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A core component of FSD's program is comprehensive and ongoing hands-on training. Our approach helps participants become well-rounded, development-minded individuals who understand grassroots community development, and can design and implement sustainable projects with effective tools and methods.
FSD's development training begins during Orientation Week (the first week of our program) and runs throughout the participant's time abroad on-site. We offer an intensive curriculum of practical workshops, activities, and processing sessions focused on three main components: (1) community integration training, (2) development skills building, and (3) cultural immersion and reflection.
1. Community Integration Training
Community leaders and the FSD Site Team will prepare you for your experience abroad by helping you to adapt to the local culture and explore the expansive field of development. Topics include:
- Safety and Health
- Language Training (by request for Latin America)
- Best Practices for Community Engagement
- Local Development Issues
- Local Belief Systems and Cultural Perspectives
2. Development Skills Building
Designed to run throughout your program, FSD has adopted an experiential approach to teaching you essential development skills focused on deepening your understanding of grassroots development and capacity building. These tools become a lasting and marketable skill in the field of development as they are methods commonly used by development professionals around the world. Topics include:
- Community and Organizational Needs Assessment Tools
- Local and Rights-Based Approach to Development
- Participatory Learning and Action Approach (PLA)
- Community Mapping and Partnership Building
- Collaborative Project Design and Management (PDM)
- Grant Proposal Writing
- Integrating Sustainability into Project Work
- Project Monitoring and Evaluation
3. Cultural Immersion and Reflection
FSD provides regular activities and a midterm retreat to allow you to reflect on your daily efforts and see the connections between your work and the broader emotional, social, economic, and political context of international development. Activities vary between countries, but typically include:
- Group Service Projects
- Lectures by Local Development Professionals
- Adventure Excursions
- Cultural Comparison Discussions
- Local Festivals and Events
- Book Discussion Groups
- Movie/Documentary Nights
FSD organizes regular group meetings for you to ask questions, voice concerns, share experiences, and see peer FSD participants working in the same country as you. These forums open the opportunity for you to verbalize perspective shifts and emotional challenges in a safe, group context. Our local Site Teams faciliate these groups, aiming to further develop each individual's world-centric perspective.
In addition to group meetings, it is very common for participants to arrange private meetings with Site Team members to discuss issues and gain help in project work development. Our Site Team members are easily accessible as they make weekly visits to organizations to see the progress of participants and address any problems that arise.
After Your FSD Development Training Experience
Our aim is to have helped you broaden your knowledge and perspective on development as well as left you with useful development practices that you can carry with you beyond FSD.