Change Yourself…Change The World.


So You’re Going to Paraguay.
January 18, 2011, 11:35 am
Filed under: Paraguay

Hello friends,

Some of you that are not familiar with the Peace Corps are probably wondering- ‘oh cool, you’re going to be a Peace Corps Volunteer- what does that mean?’ I dedicate this post to you.

The Peace Corps is part of the U.S. government, and was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to promote peace and friendship throughout the world. More than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the host countries that they serve. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, it is our mission to provide technical assistance to our host country, help people outside of the United States to understand our culture, and to help Americans understand the culture of other countries. You can check out other countries that the Peace Corps serves here.

Being a Peace Corps Volunteer is a 27-month commitment. As I will be serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, I will stationed there for a period of 2 years and 3 months. The first 3 months in the Peace Corps are training. Peace Corps trainees will receive language instruction of their host country, training for their track (the type of Volunteer they will be), and training on Peace Corps guidelines and safety. If a trainee successfully completes this program, they will be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and start their two years of service.

There are a variety of different Volunteer positions that Peace Corps applicants are designated to. Typical Peace Corps Volunteers work in health, education, business development, community development, agriculture, information technology, and the environment. As a Peace Corps applicant, I was suited to the Community Development track. As a Community Development Volunteer, I will be coordinating with other Peace Corps projects and conducting community outreach and needs assessments. In Paraguay, I was selected to be a Community Economic Development Volunteer, which means that I will be working in small business development, information technology, and helping to strengthen local groups to undertake community improvement efforts.

By now you are probably thinking, ‘okay, cool, the Peace Corps sure seems interesting. So when do you start?’

May 25th, 2011 is the first day of staging. I will be meeting other Peace Corps Paraguay trainees in Miami for registration and pre-orientation. We will then fly as a group together to Paraguay.

From May 27th to August 5th, I will undergo training. I will be living with a Paraguayan homestay family for three months, to help me integrate into the culture. For language training, I will be learning both Spanish and Guaraní, the indigenous language of Paraguay. Since I’ve had the privilege of being to Paraguay before, I know that Guaraní is a REALLY hard language! But I also know it is incredibly important to learn- as a PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) in Paraguay put it on her blog, speaking Guaraní is the difference between being a friendly neighbor (not speaking it) versus being everyone’s newly adopted daughter.

If I complete training successfully, I will then be sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and serve from August 8th, 2011 to August 2nd, 2013. I will be given a site in the country where I will live for the next two years. This site could be anywhere in the country that the Peace Corps deems appropriate for my skill set and community needs. I can then choose to live with a Paraguayan family, or live on my own at my site, and I will start my two years of service, working on projects that the Peace Corps deems appropriate to my track and that support community needs.

So now you’re probably thinking ‘Okay, I get it now. So you’re living in Paraguay… where is that? And how do you feel about living there?’

Since Paraguay is not the most well-known country, I’ve taken the liberty of providing all of you with a map!

Paraguay is the country that is highlighted in red. It is a landlocked country, snuggled in between Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia. Paraguay is about the size of California and holds around 6 million people- not a whole lot, so you could say that it is pretty under-populated. In terms of geography, Paraguay is a mountain-less, humid country (the weather is similar to Florida), and the seasons are reversed! This means that from May-September it is winter in Paraguay, and November-February it is summer! It can get as low as 30 degrees in the winter in Paraguay, and as high as 110 degrees in the summer- I am definitely looking forward to all of the warm and sunny days in between. I’m a Florida girl through and through.

Since I’ve been to Paraguay before (if you remember, I lived in Paraguay for two months while going to school at Global College), I have a pretty good idea of what to expect, and I’m very excited to live there for the next two years.. Paraguayans are really kind-hearted people, and I’m looking forward to eating completely un-processed foods for the next two years- in fact, I’m hoping that while I’m living at my site I can grow my own vegetable garden! I’m ecstatic that I will be working in economic development, and that I will be able to learn two languages. All in all, it’s going to be two pretty amazing years. I can’t wait to start.

If you’re hankering to learn more about what it’s like being an actual Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, check out this awesome PCV’s blog, which is a really informative read on the culture and what it’s like being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay. Continue clicking on more recent dates for more posts.

So now you are probably thinking ‘this is freaking awesome. Where do I sign up?’

Start your application process to become a Peace Corps Volunteer today!

Much love,
Brittany


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