Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Note to My Friends

         By: Kim Sanchez

InteRDom Correspondent, Kim, has completed three years of her Bachelor's degree in Film and Video at the Visual Arts College at the University of Toledo in Ohio. She is participating in the 2013 10-week Caribbean Summer Program. You can read more about Kim and her participation in the Correspondent Program here.

Dear Friends, 

I'm having a wonderful time here! Work is keeping me busy. I'm editing together footage from art expositions held at FUNGLODE. This country has a lot of cultural events to offer, you would love it here. I'm never bored! There is always something to do or to see here.

Another intern and I went out to a neighborhood bar called El Secreto Musical. There, we saw professional dancers dance merengue, salsa, and bachata. It wasn't long before they pulled us onto the dance floor also. I have a terrible sense of rhythm, but it was still super fun!

We've made friends with other International and Dominican students also working within other organizations at FUNGLODE.
 They are all so fun loving and ready to explore the city as well. They stay at a hotel nearby, so we definitely took advantage of their pool. Also, the bars here are crazy and so much fun! We all went out until late into the morning and ate breakfast at the famous Barra Payan. 

Also, there is a variety of malls here. Of course, I hit up the frozen yogurt places. You know that I am a frozen yogurt fiend! Also, I need to go shopping for clothes. You were right, I did not pack enough clothing! 

We also had another excursion. This time we went to Santiago to visit a family farm and a museum called Centro Leon. Santiago is beautiful. When I take you to the Dominican Republic we will have to spend a lot of time exploring Santiago. Enjoy the pictures from our trip!

I miss you all.

Much love,


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Living the Life

By: Alexandria Rogers

InteRDom Correspondent, Alexandria, has completed three years of her Bachelor's degree in Sports Administration and Spanish at the University of Miami, Florida. She is participating in the 2013 10-week Caribbean Summer Program.
You can read more about Alexandria and her participation in the Correspondent Program here.


I have now been in Santo Domingo for two weeks and I have nothing but good things to say! The people are some of the nicest people that I have ever met and from what I have seen the country is beautiful. Upon landing in the country, I was so excited and took so many pictures on the drive on the way to the apartment. While driving, I was definitely surprised at how busy Santo Domingo is. There were definitely a lot more people and cars than I expected. After about a 30 minute drive, we arrived at the apartment: my home for the next 10 weeks. It is really nice and comfortable and while standing on the balcony, you can even see the ocean. The upcoming week would be orientation in which we did a tour of the colonial zone, got the opportunity to ride a "carro publico" and "guagua" and ultimately got the chance to meet our employer. 

My 1st weekend in the Dominican Republic was definitely full of adventures. My friends in the program and I traveled to Boca Chica to go to the beach. The weather was perfect! It was not too hot, there was a nice breeze and the waters were so clear. That whole week, all I thought about was fried fish and coming to the beach I was so happy when they had it on the menu! "El loro frito" was the best and freshest fried fish ever and along with my passion fruit juice, I spent the whole afternoon relaxing on the beach. Overall, my first full Saturday in Santo Domingo was perfect.

The next day, after being invited by our tour guide in the colonial zone, we went to the town of

Yamasá which is about an hour north of the capital. There, we celebrated the festival of the Guillen brothers who took on the task of keeping alive the art of the Taíno Indians who once inhabited the island. In my short time here, I have learned that Dominicans love to party. This festival was an outdoor party with food, music, people, artwork and traditions everywhere. It was definitely a great experience and since it only happens once a year, I was very happy that I could experience it. 

After a weekend full of excitement, Monday came, and it was my first day of work. I am the Community Affairs and Education Initiative Assistant for the Major League Baseball offices in Santo Domingo. Interning with the MLB is definitely a dream opportunity for me and so far, my first week has been great. The people in the office are very nice and willing to help me improve my Spanish. Working a 9-5 is definitely a new experience for me and tired is not the word to describe how I was feeling after my first week on the job. Let’s just say that almost every day last week I was going to sleep before 10pm. As I settle into my work routine, I am excited to actually stay up past 10pm.

I am really excited for what is to come this summer! I cannot wait to experience more Dominican culture and have the best time working at a place of my dreams!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Exploring the Dominican Republic from East to West

By: Carlos Gonzalez
InteRDom Correspondent, Carlos, has completed three years of his Bachelor's degree in Political Science at St. Peter's University in New Jersey. He is participating in the 2013 10-week Caribbean Summer Program. You can read more about Carlos and his participation in the Correspondent Program here.

I found myself swimming in crystal clear water, listening to merengue, and feeling the warm sun on my face last Saturday afternoon, when a few of the interns and I went to Boca Chica beach.Given that the Dominican Republic is an island in the Caribbean, I would have never thought that I would have to drive out of my house thirty minutes to get to a beach. Thirty minutes and a $5 US dollar cab ride later and we arrived to Boca Chica. The trip was worth it! I don’t remember the last time I had seen such clear waters. Not to mention the sun that was beaming heat which complemented to the coolness of the ocean.

 After a few weeks of living in Santo Domingo and I feel like I am getting the gist of Dominican culture, food and politics. I have been taught these concepts in my college courses, and have somewhat experienced them when I lived in Puerto Rico when I was younger. However, living in the country, I feel as if I can fully grasp Dominican life. The beauty of the island, fantastic food, music and generosity of fellow Dominicans does not compare to any other country. The brand new metro system doesn’t hurt either.

 As for my internship, I have been busy researching on the social and economic implications that the communities surrounding Lake Enriquillo have faced due to mass flooding. I am currently packing my bags to take my first trip to the lake communities next week. I will be gone for five days exploring, assisting and researching the social and economic effects of the flooding. I will be staying in a town called Jimani in the Independencia Province with a team of students and professionals working on the development of the communities. I am also excited to travel to a rural community for a few days. I wonder how different the people are there from the capitol, Santo Domingo. I am also curious about how quiet nights will be compared to the busy and loud nights in Santo Domingo.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dear Family, I'm Not Dead!

 By: Kim Sanchez
InteRDom Correspondent, Kim, has completed three years of her Bachelor's degree in Film and Video at the Visual Arts College at the University of Toledo in Ohio. She is participating in the 2013 10-week Caribbean Summer Program. You can read more about Kim and her participation in the Correspondent Program here.

Dear Family, I'm Not Dead!

I was so nervous at the airport, but my anxiety quickly disappeared when I arrived to our apartment. It's much nicer than I imagined! We have lots of space, a full kitchen, and a balcony with a view of the ocean. I wanted to explore immediately!

The first weekend the other interns and I ventured out into the neighborhood. We picked up groceries from the supermarket, ate some delicious Dominican food, and hung out at El Malecon by the waterfront. At night we had some fun learning how to order from el colmado, a local carry-out that delivers anything (a much needed service back home).

There was a little bit of culture shock. For example, despite the heat many Dominicans prefer not to wear shorts (Ohioans wear shorts even in cold weather). Also, everyone speaks very fast here and I'm trying my best to keep up. However, I can feel myself getting better every day. I'm quickly adjusting with the help of the InteRDom staff and other students.

To kick off our program, we had a week long orientation that included workshops, tours, and a public transportation tutorial (It's really easy to get around here). They gave us the "low down" on some local customs and also prepped us for meeting our employers.

For my internship I will create many videos for our activities, including our first excursion to Zona Colonial, the first colonial city in the New World. I have access to use the multimedia facility (sweet!) and I even have my own cubicle (which I'm very proud of).

Anyway, I want to let you know that I'm alive and well here in Santo Domingo. I've made friends and I'm very comfortable (although I should have packed more bug repellent).

I miss you all and I hope someday I can bring you to this beautiful place!



Please enjoy this video post-card from a festival that a few girls and I attended!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Life 23

By: Ikenna Okoro


InteRDom Correspondent, Ikenna, has recently completed his undergraduate studies in Biology at the University of Miami, Florida and is participating in the 2013 10-week Graduate and Gap Year Program. You can read more about Ikenna and his participation in the Correspondent Program here.

Wow, one week down and it surprisingly feels like I've been here and known these other students for a lot longer. InteRDom gave us a very practical orientation this week. I learned about Santo Domingo transportation on Wednesday, and was lapping up in a carrito by Friday. And despite its seemingly wild streets, Santo Domingo has a new metro system that is more advanced (and smells nicer) than any one I've used in the United States. The taxi system is also efficient, and has helped me experience Santo Domingo's colonial zone, the beautiful Boca Chica beach, and my first internship event.

Sunday was the "La Carrerra a la Diabetes" 5K-10K run that my internship organization helped sponsor. Aprendiendo a Vivir had a kids section at the race where kids could get their blood sugar monitored throughout the event, learn about their diabetes, and of course play. I had an amazing time losing to them in duck duck goose, helping with nutritional concepts, and translating for students and parents (Thank you, La Pelicula Goofy).

I can't wait to get into the flow of my internships, and get better at this language. Also, feel free to search the Spanish translation of any of my posts on Youtube to discover the songs that inspired them.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Why bother leaving home?

By: Kim Sanchez

InteRDom Correspondent, Kim, has completed three years of her Bachelor's degree in Film and Video at the Visual Arts College at the University of Toledo in Ohio. She is participating in the 2013 10-week Caribbean Summer Program. You can read more about Kim and her participation in the Correspondent Program here.

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." St. Augustine
Everyone around me seems to have a fear of traveling. They believe that other countries are foreign and dangerous. However, I believe the world is simply too big to stay in one place. I have this unsettling feeling that I’m living in a cage with the door wide open and that's why I have to leave.

I'm a filmmaker. I make short films about myself and the world around me. I'm so interested in how a filmmaker can manipulate images and sounds to tell a story and be understood. Just in the past year I've travelled across the US, to Portugal, and to the Azores for filmmaking. I just can't stop leaving! I'm realizing now that my art is making me mobile, but what I really want to do is mobilize others. I want others to watch my films and then be inspired to take action in some way. This is why I'm leaving for the Dominican Republic.

For 10 weeks this summer I'll be working with
La Fundación de Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), a nonprofit organization that promotes human development and globalization in the Dominican Republic. I couldn't have dreamed of a more fitting opportunity! 

As an audiovisual intern, I will be involved in shooting, mixing, and editing video productions for the organization. In addition, I will live in student housing and take classes at La Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE). I'm so excited to become a part of this organization and use my skills to help educate and reach others.
I leave tomorrow. I am very excited to be part of this organization and to use my skills to educate and reach others. I'm really stressed out juggling work, moving into a new apartment, and preparing to travel abroad. I've been practicing my Spanish, but I'm still very nervous about speaking. I'm an adaptable person, but my deepest fear is that people will speak too quickly for me to understand. But this is exactly what I want! It's not supposed to be easy and pleasant all the time, if it were, why bother leaving home? I want to be challenged. I want to learn. I want to grow. This is why I have to leave, and it's why you should too.