A Columbus North graduate is serving as an international Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador.
Tim Hofmeister, 23, a Columbus native and 2011 North graduate, will spend the next 27 months immersed in the local culture in Ecuador, one of 119 volunteers there.
Hofmeister graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and education from Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan. His parents are Monte and Jan Hofmeister, Columbus.
He will spend the first three months of his service living with a host family to better adjust to the culture and learn the languages, which include Kichwa and Spanish, said Darrah Perryman, Peace Corps public affairs specialist.
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After acquiring the necessary cultural and language skills, he will be sworn in to service and assigned to an Ecuador community to live and work for two years.
While this might seem daunting to some, Hofmeister said he views the trip as “a win-win situation.”
“I want to improve the lives of others, as well as my own, by engaging with new people and communities,” Hofmeister said. “Joining the Peace Corps gives me the chance to teach Ecuadorian teachers and students English, as well as an incredible opportunity for me to improve my teaching and Spanish-speaking abilities.”
Hofmeister’s assignment will focus on training local English teachers new classroom instruction methods. He also will work with local organizations to improve the lives of people in Ecuador through need-based development projects, Perryman said.
He was attracted to the Peace Corps by study abroad trips, including traveling to the Dominican Republic in 2013 and Peru in 2015, he said.
Although his goal is to “make each community I am part of better in any way I can,” he said he can’t wait to explore the rain forest and numerous volcanoes that are part of Ecuador.
Hofmeister also credits his university, his friends and family for the chance to join the Peace Corps. And while he believes this experience will be a challenge, he is eager to sharpen his skills.
“I hope to become a better, more savvy and mentally tougher person,” he said. “The experience requires volunteers to be flexible, open-minded and to be problem solvers, and I am so excited to get the chance to use and improve these skills,” Hofmeister said.
Upon his return to the United States, Hofmeister plans to pursue a career in teaching Spanish.
Established: March 1, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy
Hoosiers currently serving: 129
Americans currently serving: 6,919
Total countries served: 141
Service types: Education, health, response, agriculture, environment, economic development and youth development.
Requirements to volunteer:
- 18 years of age or older
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Willing to serve two years, plus in-country training.
You can follow Tim Hofmeister’s journey by subscribing to his blog or following him on Twitter.