Advice for PC Volunteers
A couple of buddies and I sat down with some friends and came up with a list of advice for new volunteers...
BAD advice received from PC
- Women need to wear skirts and shirts with collars only - A load of hooey, most women need all the jeans they can get and women here wear t-shirts like anybody else
- Weight limit on stuff. Don't get into a nervous sweat, most people did not get their stuff weighed and if it means a lot to you (sentimental wise not price-wise) bring it. On the other hand we had one person bring 50 lbs of cosmetics, this was considered extraneous.
- Don't worry about it. BS it's easier to sweat the details in the states than in any foreign country
- In training- spend every waking moment with your host family. Hooey, you NEED time to unwind with friends, yes, it's good for Spanish but you have 2 years to improve your Spanish.
- Antigua and Guate have just about everything you could possibly need, sometimes at a better prices.
- Shortwave radios rock. VOA basically is good for baseball scores and government propaganda.
- Music tapes- DO NOT SLACK ON THIS. Many volunteers have been driven insane by lack of music or an overabundance of ranchero music. Tape-to-tape is a damn good idea, and worth the weight (see above)
- Have money back in the states. PC money is not sufficient for training and is usually not quite enough in site. You try living on $1.25 per day.
- Even a little Spanish helps. To start Spanish ability is about confidence, not vocabulary. If you feel a bit confident in your Spanish, your skill will improve FASTER.
- Don't worry about it. Stressing over every little detail will kill you. Enjoy it, Peace Corps is a helluva lotta fun if you let it be.
- Build a support network. The single most important thing in training (opinion of the author only) is to develop a network of friends who you can talk with and share ups and downs. It is also VERY easy, because you're all in the same boat.
- Approvechar. Take advantage of stuff. Weekends see Antigua, or Panajachel. Site rats are fine, but cultivating yourself - seeing what other volunteers are doing improves your own work. In training, challenging yourself by traveling will improve your spanish and build your confidence.
- Listen to volunteers, they are doing the stuff. Not the desk jockeys.
- Enjoy the ride. 'Nuff said.