The students of the City College Service Learning program completed their agenda of activities on Friday, July 8th with two visits to important Dominican businesses in order to enhance their experience with knowledge about international trade and remittances.
In the morning of July 8th, the students visited Dominican Remittances, an arm of the BHD Financial Center, in order to learn about the famous remittance industry that has grown incrementally over the years. They were received by the Vice President, Edigarbo García, who thoughtfully answered all of their questions and provided important facts and statistics concerning how the remittance industry is regulated, the changes that have occurred since September 11th and the percentages of the increase in remittances over the years.
Then in the afternoon, the students traveled to the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic, where they met with Viviana Vargas, the communications director, who provided important information on the mission and objectives of the institution, corporate social responsibility and community development initiatives and import/export practices.
The students were enthused to discover that the Chamber will celebrate a “Dominican week in New York,” this October, which will create bridges to promote Dominican products in a city that boasts one of the largest trade markets and the highest concentration of Dominicans outside of the island.
“I found that the chamber has an impressive membership, with more than 3,000 members that are well- respected foreign and domestic business institutions and a good source of community support,” said Edward Cuesta, a City College student.
The information procured in these two visits was invaluable to the culmination of the program, as the service learning project that the group developed in Batey Libertad concerned a microfinance project for a start-up business. It was very important for the students to gather more information about trade policies and international financial movement in order to be able to best advise the microbusiness on how to market their product not only on the border, but internationally.
“I think it is appropriate that we are [visiting] now,” said Jenny Cruz, a City College student, “being that we already met with Cesareo [Guillermo], who gave us a bi-national perspective of what goes on at the border. Now we are able to dig deeper and see what’s going on internationally… going from micro to macro makes sense. It’s another perspective of what we have been learning all along.”
The program developed between City College and InteRDom is a credit-bearing course that exposes students to both academic and practical experiences that increase their international awareness, cultural sensitivity, professional development and Spanish-language capacities.
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.