Dominican republic faculty led internship


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his 3-week summer experience in the Dominican Republic was an Internship (ANT497) for the Department of Anthropology at Southern Connecticut State University in August 2009. It was made possible through Dr. Kathleen Skoczen who has worked in this country since the 1980's and continues her fieldwork into today. My field project was to explore the concept of Proxemics, or the study of personal space, as it existed between the tourists and the Dominican locals. What I uncovered was this and so much more; eventually leading me to change my focus to the 'value of language' as it exists in a global context, with the specific example of English. Where I was living was with a family who works in the international tourism industry. Based out of a town called El Limon, their household doubles as a tour provider for people who are looking for an excursion to the famed El Limon waterfall; a national monument to the country. This fact brings individuals from all over the world, including Russia, Italy, France, Spain, England and even the United States among others. At the house, the tourists generally grab a bite to eat before leaving, and then mount up on horseback to make the 5k trip to view the cascading waters of El Limon. Along the way and upon arrival, they are afforded the unique opportunity to experience Dominican culture first hand thanks to their guides. The guides became a specific point of interest to me as a student of Anthropology, because it was they who showed me how valuable language really can be. As a result, I started to hold instructional classes for them, teaching different phrases and expressions to use along the way to the waterfall, all in the hopes they make a bit of extra money as a tip - their primary source of income. Ultimately, this experience showed me how much our ideas about other places in the world derive from our preconceptions about them. What I saw in the Dominican Republic was not the usual disparate and dark picture academic studies often paint regarding third world countries. In actuality, it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and some of the most beautiful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. In the end, this type of experience shows you, above and beyond all else, who you really are as a person; you are challenged in ways you never thought possible, forced to live and experience a life you never knew, and fundamentally reconsider who you are as an individual in the world today. Enjoy the video, and if you have questions about the PowerPoint, internships at Southern, Anthropology or just life in general, feel free to email me at

paulsond1@southernct.edu. Muchisimas Gracias!

 

Select here to view the Domincan Repulic internship attended by one of our anthropology majors.


 Select this link to view a brief video produced by this student.