Exploring Returned Peace Corps Volunteers’ Experiences with Community-Based Training in Nepal


Peace Corps Pre-Service Training (PST) is a mandatory three-month training period for Volunteers that is conducted at the beginning of their 27-month service. PST attempts to prepare Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) to be successful community development workers who are technically savvy, acculturated to the host culture, knowledgeable about health and safety issues, and equipped with competent host country language skills.

The Community-Based Training (CBT) approach to PST has been recently introduced, experimented with, and refined in several regions of the world over the last few years. However, there are few quality investigations of CBT and the strengths and weaknesses of this approach are still emerging. There is limited anecdotal information that demonstrates Volunteers’ experiences with, and perceptions of, CBT. This Capstone Paper explores the impressions and experiences that three Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV’s) had with CBT while serving in Nepal, and gives a qualitative analysis of the data gathered to illuminate trends and highlight relevant issues for consideration. The results of this research could be utilized by other Peace Corps programs that use a CBT approach while keeping in mind the specific country context.

This analysis demonstrates that CBT prepared trainees with strong language skills, a good introduction to the culture, sufficient understanding of health concerns, and the ability to successfully transition to their Volunteer site. It also demonstrates the perceived weakness of technical training in CBT and dearth of support networks available to trainees while in the community.


International and Intercultural Communication | Teacher Education and Professional Development

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