June 30, 2011

Getting Close to Culture: Caribbean Expert Seminar

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In addition to the service learning project in Batey Libertad, the City College Service Learning Program includes an academic component, the Caribbean Expert Seminar, which serves to enrich students’ experience in and understanding of the Dominican Republic and its culture.

The class combines workshops and activities that explore the history and culture of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Students examine topics related to colonialism and popular culture and discuss the real and fictitious elements that characterize modern ideas of what constitutes Caribbean culture.

“The Caribbean Cultural class has been very interesting,” City College student Edward Cuesta said. “The professor, Pedro Cabiya, is very knowledgeable of the history of the Antilles and the Dominican Republic. He has the class engaged with discussions of our journal and our experience in Santo Domingo.

“He has covered in such a short period of time the issues of race and gender… culture, the colonial period, slavery and the history of the Tainos. We have also covered the formation of Haiti and its relations with the Dominican Republic.”

Watch a conversation with Professor Pedro Caibya here.

To complement the culture course, students are also participating in a serious of hands-on cultural excursions, workshops and seminars.  They have visited the Mirabal Sisters Museum in Salcedo, the Cultural Center León Jiménez in Santiago, the Altos de Chavón artistic center, the Cuevas de las Maravillas and the Historic Santo Domingo Colonial Zone.  Students also had the opportunity to learn about the roots and rhythms of Caribbean music through a workshop with world-renowned artist, composer and folklorist, Xiomara Fortuna.

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 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.