) and long skirts are appropriate for work, with closed shoes or shoes/sandals with back straps (no flip-flops). You will find that colleagues may wear more open sandals or shoes (mules, slides) as well, but Volunteers should bring both and take time to observe what is most appropriate. Sleeveless, transparent, tight and/or low-cut tops, as well as going bra-less, is inappropriate. Shorts can be worn around the house and to play sports, but they are not worn by either professional men or women at work.
 
 
 
Male Volunteers should be aware that long hair, beards, moustaches and earrings are generally not worn by Cambodian teachers and are considered to be inappropriate, particularly in the rural provinces. Multiple-pierced ears and visible body piercings or tattoos are also not appropriate for either gender. If you have tattoos, be prepared to wear clothing that will cover them. Additionally, shaved heads may cause unwanted attention; in Cambodia, a shaved head means you are becoming a monk.
 
 
 
===Personal Safety===
 
 
 
More detailed information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is contained in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Cambodia Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security incidents. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Cambodia. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
 
 
 
Each staff member at the Peace Corps is committed to providing Volunteers with the support they need to successfully meet the challenges they will face to have a safe, healthy, and productive service. We encourage Volunteers and families to look at our safety and security information on the Peace Corps website at www.peacecorps.gov/safety.
 
 
 
Information on these pages gives messages on Volunteer health and Volunteer safety. A video message from the Director is on this page, as well as a section titled “Safety and Security in Depth.” This page lists topics ranging from the risks of serving as a Volunteer to posts’ safety support systems to emergency planning and communications.
 
 
 
===Rewards and Frustrations===
 
 
 
Cambodia is a study in contradictions. It is an ancient culture that has existed for more than 1,000 years that, at times, is frustrated from a pace of development that is lagging behind that of its neighbors. From another perspective, Cambodia has only recently emerged from decades of terror and turmoil. In spite of this tremendous setback, Cambodia has made remarkable progress in a short time and is continuing to develop rapidly.
 
The development needs in Cambodia are huge. The education and health systems are still emerging from a state of complete collapse, the agricultural systems that support most of the population are still quite primitive, and infrastructure gaps can still make completing simple bureaucratic tasks difficult. Corruption is endemic in all government systems, including education and health care. Legal systems are also fragile, and many laws relating to basic human rights are not enforced.
 
 
 
At the same time, the potential for impact as a development worker in Cambodia is enormous. Cambodian people are kind and friendly, eager to learn so as to improve their conditions. Everyone is aware of the problems and most are willing to discuss solutions openly. The countryside is beautiful, the food is delicious and nutritious, and Cambodians are proud of their ancient history.
 
 
 
Cambodians, especially those over 30, can tell you stories of horror and loss. Everyone has lost family members and friends under the Khmer Rouge regime. Yet, as a largely Buddhist society, people get along peacefully and without visible rancor or competition.
 
 
 
Although the potential for job satisfaction in Cambodia is quite high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations. The pace of work and life is slower than what most Americans are accustomed to. For these reasons, the Peace Corps experience of adapting to a new culture and environment is often described as a series of emotional peaks and valleys.
 
 
 
You will be given a high degree of responsibility and independence in your work — perhaps more than in any other job you have had or will have. You will often find yourself in situations that require an ability to motivate yourself and your co-workers with little guidance from supervisors. You may work for months without seeing any visible impact from, or without receiving feedback (positive or negative) on your work. Development anywhere in the world — including disadvantaged areas in the United States — is slow work that requires perseverance. You must possess the self-confidence, patience and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.
 
 
 
To overcome these difficulties, you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, resourcefulness and, above all, patience. The Peace Corps staff, your Cambodian co-workers and fellow Volunteers will support you during times of challenge, as well as in moments of success. Judging by the experience of former Volunteers around the world, the peaks are well worth the difficult times, and most Volunteers leave feeling they have gained much more than they have sacrificed during their service. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, you will be a successful Volunteer.
 
 
 
 
 
See also: [[Cambodia]]
 

Revision as of 22:59, 25 April 2009


Packing List for [[{{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]

Packing Lists by Country

These lists has been compiled by Volunteers serving in [[{{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]] based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list!
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]
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See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

[[Category:{{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |3}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |4}} {{#explode:Packing list for Fiji| |5}}]]

This list has been compiled by Volunteers who currently serve in Fiji and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You can always have things sent to you later. You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Fiji.

General Clothing

Avoid bringing clothing that requires dry cleaning. Also suede gets ruined here due to the high humidity.

For Women:

  • Long dresses with sleeves. These should be loose and well below the knees (ankle length is best). Latest casual fashions are fine. One or two “nicer” dresses are good to have for swearing-in ceremonies and other important occasions, such as weddings and attending church services. You really only need one of these to wear to church. Any other time, Fijians never wear dresses or skirts to their ankles. Just below the knee is fine.
  • Black dress and/or skirt. In the unfortunate event that there is a funeral in your community, you will need to have a properly conservative long black skirt or dress.You will go to at least one funeral so definately bring a black dress or skirt. The dress doesn't have to be ankle length because you can buy a black sulu to wear underneath it.
  • Long, loose skirts. These should below the knees and full enough for you to be able to sit on the floor with your legs to the side and your knees covered. These are what Fijian women wear everyday they're in town and some wear them in the village too, so bring plenty.
  • Tops and shirts. At least one or two long-sleeved tops to wear when you’ve had enough sun. Also, plenty of loose-fitting, comfortable, short-sleeved cotton shirts. Tight-fitting and/or low-cut shirts or sleeveless tank tops are not appropriate. Loose tailored T-shirts are fine (check Eddie Bauer, Lands End, L.L. Bean, etc.). You may also want to consider one or two sleeveless tops for when you are traveling (on vacation/at resorts). If you can afford them, bring a few REI/Patagonia style fancy "quick-dry" whatever tee-shirts because cotton takes a long time to dry in humid Fiji and your cotton shirts will quickly get holes and become worn from all the hand washing. The REI shirts last forever and dry well in Fiji.
  • Blouses. Depending upon your site and your assignment, you may find yourself dressing more formally/professionally than you are used to at home. Bring a few nice, lightweight tailored blouses. Short sleeves are best for the hotter weather. Italic text
  • Jacket and sweatshirt. It does (occasionally) get cool here, so bring something that is sturdy and cotton. Long-sleeved T-shirts work well, too. You will not need anything like fleece unless you are planning to travel to a colder area during your stay. Italic text
  • Undergarments. There is only one kind to consider: cotton. Bring as many as you will need for your full two years as they are very expensive to replace here and they tend to wear out with repeated scrubbing. You may need to wear a slip with your lightweight dresses and skirts. On hot days, cotton slips will be more comfortable than nylon. Some Volunteers wear non-see-through medium-weight cotton skirts to avoid the double layers that slips produce. Leave your panty-hose and stockings at home as women do not wear them here (they are too hot in this climate).
  • Jeans and long pants. Usually they will not be appropriate to wear at your site and in general are just too heavy to wear in the heat anyway. Pants and jeans are acceptable for home wear and some urban activities, but almost never in a village or settlement. Bring a couple along for travel and/or visits to Suva. Lightweight cottons and capris-type pants are most appropriate.
  • Shorts. One or two pair(s) of long, knee-length shorts are advisable. Though they cannot be worn in the villages in public, they can be worn at the beach or for playing sports. Some women also wear shorts under their sulus, so consider a pair or two for this purpose. Nylon running shorts or tight biking shorts are not acceptable. For exercising outdoors, longer running shorts or capris-length shorts are acceptable.
  • You will want to go to Suva (the capital) occasionally and go out to dinner and go dancing and whatnot. So bring the same clothes you wear in the US when you want to dress up a little and look nice (jeans, spaghetti straps, short dresses, etc.). The Fijians do it too, it's fine.

For Men:

  • Slacks and long pants. Permanent press cotton-poly blends are a good bet and always acceptable in professional situations and at your site. Medium-weight, drab colors will last and hide stains and can usually go a bit longer between washings. Blue jeans are not acceptable in professional situations and are usually too heavy to wear anyway, but are fine to wear around the house and in some urban activities.
  • Shirts. Permanent press, collared, button-down cotton shirts are suggested for work. Long sleeves rolled up for comfort are perfectly acceptable, but short sleeves are cooler and more commonly worn. Golf shirts are fine to wear to work. T-shirts and rugby shirts are for recreation only. One or two dressier shirts are needed for special occasions or church.
  • Shorts. These are usually worn only in casual, non-jobrelated activities and in some rural-based assignments (e.g., fisheries). Cut-offs and gym shorts are for recreation only. Otherwise, stick to packing permanent press, medium-weight, drab-colored cotton shorts that come just to or below mid-thigh.
  • Jacket, sweater, sweatshirt. It’s not always warm in the tropics, so you will find it handy to have an extra layer to wear. Washable cotton is suggested. It is not necessary to bring a sports jacket, but there are events when it will be nice to have one (swearing-in ceremonies, local celebrations, etc.). A tie with a short-sleeved dress shirt is also acceptable without a jacket for dressier occasions.

Undergarments. Bring a good number of cotton briefs. Underclothes are very expensive in Fiji and wear out quickly due to hand-scrubbing and humidity. Cotton boxer shorts are not available here.

  • Swimsuits. Local men just wear their walking shorts for swimming. Trunk styles are more acceptable than bikini Speedo styles.
  • Neckties. One will come in handy for special occasions and for church. Most men do not wear ties to work as they are too hot.
  • Socks. Cotton socks are expensive and hard to find here; however, you probably won’t need more than a few pair.

All Volunteers

Shoes and Accessories

  • Athletic shoes. Fiji offers many different sporting activities, especially walking. If you plan to do a lot of running, hiking, or playing squash, bring the appropriate shoes for it. Brand-name shoes are often available, but expensive and styles are limited. Be aware that expensive athletic shoes are among the items most often stolen from Volunteers. Leather hiking shoes are usually too hot and mold before you get much use out of them. I've been in Fiji for almost a year and I've worn my sneakers once. I live in flip-flops.
  • Sandals/walking shoes. A good sturdy, waterproof style (like Teva or Chaco) that can be worn both in the water and out are a good investment; you will find yourself living in them. You may also want to bring along a “nice” pair of sandals for more formal occasions (swearing-in, celebrations, etc.)Fijians don't wear nice sandals even on nice occasions. Flip-flops are always appropriate. Plastic flip-flops are widely available here and are great for showers. You will probably not need dress shoes, heels, rain boots or the like.
  • Sunglasses. The sun in the tropics is very strong, so be kind to your eyes. If you wear prescription glasses, you may want to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses. Cheap, non-polarized sunglasses are available in urban areas; duty-free shops carry quality brands, but be ready to pay a premium for them.
  • Hats. Hats are taboo in the villages, but there will be plenty of times when you are away from the village when you will be glad for some protection from the sun. A collapsible, washable type that is easily packed is best. Note: never wear a hat inside a building or house.
  • Waterproof windbreaker. A lightweight, waterproof jacket is a good thing to have. Make sure it isn’t too heavy and that it’s breathable. You will not need a full raincoat, as a cool, afternoon shower will be a welcome change from the heat! Plastic raincoats tend to be cumbersome and very hot in this weather.
  • Umbrella. It rains a lot here! Inexpensive folding umbrellas are available, but tend to be poorly made. Consider bringing one from home (Eddie Bauer makes a great travel umbrella that is well-made and very small). Better quality, full-size umbrellas are available everywhere. Definitely bring a travel-sized, rust-proof umbrella from home. You will use it all the time.
  • Waterproof watch. Even if you don’t get the watch wet, if it isn’t waterproof, it will rust from the humidity. Watches can be purchased here at reasonable costs.
  • Personal hygiene and toiletry items. Just about anything you need can be purchased here; however, imported items often cost roughly the same as they would in the U.S. If you have a favorite brand or product, you might consider bringing a supply with you. If you are on any special medication, bring a three-month supply with you as it may take that long for a replacement to be ordered from the U.S. Anyone with glasses, hearing aid, etc. should bring at least one replacement. In most cases, the Peace Corps will not replace lost or damaged contact lenses nor more than one pair of eyeglasses.After you swear-in (at the end of training) the peace corps doctors provide you with any kind of medication you can think of, including sunscreen, face-wash, lotion, bug-spray, pain killers, baby powder, etc. So don't bring too much of this kind of stuff, just a little to get you through training. Oh wait. They did give us sunscreen and bug-spray during training so don't bring any of that.

Kitchen and Home

  • Clock. Bring a small one with an alarm, either wind-up or battery-powered.
  • Good, sharp kitchen knife. Needs no explanation and will make your hours in the kitchen much fewer and less painful! Remember to pack this in your luggage and not in your carry-on bag. For sure bring this
  • Battery-operated (or solar-powered) tape recorder, radio cassette/CD player and/or shortwave radio. Also bring along some of your favorite music as pre-recorded tapes and CDs are very expensive here. You will be very happy if you bring your iPod and portable speakers (battery powered in case you don't have electricity).
  • Portable tool kit. Screwdriver, pliers, etc. can be bought here, but you may want to bring a small portable kit anyway. Kind of a good idea, but if you don't already have it, don't go buy one just for Fiji.
  • Towels. Two towels and face cloths. Lightweight towels dry faster in the humidity.
  • Flashlight. Also known as a “torch” here in Fiji, these come in very handy. Consider a waterproof flashlight. Mini-Mag-lights are great, too.
  • Pocket knife or all-purpose tool. A Swiss Army knife or Leatherman is something you will find yourself using daily.
  • Duct Tape. A roll or two will come in handy throughout your two years.
  • Luggage locks. A few small locks for your bags when they are in storage. Note: Most airlines are discouraging their use in flight, so you may want to just pack them in your suitcase rather than actually using them on your trip over. Italic text
  • Plastic drip coffeemaker. Bring it if you really love coffee. The non-electrical kind that fits on top of a glass decanter or the type that you can brew an individual cup is best. Instant coffee is available all over Fiji and drip coffee can be found in Suva, if you’re willing to pay the price.
  • Silica gel. This is to protect your electronics (camera, etc.) from moisture damage. It also comes in handy with leather items, tapes, shoes, your medical kit, etc. You can get packets at your local craft store (used to dry flowers), at some discount chains (Target), some home stores and on the Internet. The kind that you can bake and re-use is best. Yes, bring this if you love your iPod.
  • Basic cookbook. The Joy of Cooking comes in a compact paperback version and is very useful. You will get Peace Corps Fiji cookbook with all the info you need for cooking in Fiji, so you don't need to bring your own.
  • Vegetable steamer. Non-electric, basket kind that fits inside a pot. I guess if you really like steamed vegetables.
  • Zip-loc bags. These have so many uses! They keep the bugs out of your food; they can be used to store items (with a little silica packet to capture the moisture), for travel, wet clothing, cosmetics, etc.

Miscellaneous and Personal Items

Bring along small, but replaceable, parts of your life you don’t want to live without for the next two years. Make sure they are light enough to carry, sturdy enough to last and dispensable enough so that losing them wouldn’t be serious problem. Here are some suggestions:

  • Checks. It’s a good idea to keep a checking account at home so that you can write checks for things like tax returns, magazine subscriptions, graduate school applications, etc.
  • Camera supplies. Film is available, but lens tissue, cleaning fluid, etc. are very expensive. There is also a one-day developing service, but expensive as you might expect.
  • Paperback books. Very expensive in Fiji. Peace Corps is developing a limited lending library and there is a public library in Suva. Books can be shipped surface mail or “M-bag” (ask the post office for information), but will take several months to arrive. Bring as many as possible, you'll love yourself if you do.
  • Day pack/backpack. Waterproof is best. You will use it often. Yes.
  • Games, Cards, UNO, Scrabble, Frisbees, etc.
  • Sturdy luggage/travel bags. Waterproof and collapsible.

Hard luggage tends to be cumbersome here as you will not have much room for storage. Collapsible cloth bags or backpacks tend to be more durable than leather goods, which can mold quickly. Once you are in Fiji, you will be asked to travel during training for extended periods of time with only your necessities in one suitcase, so bring one average-sized lightweight piece of luggage so that you can travel light when necessary. You might consider a few waterproof bags—also known as sea bags—for when you travel by boat. You don't big sea bags, just small ones to fit your wallet, cell phone, ipod, etc. for when your traveling by boat.

  • Inflatable globe or lightweight atlas. Great for explaining where you come from to local children. Adults too.
  • Musical instrument(s) (if you play any).
  • Photos of home. Photos of winter/snow scenes will be especially fascinating. Fijians love to see photos of your family from America.
  • Simple song book of American songs. If you don't know any American songs...
  • American pocket dictionary (British versions available here). Why would you want this?
  • Backpacker’s sleeping bag. You will not need a full-size sleeping bag, but a “dream sack,” cotton “mummy” sleeping bag liner or other lightweight travel sheet will come in handy. Completely unnecessary.
  • Surface mail subscriptions of your favorite magazines. Takes about six to eight weeks to arrive. Wait until you get your site assignment, then have your subscriptions sent there. You'll definitely enjoy getting magazines in your mailbox. Some good ones are Time, the Economist, and National Geographic.
  • Cheap baseball logo hats for gifts.
  • U.S. symbols (such as pins, flags, etc.) for gifts. Bottle openers, nail clippers, bumper stickers, ashtrays, ballpoint pens, etc. It's a good idea to bring gifts for you host family during training. After that, you don't need any gifts for anybody.
  • Comic books, cheap wind-up toys, posters, magazines, logo T-shirts for gifts.
  • Water sport equipment. If you plan on SCUBA diving or snorkeling during your downtime you might consider bringing some gear—especially light-gauge wetsuits or dive skins to protect you from water lice. Snorkeling equipment might also be very handy for environmental education Volunteers. We do not recommend that you bring a SCUBA tank, regulator or buoyancy compensating device, as they can be rented and/or supplied by our partners for professional use. Definitely bring a mask, snorkel, and fins. Nobody goes SCUBA diving as part of their assignment, and when you go diving on your own, the equipment is always included.
  • U.S. postage stamps. A good idea for sending mail home with staff or other Volunteers who are going to the States.
  • Bring a can-opener from America cause the ones here suck.
  • If you're addicted to chewing gum, the gum here is kinda lame too so bring your own. But only bring the kind that you pop out of the plastic thing cause all other kinds melt.
  • Hand sanitizer if you're into that.
  • Women: Battery-operated body massager...trust me.
  • Italic text