Friday, November 21, 2014

GDAE Transnational Law Program - Day 5



The Global Dominican Academic Exchange (GDAE) introduces Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encourages dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions. The program promotes partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which foster innovation and stimulate Dominican economic development and international understanding.

Students participating in the University of Georgia (UGA) Transnational Law Program in Athens, Georgia (October 19-26, 2014) took turns sending a daily report of their experiences.  To show just how fun the GDAE program is, we are sharing these reports to inspire others to attend! If you are interested in applying, please read more information on our website at: www.globaldominicanacademicexchange.org



Friday 24th


It is difficult to write on this day, the 24th, because it has been the most emotional day so far. This is a day that fills us with joy and pride to be Dominican ambassadors yet we are very sad because our classes and programs here are coming to an end. 


We started class today at 9:30 am, like every other day this week, with Mr. Cook who teaches Penal Law. Then we took a very interesting class on Environmental Law with an excellent and very intelligent professor. Our last class, two hours, was on Environmental Law.

Following the Environmental Law class, the long-awaited moment arrived: receiving our diplomas. The diplomas were handed out by Mr. Don Johnson, an important figure at UGA and Director of the Dean Rusk Center. With his trademark smile, he told us that were are an excellent and attentive group and that it was an honor to have welcomed this Dominican delegation.

After the diplomas were handed out, we were invited to a farewell lunch at an elegant restaurant on the outskirts of Athens. Here we talked about the future and our plans after we finish our degrees. This was the perfect moment to bring up questions about Masters programs and scholarships offered by the University.

After lunch, representatives from InteRDom interviewed us. We discussed our experiences, what we most liked about the program and what we thought of Athens. We took some photos on Campus then went back to the Hotel, where we were taken out to do some shopping.

Sincerely,
DR Crew

 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

GDAE Transnational Law Program - Day 4



The Global Dominican Academic Exchange (GDAE) introduces Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encourages dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions. The program promotes partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which foster innovation and stimulate Dominican economic development and international understanding.

Students participating in the University of Georgia (UGA) Transnational Law Program in Athens, Georgia (October 19-26, 2014) took turns sending a daily report of their experiences.  To show just how fun the GDAE program is, we are sharing these reports to inspire others to attend! If you are interested in applying, please read more information on our website at: www.globaldominicanacademicexchange.org



Thursday the 23rd

Today we had our first class in Criminal Law, taught by Professor Cook, which consisted of two hours with the teacher that were truly inspiring, because apart from being a great professor, he has experience as a Prosecutor, which gave us, as exchange students, a whole new opportunity for in-depth exposure to the criminal code in the United States. After that we went to our last International Law class with Professor Amann, who as always, taught the class with serenity and concern that her students understand and learn the material.

That day we had planned to go to the Outlets, but Professor Cook invited us to his Evidence class, so we decided to postpone our outing for the next day in order to take advantage of a class that wasn’t on the program. The coordinator of the program also encouraged us to accept Professor Cook’s invitation. We sat in on the class in a Faculty room with some of the university’s law students. The experience was tremendous. The professor first introduced us to his students then proceeded with the class.

After leaving the class we took a bus to Georgia Square Mall where we spent the day ambling around the entertainment center. 
From Athens, Georgia
With Love,
DR Crew


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

GDAE Transnational Law Program - Day 3



The Global Dominican Academic Exchange (GDAE) introduces Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encourages dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions. The program promotes partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which foster innovation and stimulate Dominican economic development and international understanding.

Students participating in the University of Georgia (UGA) Transnational Law Program in Athens, Georgia (October 19-26, 2014) took turns sending a daily report of their experiences.  To show just how fun the GDAE program is, we are sharing these reports to inspire others to attend! If you are interested in applying, please read more information on our website at: www.globaldominicanacademicexchange.org


Wednesday 22nd


On Wednesday, the 22nd, we woke up early, ate breakfast then, although it was cold out, we went to our classes at the Dean Rusk Center. We had our International Law class with Professor Diane, in which we learned, among other things, international law issues. 

Then, for the first time this week, we took a class in Corporate Law with Professor Rodrigues (yes, "Rodrigues" with an S), which was very dynamic. We learned a lot in those two hours with her.
Later, since we had nothing scheduled, we decided to walk to Athens. We saw many interesting things like huge mansions, some of which were decorated for Halloween. We also saw UGA fraternity and sorority houses. After dinner in the evening, we went to some of the nightspots downtown.  

Sincerely,
DR Crew

 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

GDAE Transnational Law Program - Day 2



The Global Dominican Academic Exchange (GDAE) introduces Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encourages dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions. The program promotes partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which foster innovation and stimulate Dominican economic development and international understanding.

Students participating in the University of Georgia (UGA) Transnational Law Program in Athens, Georgia (October 19-26, 2014) took turns sending a daily report of their experiences.  To show just how fun the GDAE program is, we are sharing these reports to inspire others to attend! If you are interested in applying, please read more information on our website at: www.globaldominicanacademicexchange.org

Tuesday 21st 

The day began well; we had a wonderful breakfast here at the Holiday Inn Express then went to our classes. We took classes in International Law and Constitutional Law from Professors Diane Marie Amann and Randy Beck, respectively, who are the BEST and MOST INCREDIBLE teachers. 

The day continued to be awesome: we went to the Athens Botanical Garden, which is incredibly beautiful, then we toured the magnificent Athens Museum of Art. Later, we went downtown where, just as we were about to go to dinner, we ran into a Halloween parade on the UGA campus. So, we had a quick dinner then joined the parade.   

At the Halloween parade, we heard and saw many frightening stories which, whether true or not, really scared us. There were lots of people in scary costumes that made us scream.

We ended up having a great day and, in the end, went to a concert of American music. 

From Athens, Georgia

With Love,
DR Crew

 

Friday, November 14, 2014

GDAE Transnational Law Program - Day 1



The Global Dominican Academic Exchange (GDAE) introduces Dominican students to the American style of liberal arts education and encourages dialogue between Dominican students and their Dominican-American counterparts attending these institutions. The program promotes partnership and entrepreneurship initiatives which foster innovation and stimulate Dominican economic development and international understanding.

Students participating in the University of Georgia (UGA) Transnational Law Program in Athens, Georgia (October 19-26, 2014) took turns sending a daily report of their experiences.  To show just how fun the GDAE program is, we are sharing these reports to inspire others to attend! If you are interested in applying, please read more information on our website at: www.globaldominicanacademicexchange.org

Monday 20th

It was simply fantastic. It began with an exquisite and varied breakfast with our brothers from Argentina, courtesy of the Hotel Holiday Inn Express. After breakfast, we took a short walk from the Hotel to the University, past the marvelous UGA Arch. We were attracted by its magnetism and immediately our minds and bodies sensed the mysticism of this higher learning institution.

When we arrived at the Dean Rusk Center, we were warmly greeted by Associate Director, María Eugenia Giménez, who proceeded to explain the work they do there. They gave us kits with information about the Law School and a few souvenirs. Later we joined a University tour, led by two representatives of the Arch Society, in which we learned about its rich history as well as some fun facts about UGA.

Upon returning to the Dean Rusk Center, we attended our first class on International Law given by Professor Diane Marie Amann. It was very, very enriching and Professor Diane is a top-notch teacher. Then we took a break and had lunch with María Eugenia Giménez and Mr. Don Johnson, Director of Dean Rusk Center, who officially welcomed us. Following the break, we returned to class with Professor Randy Beck, who taught Constitutional Law. It is worth noting that both professors have worked within the US Supreme Court, which, in short, means we are learning from the best of the best.

The day ended with a dinner organized by the Society of UGA Law Students. It was a really fun activity and we made lots of friends.

We have no words to express how thankful we are to have been chosen for this program. We are benefiting and taking advantage to the max. We love everyone here.  

From Athens, Georgia
With Love,
DR Crew











Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Time: Better Late With a Treasure?

By Sarah Fiske
InteRDom Correspondent, Sarah, has recently completed her undergraduate studies in Political Science at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. She is participating in the 2014 10-week InteRDom Summer Program. You can read more about Sarah and her participation in the Correspondent Program here.

It’s almost time for me to go back home, and unlike with many things here, that can’t happen late.

I got an email kindly reminding me I was due (overdue) for writing a blog post and my first thought was, “let me see how quickly I can write this thing.” It is crunch time in my second internship - a research project on CAFTA-DR (DR, Central American, US Free Trade Agreement), and I feel like I am just getting my footing on it. I chuckled at my thought because I’m never able to write these things quickly, but also because here [in the DR] things just don’t happen quickly. It’s a cultural thing and I’m catching the bug. So, I thought I’d write a little post about time.

In the last blog I talked about culture and stereotypes, and emphasized underlying similarities. Keeping within that framework, I do want to talk about one difference. Let me also add: I know I am talking in generalities. I know these aren’t true for everyone. I don’t mean this to be offensive towards either culture, but to be a critical thinking exercise about culture and stereotypes, and our tendencies to be either blindly close-minded or blindly open-minded. That being said, everyone knows the stereotypes about Latin Americans and time. On time is 10 minutes late, at least - and it is mostly true. It is also often considered a negative side of Latin culture, and for this blog and my experience, specifically Dominican culture.

I can get caught in this fast-paced New England mindset sometimes where everything is go, go, go. Before I finish one thing I am already planning on how I’ll get to the next thing; at home [in Rhode Island] I often pack a day more full than my average week here in DR. I don’t hesitate to eat on the go, and sometimes run from one place to another. Here, things don’t work like that. In fact, I rarely see anyone seemingly in a hurry, except maybe to the corner store ("colmado") to grab an item while cooking. People stop and chat from place to place, and I’ve sat behind so many non-aggressive drivers allowing cars to cut them off through multiple light cycles (though they are quick to honk at a green light). Obviously there are exceptions, but overall the pace of life is just slower here.

Honestly, it can drive me crazy, but frustration doesn’t solve any problems so I choose to just accept it. That’s one step in the right direction, but I can go further. Rather than simply not being bothered by the different flow of time here, I need to learn how to appreciate it. Cultures evolve for reasons. Dominicans weren’t thrown into this cultural view of time and said “these are the rules, do your best.” No, these norms evolved based on the ideals, values and interests of the people in the nation. So, what were these values? What interests does it serve?

There are many answers to that question – and this is an oversimplification of one key factor, but I think it has key truth.

To answer this, I thought about what a successful day for me would look like in the stereotypical cultural frameworks. In the US cultural mindset I might say, “I hurried to work this morning so I could manage to squeeze in a short lunch date. After work I went to a class at the gym where in 30 minutes I sweat more than most people in a week (thanks Crossfit, for your short, but killer workouts) and, even with a grocery run, I made it home with enough time to change, toss a load of laundry in to the wash, and grab my crock pot dinner to eat in the car on the way to my church group.” My successful day is action packed, a little rushed and schedule-oriented, but accomplishes tangible objectives.

A stereotypical successful day for me in the Dominican cultural framework might look a little different. I might say, “I got off to a slower start at work because my coworker was having some difficult situations at home; we got to talking and I offered her some advice and encouragement. Later, I had some extra time for lunch and enjoyed a big meal with my coworkers. After work I stopped in to visit my aunt and she made me fresh fruit juice and a small soup for dinner; two hours later I left with mangos for my mom and plantains for me. I finished the day meeting a few friends for a jog in the park.” My ideal day is relationship oriented and has enough room to allow time to flow more freely, but has little I can check off the to-do list.
If you search google images for "businessman running" you'll find countless images, clip arts, vector images etc. It's prolific. And you see it in the US. Check out any downtown on a weekday and you'll see men and women glancing at their watches as they run or power walk from one meeting to the next. Here, you don't often see that. Photo: Iain Gillespie, Sydney Morning Herald
Two guys playing dominos - a common pass time here. There is a lot more just spending time with people. Photo from World Race Blog
So, back to the question: how does Dominican culture, relating to time, serve the Dominican people? How is this pace good? How do I appreciate it? Simple, this view on time allows people to build deep relationships with their friends, coworkers and family. The flexibility with time often says you are more important than my next plan – or than me making a next plan. This aspect of Dominican culture is a treasure. When I navigate this culture with this mindset I can still be critical in my view on time, but recognize the treasure that is the other side of the coin.

So what is the take home? We live in an increasingly globalized world; one where many countries, especially developing countries, are criticized for certain aspects of their culture like time. I’ve met a lot of Dominicans who talk about this negative side of their culture but not about where it comes from. My message is: Know the nature of the problem. Dominicans, treasure your culture and the way people are cared for. Understand that is a big factor in the time “problem”. Be critical, but think critically both of others and yourself. I don’t encourage stagnancy, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. You can’t have it all; what do you want as your treasure?

Lastly, your challenge: Do the same thing for US culture. Select a “negative” and see what the complimentary positives or treasures are. I’d do it, but this blog post is probably already past our short, instant gratification period aka: American culture’s current attention span, hint hint ;).

And lastly just for fun a few of my pictures:
"Stand up" paddle boarding (the waves made the stand up part harder) in Cabarete
The Presidential Palace in Santo Domingo with storm clouds in the background
Mate - an Argentine tea tradition - in the park with other interns