A Reflection on Pre-Service Training: An Eight Part Catch-Up
Introduction to an eight part series on my experiences thus far in Indonesia during Pre-Service Training (PST)
The PC Pre-Service Training schedule, the daily schedule (both mine and that of Indonesia in general), language acquisition, the food, the clothes, the transportation, teaching experiences and PC activities, as well as other fun things I’ve done on the side.
The first ten weeks in Indonesia are drawing to a close. So far, I have participated in what Peace Corps calls ‘Pre-Service Training.’ I’ve been living with a host family in a village outside of one of East Java’s bigger towns. The village is quite urban—meaning it’s densely populated, but not necessarily developed in the same sense ‘urban’ insinuates in the U.S. Two other trainees live with other host families in the same village. The other twenty five trainees (that makes twenty eight of us right now) live in different nearby villages. Some of the other villages are just as urban as mine while others have a higher percentage of agricultural land.
Training activities have included intensive Bahasa Indonesia classes, some in-school teaching experience at local high schools, information sessions on health and safety, colloquiums on Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and a little bit of Basa Jawa, the vox populi of this island. Next Tuesday, I will take an oath—the same oath taken by all U.S. government service personnel—and be sworn in as an official Peace Corps volunteer. At that point, I will move to my permanent site where I will live with a new host family and teach English at a local high school for two years.
The next two years will be quite different than the last two months. First of all, I have had the comforting privilege of being close to American peers over the last ten weeks. The proximity has been invaluable for several reasons. One, it’s relaxing to actually be able to fully communicate, something that is hard to do with the Indonesian host family even after six fully weeks of language training. Two, the other trainees experience a lot of the same things I do, and thus, they make good colleagues to vent or discuss sensitive cultural issues. At permanent site, I wont be in close proximity to other volunteers—an hour or two might be the closest neighbor. In other words, the Peace Corps experience is about to get a lot more individual.
Nevertheless, I want to use this blog post to describe what Peace Corps and Indonesia have been like thus far. I’ve had a great time, so here are some of the key features of my life that I think will give you a taste of how it’s been. I have refrained from posting on my blog during PST for several reasons. One, there were so many new experiences at the beginning that I couldn’t possibly distill them down to noteworthy topics to share. Two, I wanted to refrain from posting pure reactions to events and cultural practices. After ten weeks, I feel more comfortable about how I’ve internalized my day-to-day experiences, and I can now share them in fair light.
Without further ado, the topics I’d like to share with you are: the PC Pre-Service Training schedule, the daily schedule (both mine and that of Indonesia in general), language acquisition, the food, the clothes, the transportation, teaching experiences and PC activities, as well as other fun things I’ve done on the side.