Students of Dominican heritage living abroad have always had strong participation in the InteRDom program, and now through the Dominican International Student Program those unique opportunities are extended to students born and raised in the Dominican Republic and conducting their higher studies abroad at an international university—and in the summer of 2013 the program has had great success.
The two students into the pilot program for this summer, Gretcher Hernandez and Giselle Deñó, have taken full advantage of the opportunity provided by InteRDom to perform an internship which connects them with the institutional structures that run their country, and helps to deepen their knowledge and enrich the perspectives that they have been forming of the country throughout their lives.
“Being part of this program has made this summer unforgettable. It has been a great experience, from which I have learned a lot about my country’s economy and public system. Without any doubt, participating in the [Dominican International Student] program is one of the best decisions I have ever made.” – Gretcher Hernandez
Gretcher is a finance student at Baruch College in New York, and is interning at the Dominican Republic’s central financial institution, Banco Central, in Santo Domingo. This summer she has been learning about the financial process of the bank by dividing her time between the different financial departments and observing operations, including the department of monetary programming and the treasury department. She has contributed to the development of documents used daily by the bank and is deepening her knowledge of financial terminology in Spanish.
Giselle studies political science at Sciences Po in Rheims, France, and is interning as a legal consultant at the House of Representatives in Santo Domingo. This internship has given Giselle the unique opportunity to observe and formally participate in political debates that shape the life of the legislation in her country. She is able to learn about Dominican law, see first-hand laws being passed and understand what is going on in the government. Working directly with the Legislative Audit Department, she studies the Dominican Republic’s Constitution and the House of Representative’s Regulations, and she reviews bills of law that have just been passed in Congress in order to verify if the due process rules were followed. By reading about what will be implemented in her country and how these changes will affect the population, she is becoming informed about how her country’s political system operates and preparing herself to participate in the system with the knowledge that she has gained.
“As a Dominican coming from abroad you come with fresh new eyes; through my internship I was able immerse myself in my own culture by acquiring knowledge of things I took for granted or just understood, but that in reality I knew little to nothing about. I was able to grow in my own nationality and as a professional that can hopefully give back to its country.” – Giselle Deñó
Having Diaspora students and native Dominicans participate in InteRDom’s programs deepens the immersion experiences and carries additional benefits for non-Dominican program participants. Many times the Diaspora students take them in and dedicate themselves to teaching them the local dialect and social scene, even inviting them to dine with their extended families and to get involved with local people. In this way, other international students get a more complete immersion experience.
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.