Peace Corps To Do List I have never been one to make lists, or more…
For those of you who like my soul searching [baring?] posts, this is not one of them. Stay tuned next week for more of that. This one is about pre-service training. What exactly is pre-service training? Glad you asked. If you thought, like I did at one point, that as soon as I got on the plane, I was an official Peace Corps Volunteer, you would be incorrect. At this point, I am a mere trainee. So what exactly am I doing right now?
Essentially training is like going to summer camp where you know no one and being a freshman at college where none of your friends went all at the same time. Then you make friends, get a little comfortable, and then the rug is pulled out from under your feet again. This is training. And this is where some people quit. In Peace Corps’ parlance, it’s called early termination, and it essentially means you resign from your position as a ‘volunteer’.
In general, I’m not to suffer from test anxiety. In addition to the standard barrage of testing one does while in k-12 , I’ve taken the SAT, ACT, AP subject exams, GRE, MCAT, 2 respiratory licensing exams + one specialty exam, TEAS, an entire nursing program full of ATI exams, and NCLEX. However, the one thing all of these exams have in common is that they are computerized. No talking required. I very nearly didn’t graduate from my first go around in college due to the ORAL PROFICIENCY EXAM. I have always suffered from a crippling fear of public speaking/performance, and while I’ve gotten better as I’ve aged [matured?], it is still one of my least favorite things to do on the entire planet.
One of the requirements to be sworn in as a volunteer is to achieve a certain level on the language exam. It varies from language to language and program to program, but essentially one must score somewhere between novice-high and intermediate-mid depending on the difficulty of the language. The exam usually takes place in the next to last week of training and is essentially a recorded interview in the target language and is graded to determine a person’s fluency. [Side note: Google translate does not have Kinyarwandan as an option.]
Pre-Service Training concludes for everyone on the day of Swearing-IN, [for me, this occurs on August 14, 2018] which is a big ceremony with government officials and TV crews and fancy clothes. After taking our oaths we officially become Peace Corps Volunteers. Immediately after the ceremony we travel to our permanent sites and begin the two years [more or less] on our own. It’s an intense day.