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Peace Corps Eastern Caribbean Welcome Book | September 2013

Peace Corps Eastern Caribbean Welcome Book | September 2013

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See 2009, 2012

lcwb538sept2013
See 2009, 2012

lcwb538sept2013

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Categories:Types, Brochures
Published by: Accessible Journal Media Peace Corps Docs on Oct 01, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial No-derivs

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02/09/2015

In fulfilling its mandate to share the face of America with host countries, the Peace Corps is making special
efforts to assure that all of America’s richness is reflected in the Volunteer corps. More Americans of color are
serving in today’s Peace Corps than at any time in recent history. Differences in race, ethnic background, age,
religion, and sexual orientation are expected and welcomed among Volunteers. Part of the Peace Corps’
mission is to help dispel any notion that Americans are all of one origin or race and to establish that each of us
is as thoroughly American as the other despite our many differences.

Diversity helps us accomplish that goal. In other ways, however, it poses challenges. In the Eastern Caribbean,
as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a
cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly
accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in the Eastern
Caribbean.

Outside of the Eastern Caribbean capitals, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct
exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or
norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue
eyes. The people of the Eastern Caribbean are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners;
however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural
differences that you present.

To ease the transition and adapt to life in the Eastern Caribbean, you may need to make some temporary, yet
fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example,
female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United
States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best
remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and
other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during pre-service
training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.

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