June 30, 2011

InteRDom Reconnects Dominican Diaspora to the Country

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There is one unique characteristic that identifies many of the participants in InteRDom’s Summer 2011 programs: they are students of Dominican heritage that have been living and studying for some time in the United States.  InteRDom is currently offering opportunities to 6 members of the Dominican Diaspora seeking to reconnect with the Dominican Republic through internships, service and teaching.

The InteRDom Summer 2011 programs are not the first to embody this characteristic.  It has been a trend since InteRDom’s inception to work extensively with Diaspora students interested in offering their expertise and cultivating their professional skills in the Dominican Republic.  In fact, about one half of the InteRDom program alumni have been students of the Dominican Diaspora.

Jaynice del Rosario, pasante del programa de InteRDom Verano Caribeño 2011.“The Dominican culture was always very strong and present in my upbringing, in terms of music, food, folklore, and family structure,” said Jaynice del Rosario, InteRDom Caribbean Summer 2011 intern. “Hence, I’ve always felt very connected.

“[I applied to InteRDom because] I wanted to know what it feels like to live in a country where I was the majority, and where I could finally feel a sense of belonging.

Having a large number of Diaspora students participating in the program also carries a benefit for the non-Diaspora students.  Many times the Diaspora students take them in, and dedicate themselves to teaching them the local dialect and social scene, and even invite 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’s work with the Dominican Diaspora responds to Global Foundation for Democracy and Development’s mission to facilitate and support collaboration, exchange, understanding and common ground among Dominicans who live in the United States and those who live in the homeland.

“GFDD is committed to providing opportunities for networking, exchange and collaboration among Dominicans in the Dominican Republic and abroad,” said Natasha Despotovic, Executive Director of GFDD.

“InteRDom is just one of the many important programs that we implement in order to achieve this goal, and it is unique in that it provides Dominicans living abroad the chance to actually travel back to the country, explore their roots and origins, get valuable insight into the country’s everyday social, economic, political and cultural life, and on top of all that, use their talents to contribute to Dominican businesses and organizations.”

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.