It is with great excitement, anticipation, and confidence in the Nicaragua Peace Corps team that I write to you this inaugural blog post from Managua, Nicaragua. Woo hoo! Our group of 41 TEFL and Environmental Education trainees have been gathered at a beautiful hotel minutes from the Managua Airport since noon on Wednesday to participate in an all-cohort, four-day orientation retreat. So far our days have been jam packed with learning all about what our future will be like as Peace Corps (PC) Nicaragua trainees. We are considered trainees, or “aspirantes,” until we complete our 12 week Pre-Service Training. If we have been successful in our training then we will be sworn in as volunteers. I want to share with you how I feel right now:
Honestly, so far Emily and I have had nothing but positive vibes from the staff and the trainings we’ve had so far. Here are some of the highlights:
- Our Country Director for Nicaragua is one of the most experienced, highly regarded Country Directors in the Peace Corps. A former Peace Corps volunteer, he has served as a Country Director on three previous occasions, including Guatemala throughout most of the 80s, and Nicaragua in the late 90s.
- Our Training Director has been coordinating, creating, and leading PC trainings for decades, mainly in Nicaragua.
- Nicaragua was one first posts to utilize the community-based training model, which is now a best practice used throughout the world.
- Before working with the Peace Corps, our Safety & Security coordinator worked for the US Embassy in Managua.
- My Spanish language/culture facilitator has been teaching Spanish with the Peace Corps for 17 years
- The Spanish language training program looks incredible! We will be split into groups of 3-4 trainees of similar levels, and engage in intensive, community-based training for six hours a day, four days a week, for the next 12 weeks.
- Our TEFL trainers have extensive experience teaching English, and have prepared some excellent, well-organized materials to support us in learning the technical skills for our job. We will start training in classrooms, working with counterpart teachers, in three weeks!
- All of this adds up to and early termination rate of 7% for PC Nicaragua volunteers, vastly better than the Peace Corps worldwide average of ~28%.
Additionally, Emily and I feel that we are starting to bond with many of our fellow trainees. This orientation has been so informative and helpful, and has instilled a tremendous amount of confidence in us. For any concerned parties out there, I hope this post has instill confidence in you, too 🙂
Stay tuned for updates regarding our experience in Pre-Service Training, as we will be shipped off to live with our host families after the retreat!