Peace Corps in Slovakia
Ever since April 1990, when the first group of volunteers arrived on an official invitation from Czechoslovak President Václav Havel, Slovakia has successfully hosted eleven groups of US Peace Corps trainees. The most recent group consists of 39 people who are now in their three-month training in Stará Turá, Nové Mesto district. They will continue the training until the end of August and then move to sites around Slovakia.
The volunteers will likely live with Slovak families mostly in Trenčín, Myjava, Žilina, and Zvolen in groups of two or three. They all have Slovak language teachers and training to help them understand the cross-cultural differences between America and the given environment in which they live. During their two years service, the volunteers will work as English language teachers at schools or universities, in sectors dealing with environmental issues, or in different programs to encourage the development of small private businesses, said Nelson Chase, General Director or the US Peace Corps in Slovakia.
After completing the service the volunteers are free to move elsewhere or extend their stay for one more year. The last new group of volunteers is expected to come to Slovakia next year, with the final volunteers leaving by 2002, Chase said.
Established in 1961 by the U.S. President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps' stated mission is to aid in the development of third world countries and countries that are undergoing the economic and political transformation from a centrally planned to a free market economy. Currently the Peace Corps has programs in over ninety countries of the world and lists almost seven thousand volunteers.