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Bearcats on the Road

Pre-Service Training

Posted by Abby Bryant on Mon, Jul 01, 2013 @ 09:39 AM
Before I can be sworn in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer (which will happen in August!)I have to go through a pretty intense 9 week training program referred to as PST (Pre-Service Training). Though there’s no way we can learn everything we need to know for the next two years, PST is filled with language classes, technical training, field trips, and other random training sessions to provide us with a pretty solid foundation.

Monday-Friday I have classes and training sessions, while the weekends are kept open for field trips, additional training, and an occasional off day. Almost nobody here speaks English, so we have four hours of Spanish each day. Four hours of class sounds like a lot, especially for a newly graduated 22 year old, but it´s actually really awesome. My 3 classmates and I have class on a neighbor´s porch and spend the time chatting about random topics and doing assignments that really help make life in a Spanish speaking country easier.
We also have technical training, where we spend the other half of the day learning about Panamanian agriculture and agribusiness. So far it´s been really interesting; today I even got to eat raw sugarcane from our garden! Next week (Week 2) I’ll be spending four days shadowing a volunteer who works on a cacao plantation in a gorgeous region called Bocas del Toro, which I doubt I could be anymore excited about. Then during week 4 we’ll be traveling back to Bocas del Toro as a group for Technical Week, during which we’ll get to practice all of the agriculture techniques we’ve been learning. We’ll also get specialized training in the production, management, and business of specific Panamanian staple crops like coffee, cacao, and plantains.
Finally, after hearing our site placements (where we will be working for the next two years!) in Week 6, we’ll each spend week 7 getting to know our future co-workers, host families, and community members in whatever village we´ve been assigned to. After that we’ll have another week of training in our current village, a week to wrap up everything in Panama City, and it will be time to be sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers!

Topics: Peace Corps, Panama, Volunteer Abroad, Abby Bryant

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In Bearcats on the Road, students chronicle their lives while studying abroad or completing internships away from campus.

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