When I joined the Peace Corps I thought that Pre-Service training was the only group training we would experience during our 27 months. Turns out I was very wrong.
There are several major training conferences that PCVs attend during their service. I’ve outlined them below:
Allow me to summarize the purpose and structure of each conference:
I’ve already written a detailed overview of PST, including calendars of what we did each day. Check it out here.
Basically PST covers the first three months in your country-of-service. It is when you learn the language, get to know other PCVs, and become familiar with PC policies.
After spending about three months alone at site, PCVs experience a glorious reunion at their first IST. Ours was held for five days in a beautiful hotel in Peja in early December. It was lots of fun to see everyone again and hear about their varied experiences and struggles.
Project Design & Management
This conference took place for three days in mid-February at a hotel in Prishtina. It was not nearly as nice as IST and the sessions were far more technical. It focused on grant-writing and project development. PCVs also bring their local teaching-counterpart along with them for two days.
In March we had three days of additional language training. Our group of 33 PCVs was divided into three groups by our region. The groups met in a major city (either Prizren, Peja, or Gjilan) to review Albanian grammar and cover more advanced language topics.Sadly this training did not include a free hotel stay, so we had to travel by bus every day to-and-from our sites. It made for long days. I ended up sleeping over at a hostel in Prizren one of the nights just to cut down on bus trips.
Around the halfway point in your Peace Corps service there is a four-day training in the capital. It includes meals and a hotel stay. For my group of PCVs this took place in September of 2016. The first day of the conference includes your teaching counterpart.
There may be another IST at some point during the second year of service, but I don’t know the details yet.
Close of Service Conference
This conference takes place in May and involves a bunch of paperwork and sessions about transitioning back to life in the U.S.