by: Amber Brookmire
Amber Brookmire studies Anthropology at The City College of New York. She hopes to participate in InterDom’s service-learning program this June to further develop her cross-cultural studies and improve Spanish language proficiency.
I first heard about the InteRDom service-learning program through The City College Study Abroad Office. I had always wanted to study abroad during college, but I didn’t think it was a financial possibility for me. I began to research more information and was amazed by all that I could gain, personally and academically, from the Dominican Republic service-learning program. As a senior, I realized this could be my last chance to have this experience. So, I sat down with the advisers in the Study Abroad Office to discuss financial aid and scholarship opportunities. I left their office with various scholarship applications and lots of encouragement, confident that my dream could become a reality.
The combination of homework, applications and work was difficult to manage at first, but I made a clear checklist of what needed to be done and prioritized by deadlines. I also made sure to attend one of InteRDom’s information sessions in the Study Abroad Office on campus, which was very helpful for completing my application. Mandy, a representative of InteRDom, gave a presentation that highlighted the different aspects of the program. I gained a better understanding of the application process and what to expect from my experience abroad. I also learned more about the classes I would be taking and the specific internship project I would be a part of – sustainable urban agriculture! I was very excited to find out that the internship is tailored to each student’s skills and interests.
Ana and Jenny, two students who participated in the program last summer, were also at the meeting to share their experiences and answer questions. It was nice to hear about the experience from a peer’s perspective because it gave me a sense of what the program will be like as a student. I had a chance to chat with them after the presentation and their enthusiasm was truly inspiring. I was glad to have attended the info session because it was very informative and gave me an opportunity to ask questions and discuss my concerns.
I anticipate that the program will be an exciting opportunity to develop useful skills and learn in a unique way. I believe that cross-cultural immersion is an important part of shaping character. If I am able to participate in the program, I am confident that it will be both personally and academically beneficial.
The blog also provides useful information for students and inspires lively debate and increased interest in exchange and the development of Hispaniola.