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What Peace Corps Training in Paraguay Looks Like
June 1, 2011, 11:13 am
Filed under: Paraguay, Pictures Post

In a nutshell: both extremely wonderful, and extremely intense so far. So much has happened in the past five days since I’ve arrived in Paraguay, but I figure it’s better to take things one step at a time. So here we go.

Peace Corps Paraguay actually has three training centers: one in Guarambaré, a small city about an hour outside of the capital, and then two more in ‘satellite communities’- basically this means that our group of 23 was split into two smaller groups, and placed in two towns close to Guarambaré (this was done because it is easier to learn in smaller groups). These towns, in Peace Corps terms, are called ‘satellite communities,’ and the each town has a small center where our group convenes for language class and other things such as the history and culture of Paraguay. For example, on Saturday we had an hour-long lesson on the importance of tereré in Paraguay (more on this later). There are about 11 of us in my group, and we all live within a 2-15 minute walking distance within each other, with our homestay families (and I’ll be talking more about my homestay family in another post!) There are three other volunteers on my street within a couple minutes walking distance, so it’s fun to stroll down the lane and greet my fellow Peace Corps neighbors and their families in the morning. I was luckily placed in a site where it’s a 2 minute walk to our satellite training center- but I’m also one of the farthest ones to the main part of our town, which consists of a very busy road, a supermarket, and a gas station. I would say that I prefer living in the more ‘campo’ (rural) area of our town though, which has lots of fruit trees, grass, and cobblestone roads. It’s extremely pretty.

My fellow trainee Shavon learning how to make ice in our satellite training center

Then once or twice a week, all 23 of us meet in Guarambaré for more training, such as technical and medical.
The outside area of our training site in Guarambaré

The training site in Guarambaré is very spacious- being a previous Global College student and seeing the types of centers they have around the world, I’d say it’s perfect for our size. There are tons of little rooms for offices, for learning Spanish and Guarani, a kitchen and a special fridge just for trainees (plus we get cubby holes!), and a lot of outside space to hang out in.

Our little kitchen (complete with adorable Paraguayan woman)

Lots of bamboo- que tranquilo

Welcome sign for our training class, G-36 (this means we are the 36th class to be trained in this specific center)

As for the training schedule- it’s pretty intense! Today we had to take two pre-tests (medical and core) so we would know what to expect when we take our final tests to graduate as volunteers. Combined with language training, a long class on cultural integration, Q&A for current volunteers, and packet after packet of information (I feel like I’m drowning in paper!), us trainees had to face the next challenge: learning how to take the bus from Guarambaré back to our site for the first time. Now I’ve taken many a bus, but please imagine 23 Peace Corps trainees, some who have never been outside the United States before, all taking a bus for the first time. In a nutshell, there was a lot of apprehension and confusion.

Our main learning center inside

Delicious lunch served to us on our first day- after that, we either eat lunch at our host family houses, or our family packs us a lunch to go.

So that’s a little bit about our training schedule for now. It’s intense but I am really loving it- especially those moments where I get to pinch myself and think ‘Hey, remember all that time you spent waiting to be in the Peace Corps? You are IN the Peace Corps right now!’

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi Brittany,
Thanks for sharing a little info about first days of training. My husband Mark and I will be departing for Paraguay at the end of September-so exciting!Perhaps our paths will cross.
Take care,

Comment by susan alves

Brittany! Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures and the G-36 updates. Todays post made my day! Take care and tell the PCT’s I said hi.

Shawn (Shavon’s Mom)

Comment by Shawn

So glad you enjoyed the post Shawn! I just got an internet modem for my computer so posts will soon be much more frequent. And don’t worry– I’ll post photos of Shavon when I can 🙂

Comment by brittanygoesglobal

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