From Dekalb to Hilo to in-Country 

Peace Corps training programs are labeled by the name of the country and a sequential number. In the early days of the Peace Corps, the number was typically represented by Roman Numerals. Prior to the formation of Malaysia with the union of Malaya and the then British colonies of North Borneo/Sabah and Sarawak, Peace Corps training groups carried the label of "Malaya" or "North Borneo/Sabah and Sarawak." There were six Malaya training programs (Malaya I to VI) and four for the Borneo states (North Borneo/Sarawak I and II and Sabah/Sarawak III and IV). Beginning with Malaysia VII, there were unified Peace Corps training programs for all regions in the new Federation of Malaysia. When the Malaysia Peace Corps program ended the early 1980s, the last group was "Malaysia 103," but there were actually 107 Peace Corps training groups that served in Malaysia: Malaya/Malaysia 1 to 103 and North Borneo/Sarawak I and II and Sabah/Sarawak III and IV.

The early Malaya training programs (Malaya 1 to 6 and Malaysia 7, 11, and 13) were held at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in Dekalb, Illinois.  The selection of NIU as the training site for the early Malaya Peace Corps programs was linked to the presence of Professor Norman Parmer, a specialist on Malaya and a faculty member at NIU. Parmer was the first Peace Corps Director (Representative) in Kuala Lumpur from 1961 to 1963. The well-known NIU Center for Southeast Asian Studies at NIU grew out of the first Peace Corps training programs for Malaya. Here are some photos from the early NIU training programs from the 1960s include Sargent Shriver, university administrators, program staff, and trainees.

The first four PCV groups that went to Borneo (North Borneo/Sarawak I and II and Sabah/Sarawak III and IV) had their training in Hilo, Hawaii. Beginning with Malaya V (Fall of 1963), the NIU groups spent two or three weeks of "transition training" in Hawaii, generally in Waipio Valley or doing practice teaching in local schools before going to Malaysia. There were also parts of two exceptionally large training projects (Malaysia XV and Malaysia XVIII) that had were trained in vocational education at California State University at Los Angeles (Cal State-LA). Malaysia 23 had their training (summer 1969) at migrant labor camp outside of Woodland, California. It was rumored that the newly elected Nixon administration wanted to end "liberal" university-based Peace Corps training (e.g. The University of Hawaii - Hilo) and use cheaper private sector contractors even if they had no knowledge of the Peace Corps or the destination country.

Malaysia 24 in the fall of 1969 was the first group to have in-country training in Malaysia. The shift to in-country training solved many of the problems experienced by prior training programs in the United States. Most importantly, trainees had the opportunity to get to experience Malaysia directly in addition to classroom activities. In country training programs were smaller, and there appears to have been greater continuity of staffing of Malaysians and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. These conditions may have been partially responsible for a reduction in deselection rates to 10 percent or less.