Correspondent Spotlight: Amber Brookmire Santo Domingo, June 22, 2012
Amber is the first InteRDom participant to have received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship awarded by the Institute of International Education to facilitate undergraduate study abroad for diverse students traveling to non-conventional destinations.
Meet Amber Brookmire, a graduating senior at the City College of New York majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Jewish Studies, and a participant in the Summer 2012 InteRDom - City College Service Learning Program. She has been selected to participate in a special edition of the InteRDom Correspondent Program for short programs.
Amber is the first InteRDom participant to have received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship awarded by the Institute of International Education to facilitate undergraduate study abroad for diverse students traveling to non-conventional destinations. She is acting together with a fellow student as a coordinator of gender-inclusive initiatives in the urban garden project being developed in the Dominican communities of Bayona and Cielo.
An active participant in on-campus information and pre-departure sessions, Amber made her first contribution to the InteRDom blog even before being formally accepted into the program, and will continue to make weekly posts throughout her experience.
Upon her return to New York City, she will serve as an ambassador of the country and the program for other students throughout the entire CUNY system interested in traveling to the Dominican Republic for the service learning and other programs created by the City College of New York in partnership with InteRDom. Read more about how the Correspondent Program helps students boost their resumes in the areas of Communications, Marketing and Public Relations, here.
Amber grew up in Bemus Point, New York and has lived in the state of New York all of her life. An experienced Latin American traveler, Amber previously spent a year studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and hopes to one day work in international education to facilitate opportunities for future students to learn about and participate in diverse cultures.
Q: Where did you grow up? What is unique about that place?:
A: Bemus Point, New York. I grew up in a very rural area with large farms down the street and a horse stable next door to my house. It is a very small town with little to no public transportation, so you must have a car to get anywhere.
Q: What is your family like?
A: My family is quite small, but we have a very close relationship. My mother is a fitness instructor, though she has worked multiple jobs throughout her life to support my two older sisters and me. My father recently passed away, but lived a very fulfilling life in a cabin that he built from the ground-up. Although my parents were not married and I grew up with my mother, I maintained a close relationship with my father. He was a falconer and loved nature, so I learned a lot about the natural environment from him. My oldest sister (35) lives in Washington D.C. and has created her own business, now successfully running 7 belly dance studios. My other sister (28) recently married a boy from Germany, whom she met while backpacking through Europe. They are now temporarily living in Philadelphia while they plan a 3-month cross-country road trip to tour the United States.
Q: What sparked your interest in traveling?
A: My sisters were both world travelers, which initially sparked my interest in traveling. However, when I was in 7th grade I became very interested in Rotary International (a youth-exchange program) after being given a presentation in my Spanish class. Once I was old enough to participate, I applied to the program twice before being accepted. Spending a year in Argentina as an exchange student was my first true international and cultural experience.
Q: Why did you decide to participate in the Correspondent Program?
A: I decided to participate in the correspondent program because I enjoy reflecting on my cultural experiences and sharing them with others. I also believe that cross-cultural immersion is an important part of developing one’s character, so I hope to encourage other students to participate in the program by exposing them to the excitement that comes with traveling abroad.
Q: How do you think the program will contribute to your academic/career goals?
A: The InterDom service-learning program will allow me to strengthen my understanding of diversity in the world. My participation in the program will give me an opportunity to work with vulnerable communities and to better understand some of the challenges faced in underdeveloped nations.
Q: So what are your career goals?
A: As a recent graduate in Anthropology, I am stepping into the world with a better understanding of the people and world around me. My study of different cultures and languages has deepened my passion for international travel, encouraging me to explore diversity in the world with an open mind. My cultural experiences have positively impacted me to such a degree that I want to make such experiences possible for others. I hope to pursue a career in which I can promote cross-cultural immersion among high school and college-level students.
Q: If you could use only three words to describe yourself, what would they be?
A: Curious, Adventurous, Patient
Q: How do you think that these qualities will help you adjust to life in the Dominican Republic?
A: My curiosity will help me to learn as much as possible. My sense of adventure will encourage me to try new things. My patience will help me to adjust to cultural differences.
Q: What is a fun or little-known fact about yourself?
A: I am the only one in my family who loves to sew! Growing up, my family always came to me to fix their clothes or create something with my needle and thread. And, I do it all by hand (no sewing machine!).
Q: Do you participate in any community or cultural activities outside of the university? Which ones?
A: I am a part of a research project at an elementary school in the Bronx. As part of team, I am observing how children interact with, talk about and understand food. We hope to get a better understanding of how children are educated about food production and consumption.
You can follow Amber’s and other InteRDom Correspondents’ experiences in the Dominican Republic on the InteRDom blog. Check back frequently to learn of all of the rich learning and professional development opportunities that the Dominican Republic has to offer.
The internship program, InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.