The majestic campus of Yale University was an elegant backdrop for the first edition of the Global Dominican Academic Exchange Program, which drew to a successful close on November 16, 2013 after five days of rigorous academics, engaging dialogue, lively conversation and great fun between the student members of Yale’s Dominican Student Association (Quisqueyalies) and the ten student participants from the Dominican Republic.
All students met for the first time on Monday evening, when Dominican participants arrived at the awe-inspiring campus of Yale University and were matched with their student hosts from the Quisqueyalies. The host students housed Dominican participants in their dorms and ate meals with them throughout the week. The Dominican participants also accompanied them to classes and extracurricular activities, in addition to a packed agenda of academic and social events designed to introduce the Dominican visitors to higher education in the United States.
The schedule of activities included a private meet and greet session with Pulitzer Prize-winning Dominican author Junot Diaz, as well as a performance by Sabrosura, the Latin dance group, a panel discussion on Latinos in Higher Education, a lecture on immigration policy and the treatment of migrants in America, visits to the Yale Undergraduate Art Gallery and the Peabody Museum and various social events with the Dominican Student Association and other student groups on campus.
Participants were allowed to choose the classes they were interested in attending, tour different campus departments and network with students and professors in their area of study. In this way, they were able to really tailor the experience to their academic interests and professional goals.
The tireless efforts of the student leaders of the Quisqueyalies in creating the agenda, coordinating logistics and receiving permissions and approval from Yale administration really made this program successful. The relationships formed between the Dominican students and their counterparts at Yale are the result of the vested interest of those students in being changemakers in society and fostering a sense of community and intercultural dialogue and understanding across borders.
The activity at Yale University is the inaugural event of the Global Dominican Academic Exchange program, which will organize a series of annual topic-specific events of short (maximum one week) duration in collaboration with the Dominican student organizations at a variety of United States universities. InteRDom will work closely with student representatives to plan the activities, and then to recruit and bring students from Dominican universities to participate. Hosting events with different thematic concentrations will ensure that diverse groups of Dominican students will have the opportunity to participate.
The Global Dominican Academic Exchange program, a project of the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister organization in the Dominican Republic, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), through their program InteRDom Internships in the Dominican Republic, aims to introduce Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encourage dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions, thereby encouraging and inspiring partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which will foster innovation and stimulate Dominican economic development and international understanding. The activity at Yale University was also supported by the Dominican Ministry of Higher Education in Science and Technology.
InteRDom 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.