Giselle Deñó is the first InteRDom Correspondent participating in an exciting new program launched this summer through InteRDom, the Dominican International Student Program, a special chapter of the internship program for Dominican citizens studying at or graduating from international universities. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Giselle now studies political science at Sciences Po Paris in Rheims, France. As the first Dominican Correspondent, we are thrilled to include her unique comparison of life in the Dominican to life in France that will bring a different perspective to the InteRDom Blog.
This summer, Giselle is performing her internship at the Cámara de Diputados as a legal consultant.
Though she still has time to decide what exactly she wants to do with her bright future, Giselle is certain that she wants to return to the Dominican Republic and use her skills to contribute to the potential of her home country
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in the east of the Dominican Republic, called La Romana, where you can find Altos de Chavon and Casa de Campo. It is a tourist zone with a beach close by. I took ballet classes when I was young…I cannot complain about my childhood – it was great. The town was big enough but small enough at the same time.
Q: What is your family like?
A: My family is pretty traditional, we do not have a lot of material things to gloat about but we have a lot of love towards each other and we cook so well. My grandmother is great. My family is very loving and we are very supportive of each other. If I ever need anything my aunt is like my mom. I have two siblings, a brother and a sister and they are incredible. I am the youngest of the three.
Q: How did you end up studying in Quebec, Canada and now in France at Sciences Po?
A: I have to admit, I get bored really fast so by the time I was 16 I needed fresh air. I looked for exchange programs online and I saw the AFS program and I asked my mom if I could do a year outside of the Dominican Republic, and she said “Yeah, where do you want to go?” and I said “Canada” and she said “Oh that is not that far!”
As for Sciences Po, I decided that I wanted to do politics and law and I heard about this university from a friend of mine and I absolutely love it. It is such an amazing college and we have seven campuses and we are the American campus. Examples of others are the Middle Eastern campus, German campus, Eastern European campus and we all get together at the end of the year and share our political thoughts. It can get really hectic and heated up but it is amazing and I really love it.
Q: Why are you interested in studying politics?
A: In the Dominican Republic there are politics everywhere. I would always watch the news before I went to bed since I was very small. I am not going to be cliché and say that I am going to change the world but I think I do have something to contribute and I think what I am studying is giving me the tools to formalize my talents and making them into something that I can apply. The Dominican Republic has so much potential and I want to do something about that potential and hopefully I will.
Q: What sparked your interest in traveling?
A: I absolutely love people and I think there is something to learn from everyone and cultures and languages. I just love languages. My brother and sister get so annoyed with me because I just started learning Italian so I pretend that I know how to speak Italian and when they come up to me I try to speak to them in the little Italian that I know. But it is just because I am so anxious to learn languages beyond what I am used to.
Q: Why did you decide to participate in the Correspondent Program?
A: I enjoy writing. I think it is directly related to how I love different languages and even my choice of career – politics. As soon as I received the email asking if I wanted to participate in the program I immediately thought, “What am I going to write about?” It took me a good week and a half to write my first post, it wasn’t something that I wrote in a day. I wanted to write something good that came honestly out of my heart and my first blog entry did.
Q: So what are your career goals?
A: Because political science is a feeble thing to study (it is not something very concrete), I want to study law but I want to be involved in the world of politics and be able to travel. Right now I do not have one thing that I want to do but I want to do international relations, politics, law…I don’t have it figured out yet.
Q: How do you think the InteRDom program will contribute to your academic and career goals?
A: This opportunity with InteRDom this summer is an amazing work experience and great networking experience for me.
Q: Are you a member of any clubs or organizations at your university?
A: I’ve just been named the future captain for cheerleading for next year. I do cheerleading to have some fun to balance out my studies. I am also the only Latina on the dance team. If I didn’t do cheerleading and dancing I’d return to the Dominican Republic 50 pounds heavier because of all the good French food I eat!
I am also part of a Latin American Group on campus. There are not that many of us on campus so we do a week of special events about our different cultures. Europeans love us!
Q: What advice would you give someone who is not from the Dominican Republic and is visiting or living here for the first time?
A: I would say being easy-going is the key in the Dominican Republic. Do not be afraid. You can smell when someone is afraid and for that you will be targeted. When you have an easygoing personality you can take advantage of everything in the Dominican Republic.
Upon her return to Sciences Po Paris, Giselle will serve as an ambassador of the country and the program for European students interested in traveling to the Dominican Republic for academic and professional experiences, and she will help provide an important connection to the students on campus. Read more about how the Correspondent Program helps students boost their resumes in the areas of communications, marketing and public relations, here.
You can follow Giselle’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.