The Dominican Republic is an island nation of rich culture and lasting tradition, located in the Caribbean Sea. Winning its status as an independent republic in 1844, the republic is best known for its beaches, resorts, and unique history. However, it is perhaps the unique blend of cultural influences from around the world that make this beautiful island the fascinating area it is today. For at least 5,000 years before Christopher Columbus "discovered" America for the Europeans the island, which he called Hispaniola, was inhabited by Amer-Indians. Anthropologists have traced 2 major waves of immigration, one from the West in Central America (probably Yucatan) and the second from the South, descendant of the Arawakan Indian tribes in Amazonia and passing through the Orinocco valley in Venezuela. It is from this second source that the ancestors of the Taino Indians who welcomed Columbus on his first voyage originated.
The word Taino meant "good" or "noble" in their language, and not only were the Indians peaceful and generous in their hospitality, but early Spanish chroniclers document that no Spaniard ever saw Indians fighting among themselves. By the end of the 15th century the Tainos were well organized into five tribes, and are considered to have been of the verge of civilization and central government. Recent estimates indicate that there probably were as many as 200,000 Tainos on the island at the time.
There was a case study to determine whether or not the undergraduates were learning in an environment focused on service learning. One of their professors stated that, "the undergraduates learn to accept and recognize the many things that children with disabilities can accomplish when given the opportunities (Bartolome, 2013)." Service learning efforts at different Universities, for the most part have the same goal for their students, to take in their culture. They get to be shown that everyone, no matter what circumstances occur, we are all the same.
As we, as students start to reflect back on our own service learning efforts, it is nice to see that we are not the only ones. There was a recent study done on whether or not people were truly learning about the project. What they found was that they, “confirm what we are beginning to learn about nonprofit experiences with service-learning: namely, that higher education service-learners are not widely used, and when they are used, the results tend to be suboptimal (Stoecker, 2014).” Reflection
As a student in this program you can participate in the community learning and service, which provides you the opportunity to see how the other half lives and a culture different from your own. This study abroad trip is different from many, where it is mainly class oriented. The trip was interesting for me because it had different aspects to the trip. The Global Service Learning Experience really lets you get involved with the real communities deep in the country.
Having a trip like this one to Dominican Republic where it is service oriented and a weeklong. It becomes very appealing for students who do not have time to take a long or would rather go somewhere and try to make a difference. The biggest thing that caught my interest was being able to be apart of a class that does more to help a community. You actually get hands on experience is something that needs to pushed throughout classes today.
Before traveling to the Dominican Republic, I had not had much experience or interest in knowing or learning about other country’s cultures, histories, or politics. I just never was interested in geography, politics, or history. So I went to the Dominican Republic knowing very little about their culture. I think that this is something that I would change if I ever get another opportunity to travel to another country. I think that is important to know something not only about the country you are traveling to.
The first question that all my...
Bibliography: Bartolome, S. J. (2013). Growing Through Service: Exploring the Impact of a Service-Learning Experience on Preservice Educators. Journal Of Music Teacher Education, 23(1), 79-91. doi:10.1177/1057083712471951
Stoecker, R. (2014). Extension and Higher Education Service- Learning: Toward a Community Development Service-Learning Model. Journal Of Higher Education Outreach & Engagement, 18(1), 15-42.
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