On Wednesday evening, March 2, InteRDom representatives participated in an event hosted jointly by the George Washington University Housing Programs and Career Center for students interested in having a gap year experience before beginning graduate studies or entering into the full-time workforce.
The event began at 6:30 p.m. with a networking reception, where around 75 participating students were able to talk with representatives from all of the programs about their professional goals and the opportunities that would be available to them during a gap year. They collected written information about the programs and posed questions about the value of international and internship experience in the time immediately following the conferral of their undergraduate diplomas.
Following the initial networking reception, George Washington University’s President Steven Knapp made some remarks about the importance of international and gap year experiences in the modern world. He stressed the acquisition of global competencies, service learning and innovative projects that respond to social needs. Dr. Knapp and his wife recently demonstrated their commitment to promoting these sorts of experiences through the establishment in 2010 of the Knapp Fellowship for Entrepreneurial Service-Learning, a scholarship of up to $10,000 awarded annually to GW undergraduate or graduate students to recognize, reward and facilitate creative public service and academic engagement. In his remarks, Dr. Knapp spoke highly of a recent visit to the Dominican Republic and his enthusiasm for the InteRDom program and the important development work that is being done in the country.
Following Dr. Knapp, GW political science professor Dr. Steven Kelts spoke of a recent survey of employers conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, where overwhelming percentages of employers responded that the most important competencies for college graduate entering the workforce are ethics, international understanding and liberal arts education. Annually, GW sends 48% of its undergraduate student body abroad on international short- and long-term programs, demonstrating their commitment to developing these international competencies. Following these remarks a number of GW graduate students and employees spoke of the importance of their gap year experiences, and how they contributed to their current career paths.
In addition to InteRDom, a number of other programs and employers participated in the networking time, including the Peace Corps, Teach for America, City Hall Fellows, The Center of Undergraduate Fellowships and Research, Americorps VISTA, Teach for America, AIESEC, WUJS Israel Hadassah and The White House Office of Correspondence.
This visit to George Washington University served to further enhance and solidify the important relationship that has been created between the University and InteRDom’s parent institutions, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE). There are a number of collaborative projects already in existence between the University and GFDD/FUNGLODE, and InteRDom is enthusiastic about being a part of such an important collaboration. George Washington University has proven to be an important partner for the program, not only in sending students to the Dominican Republic but also in providing expertise and support in coordinating special projects and events.
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.