AZ6

For those that don’t know, new groups of volunteers come to Azerbaijan every summer.  Since Peace Corps is a two year gig, that means one group leaves, and a new group comes in about the same time.  My group has been dubbed AZ5 because we are the 5th group to serve here.  I’m bummed the 4s are going to be leaving, but at the same time I’m happy for them that they are moving on.  I’m also excited for the new group to get here.  This is my post to you, AZ6.  If any of you come across this blog, and have any questions about anything PC or Azerbaijan, I’ll be happy to help.

update:  someone asked about the wire.  Here’s some info.

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30 responses to “AZ6

  1. Hi! I guess I’m gonna be an AZ6-er. I will be arriving in AZ at the end of September — just 6 weeks away now and I’m getting excited. I look forward to meeting you there! Take care til then… – Marina

  2. Hello from me too! I am AZ6 CED and look forward to meeting you after I arrive in late September. Thank you for the insight into the Georgian conflict and how it affects AZ.

  3. Hellooooooo out there, I will also be an AZ6er. I am scheduled to be there in Sept. departing from Nebraska. I will be working in Comm Econ Dev. Do you see what’s going on in Georgia being a problem for a set departure date? Not really sure how all of this operates yet. What about electricity….ipod, laptop??? Enough ?s for now, am looking forward to meeting you. Kathy

  4. The happenings in Georgia shouldn’t change anything.

    As far as electricity, bring it. Laptop, ipod, camera… bring it all. Pretty much every volunteer that elects to not bring such items regrets it. don’t worry a bout changing the voltage or anything like that either. Most of those gadgets can handle 110 and 220, and you’ll buy a voltage regulator once you’re here (everyone does. it regulates the fluxuating levels of electricity to preserve your batteries)

  5. My wife Linda and I are also part of AZ6, she in TEFL while I’m YD. I appreciated your tour of the home and am also looking forward to meeting you in the weeks/months ahead.
    What kind of internet access do you have?
    We have a little money saved and are thinking about buying coats there and packing more shoes, socks, and underwear. What do you think?

  6. Great to see that we all have the same questions. I wonder how big our AZ6 group is…I am from Michigan and CED also.
    Bonnie

  7. Hi! I’m am AZ6 CED too. I’ve been living in Durham, NC but I’ve returned home to Bremerton, Washington (near Seattle) to hang out with my family before leaving.

    I am really looking forward to meeting everyone. Thanks for the great blog!

    What will the weather be like when we arrive? Any ideas on good gifts for host families? Is there anything that you wished you had not brought with you? Ok, I’ll stop there.

    If any one wants to contact me I’ve started a blog too: http://web.me.com/jessicaja/Silver_Lining

    It would be great to hear from some of my fellow AZ6ers. Enjoy your last few weeks in the states and happy packing.
    Jess

  8. I am part of the AZ6 group,also. I am from the Dallas, Texas area. I have a question about the Internet access. What do I need to bring to access the Internet? How much do I need to budget for phone line access. Will I need a router?

  9. Denny – Although I hated hearing this answer from PCVs when I had questions about what my future life would be like, the best answer i can give about the internet is that it depends on your site, which you won’t know until around thanksgiving. As for sumqayit, where you have training, there are a few places that have decent connections. As far as a coat, I highly recommend buying something in america. it might be a pain to pack (you can arrange with a friend to mail it to you shortly after arrival if you don’t have room), but the quality of clothes you’ll find here is substandard. I would guess that if you bought a regular coat that most azeris in the region would buy, you’d be lucky if it lasted you through the winter season, let alone two. A good jacket is worth the investment.

    bonnie – i think you have 60 people in your group. approximately 25 TEFL, 17 CED and 17 YD. maybe one has 18. i’m not 100% on those numbers, but that’s what i’ve heard.

    jessica – The weather should still be pretty warm. Our group showed up in June, and it was insanely hot. i think they changed the PST dates to save you from the torment of the Sumqayit summer. it’ll be pleasent for about a month or so, and then cold. The spring and fall are short seasons here. For gifts for the host family, i brought postcards from the Pacific Northwest (i’m from oregon) and they seemed to go over well. i’d bring a few of those.

    Leslie – Most likely you’ll be using a dial up connection. make sure that your laptop has a dial up modem. I have a macbook and had to buy a $50 dial up connector thing. if you move into a house that has a good phone connection, getting the net at home is going to be easy. if you house doesn’t have it, you’ll have to buy a phone line, which i’d say is going to cost 150-120 manat (check the conversion rate). internet itself is cheap. you buy hours at a time, and 100 hours is nine manat. no on the router, for sure.

  10. Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for this post and being available for our questions. Following up on the internet question, I use a mac as well and I was wondering what dial up connector thing you were talking about. Is it the Apple USB modem or something you got there?

    Thanks.

  11. that’s the one. there is a mac store in baku with a reputation of being not to helpful, but nevertheless, they had the modem, and i bought it here. probably would have been easier to get it in america.

  12. Thanks a lot, I’ll grab it here before I leave. I’m pretty sure I have all my other laptop cords and such. That was really helpful to know, I thought I covered myself when I got the adapter kit and airplane cord.

    Take care.

  13. Thanks so much for your quick response. I am also bringing a mac and will get a modem here. Thanks again!

    Jess

  14. Thanks for all the helpful info! I’m an AZ-6 with the TEFL program and I have a couple of random questions for you, if you don’t mind:

    1) I’ve heard from some RPCVs who were in Azerbaijan that you can buy most necessary items over there, but one that they never mentioned was sunscreen — can you get it there?

    2) I have a great winter coat, but unfortunately it’s bright red, and I heard that any color other than black will kind of stand out. Do you think it’d be worth it to buy a black one before I go over?

    I really appreciate you making yourself available to answer questions, and I look forward to joining you over there!

  15. Evan,

    there are two schools on this subject. My initial reaction was not to worry about it. In a certain sense, you are going to stick out anyway. You can’t change everything. I have a black columbia jacket that I use, and in that sense, it should blend in fine. It’s still a much different style than they wear, so it manages to stick out in its own way.

    I talked to some other people about this, and they said you should spring for a new one. The reason they gave was the fact that you are going to be working in a school and it’s going to come across as unprofessional. And considering you’ll be showing up to your school around january, you’ll be wearing this coat full time. perhaps it’s not the impression you’d like to make.

  16. HI!!! I am totally inept at computers and found this little blog and am just so thrilled. I’m in the AZ6 group…TEFL. I’m from Chicago and am really pumped about meeting all you guys. I guess my couple questions are: Does the mail system work well? My mother is nagging me about what she can send in packages! And how much of your own money from home have you spent? On traveling or on extra stuff there? I don’t really want to spend money on a laptop as I’d like to travel but if it’s not that important to bring a bunch of money then MAY-be I’ll consider getting a comp. Sorry…I ramble. Can’t wait to meet everybody!!!!

  17. having money from home is great. it’s too bad you have to choose between having a computer and traveling and stuff. I’d recommend this: Bring an ipod full of music and I’d also bring one of those portable dvd players so you can watch movies. you are going to go through dvds like you can’t believe.

    still, traveling is expensive here, because we’re basically an island (we can’t go anywhere by land except georgia, which is off limits now).

    as for the postal system, it’s great. I get packages from home (oregon) in about 10 days. I’ve gotten stuff taken out of the package once (socks) but it’s not a real concern. Obviously, don’t send anything that you can’t afford to lose.

  18. This is what I hear about watching DVDs…that everyone does…all the time. BUT…where is everyone getting them? People send them and then you trade around with other PCVs when you get together?? Is this a stupid question? I didn’t think there was a Blockbuster down the street…

  19. I have a question about money from USA – should we bring some cash — and if we do where do we keep it — can we deposit into a bank account or the PC account that we will have? I understand we can use credit cards and ATM’s — do we get those in AZ or do we use our home accounts and hope that it all works okay? and/or the international charges are not too great? Thanks

  20. This is the former soviet union. Piracy is the norm. We all trade around when we’re done with ’em. It takes me about two days to watch a season of a TV show. (ps. someone please acquire by any means necessary, the fifth season of the wire).

    I wouldn’t bring much cash. There isn’t much point. I use a debit card to access my checking account back home. There are ATMs around that are simple enough to use. I don’t know about depositing into your PC account, and I’m not sure about ATM fees, except I know that they are pretty small (two three dollars)

  21. Dorothy and Bill

    Hi.

    Bill and I are AZ6ers. He’s CED and I’m YD. Thanks for this blog. Reading through it has been helpful. I’d try to get the fifth season of the wire if I knew what it was. Is there a list of DVD incountry that are being swapped? Any that would be a welcomed addition? Maybe we could bring a few.

  22. I can bring The Wire – will buy it today. I’ve gathered DVDs over the last few months when I have seen them on sale. So hopefully I will add to the PC DVD Lib.

    It’s great to hear that packages get there mostly in-tack and in a short period of time.

    Thanks so much for all the suggestions and comments.

    AZ6s – I wish each of you happy and stress-free packing.
    Jessica

  23. jessica. that’s the best news i’ve heard all week. we have the first four seasons floating around, so you can check that out when you get here.

    except for a few key items, i wouldn’t worry about bringing too many dvds. There are a bunch floating around, and they are cheap to buy in baku. You can get 4 dvds for ten manat in baku. deal of the century.

  24. Money thing — Frank on the country desk advised that the PC account in AZ is sort of only for PC money use — and suggested that ATM or Credit card from USA is the best way to access money needed for personal travel on leave time. See all of you soon!
    B

  25. Jeff,
    I’ll be there in a couple weeks too…
    2 questions for you:
    1. If I have a few things that plug in – laptop, battery charger, cell charger – should I bring multiple adaptors so I can have a few things plugged in at once or a power strip with 1 adaptor?
    2. Do we need to bring sheets?
    Thanks for being willing to answer questions!
    Wendy

  26. I brought a power strip and it didn’t work here because the power fluctuates so much. What’s gonna happen is you’ll get here and buy a regulator, which regulates the voltage that goes up and down. A regulator has at least two outlets and they usually fit american plugs. You don’t really need to bring any adaptors, but you do need a plug that will convert the plugs to the european shape. I hope that makes sense.

    I did bring a sheet with me and i think it was a good decision. You can get them here, but having one from home was nice. You could probably go either way.

  27. Hello,

    All 61 of us are at the airport right now. Looking forward to finally getting the show on the road!

    Thanks again for all of your thoughts and suggestions!
    Jess

  28. Q. Can you describe the common obstacles many PCV’s face-specifically in regards to living conditions…
    Q. Is it difficult to get the PC stamp of approval for housing? Are the PC requirements high???

    Thanks jeff- any info would be greatly appreciated.. I look forward to meeting you…sincerely joe from ohio

  29. Q. Can you describe the common obstacles many PCV’s face-specifically in regards to living conditions…
    Q. Is it difficult to get the PC stamp of approval for housing? Are the PC housing requirements difficult to match

    Thanks jeff- any info would be greatly appreciated.. I look forward to meeting you…sincerely joe from ohio

  30. fortunately, joe, we have met. i was the guy providing the great insights about the portland trail blazers. i’m surprised you forgot.

    as for your questions, living with a host family is tough. there isn’t much room to escape. Still, it’s something we have to go through. i recommend looking for indpendent housing about two months before one is allowed to move out on their own. as for the stamp of approval, if you have seen my house, and some have, you will realize that it doesn’t take much for peace corps to approve everything. just a bit of pity.

    thanks for commenting twice. it really motivated me to answer you.

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