A local foreign language teacher has been accepted to serve in the Peace Corps in Ukraine.
Kathrina Konfirst, 28, of Crystal Lake, will depart for Ukraine on Sept. 16, to begin training as an English education volunteer.
Konfirst, who will be serving with her husband, Matt, will make a difference teaching conversational and content-based English to middle- and high-school students.
“I was attracted to the idea of promoting cross-cultural awareness, acceptance and collaboration, as well as learning about another language and culture through complete immersion,” Konfirst said.
Konfirst is the daughter of Robert and Margarete Rainault of Crystal Lake and a graduate of Crystal Lake Central High School.
She graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb with a bachelor’s degree in German Language and Literature in 2008. She previously taught high school German, French, and Spanish for Community High School District 155.
Konfirst is also pursuing a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from American University in Washington, D.C. through Peace Corps’ Master’s International program.
The program allows students to integrate Peace Corps service into their graduate degree after completing coursework in the U.S. Konfirst will complete her degree in 2016.
During the first three months of her service in Ukraine, Konfirst will complete technical, language, health, and safety training while living with a host family to become fully immersed in the country’s language and culture.
The training and cultural exchange prepare Konfirst for her two years of service, while also allowing community members to gain a better understanding of Americans.
After Konfirst is sworn into service and assigned to a community, she will work on sustainable, community-driven development projects that make a difference for the people of Ukraine and provide Konfirst with leadership and cross-cultural skills she can use throughout her career.
“I look forward to acquiring Ukrainian and Russian language skills as well as expanding my teaching experience in a unique and unfamiliar setting,” Konfirst said.
Konfirst joins the 352 Illinois residents currently serving in the Peace Corps. More than 8,157 Illinois residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.
About Peace Corps/Ukraine: More than 2,630 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Ukraine since the program was established in 1992.
Currently, about 463 volunteers serve in Ukraine. Volunteers work in the areas of education, economic development and youth development. Volunteers are trained and work in Russian and Ukrainian.
Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries.
Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.
Source: Peace Corps