More information about Peace Corps in Nicaragua

As the date draws nearer, I’m hearing more from the PC Central America desk about my assignment and I thought I’d share it. I’ll be flying out of Minneapolis on August 31st to Washington DC for my pre-staging and international departure. While there we’ll be meeting the other volunteers, getting some additional shots and information, and preparing for the journey. Then we fly down to Managua and head out to our pre-service training location, which is south of Managua in one of two places. One of the places is near a volcanic state park, and the other is further south. I’m not sure which one I’ll be at, but secretly I think it would be awesome to be near the volcano. 🙂

The pre-service training will last 12 weeks, during which we will be staying with a host family and taking language classes, technical training (in my case for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or TEFL), and safety/health training. After completion of our pre-service training, we are placed in a village and we begin our actual volunteering in a community with another host family.

From what I understand, I will be working with teachers from my communities and those nearby to improve the English teaching material and practices in the public schools. This will involve working with local teachers, administrators, teaching classes, and helping to ‘build capacity’ wherever possible. I’m working on reading up as much as possible about teaching and TEFL before I go so that I can be as helpful as possible. It’s a bit daunting to think that I will be heading to a foreign country, in a rural area, and trying to improve on what has been in effect for at least a decade before I arrived. I just hope to find people who are open and can help me understand what I can do to be most helpful there. I’m sure the Peace Corps will assist with this also.

The closer the date comes, the more excited I am, though simultaneously I become more nervous about leaving the US, my family, and Friends. I suppose this is how it’s supposed to feel, and it’s a bit reminiscent of going off to college for the first time, though this time college is MUCH further away. I’m also a bit nervous as to how I’ll be received by the Nicaraguans. The more I read about how the US has interacted with Nicaragua over the centuries, the more embarrassed I become. We have invaded their country numerous times, supported military dictatorships, funded counter-revolutionary wars, mined their harbors, and threatened their borders for more than 150 years. I’m sure most people in the country will be able to separate me from that historical legacy, but I can’t help feeling like if I were them, I wouldn’t be too friendly or optimistic about American involvement of any kind.

I guess I’ll find out soon enough! I’m going to focus more on updating this blog to get in practice for Nicaragua also. Have a great beginning of August, everyone!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Debra Lawsing on July 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Andrew, I’m proud of you. I’m actually thinking about the Peace Corps when I retire (if that ever happens). I’ll be interested in hearing about your experiences. I traveled to Cuba with a number of returned Peace Corps volunteers and am still in contact with Anne Baker, vice president of the Peace Corps. It will be an experience you’ll never forget. Someday I want to see a picture from Nicaragua in the WI RPCV calendar! Good luck and take care.

    Reply

    • Thanks! I’ll definitely keep everyone posted, and I’ll work on getting something in the WI RPCV calendar. Hope you have a great summer.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Anna Sower on July 31, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Good luck in Nicaragua! What an adventure! I’m sure you’ll do well and will be accepted by the people you meet. Just remember to be the warm, accepting, open person that you are and listen to those you meet. You will be learning much from them, too. Keep in touch.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Sara Skiles on August 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Andrew! My name is Sara and I’m going to be in the Nica 54 training group as well. I’ll be in the Environmental Education sector. We actually have a Nica 54 group on Facebook called “Peace Corps Nicaragua August 2010.” You should definitely join! 🙂 If you know of anyone who will be in our training group but who is not on the group yet, feel free to spread the word. Looking forward to meeting you! 🙂

    Reply

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