Ryan Smetana of Minot departed Oct. 9 for Burkina Faso to begin pre-service training as a community health development volunteer with the Peace Corps.
Upon graduation from volunteer training in January, Smetana, 26, will work to ensure ongoing support for health promotion and disease prevention activities that focus on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, malaria, malnutrition and hygiene.
Smetana is a graduate of Minot High School. He attended North Dakota State University in Fargo, where he earned a degree in sport and recreation studies in 2007.
Submitted Photo - - Ryan Smetana left earlier this week for pre-service training with the Peace Corps, joining 23 other North Dakotans currently in service.
Smetana cites the support of his family and friends and the drive to make an impact on the world as important factors in his decision to volunteer.
"My brother volunteered in the Peace Corps, and I had the opportunity to go and visit him in his host country to see what life was like for him," Smetana said. "It was the impact I witnessed my brother have on his community that made me want to become a volunteer myself."
Smetana's brother, Kris, served as a secondary education Peace Corps volunteer in Albania from 2006 to 2008.
During the first three months of his service, Smetana will live with a host family in Burkina Faso, located in West Africa, to become fully immersed in the country's language and culture. After acquiring the language and cultural skills necessary to assist his community, Smetana will be sworn into service and assigned to a community in Burkina Faso, where he will live and work for two years with the local people.
Smetana joins the 23 North Dakota residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 546 North Dakota residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.