Internship at the Community for Learning, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Sara Rizik-Baer, sophomore
comparative literature major, Hispanic studies minor
As a team teacher of English language arts to bilingual students in Santo Domingo, I was lucky enough to introduce my class to Shakespeare and to creative and nonfiction writing styles. My ninth graders actually looked forward to coming to class and performing scenes from Romeo and Juliet. The seventh- and eighth-graders continuously impressed me with their creative writing abilities, which clearly illustrated the lessons I’d been teaching.
This was an incredible opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like to teach, and I learned the importance of finding creative ways to connect with students. Eventually, I want to become a teacher of world literature and perhaps even start my own alternative education school in a foreign country.
On another level, the experience was a very personal journey. I lived with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and another Obie, junior Arthur Richards. Reconnecting with my family and my Dominican heritage was amazing, and it further encouraged my search for personal identity and history.
Internship with North Carolina Congressman David Price, Washington, DC
Janine Heiser, junior politics and religion major
While working on Capitol Hill, I attended a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state and a Judiciary Committee hearing on the confirmation of Alberto Gonzalez as attorney general. Watching high-profile senators debate one other and interrogate the candidates was fascinating.
It was interesting to observe how some Democrats in the House are trying to bring messages of faith and moral values back into the Democratic Party. Congressman Price was once heavily involved with the progressive church and believes that social justice should be brought back into the Democratic message. Many staffers in the office agree. It was encouraging to meet and talk to people with beliefs similar to my own.
Internship at Chinese Hospital, San Francisco
Sai-Wing Chan, first-year biology and
East Asian studies major
Chinese Hospital is the last independent hospital in San Francisco, with the unique mission of providing culturally sensitive, Western medicine tailored for the Chinese community. It offers Chinese-style comfort foods for those unaccustomed to traditional Western fare, and the staff, nurses, and doctors speak a variety of Chinese dialects. The hospital was created out of necessity by the community early in the 20th century, when many white doctors refused to treat Chinese patients.
I worked in the cardio-pulmonary unit, taking electrocardiograms and handling patient files. When the unit was not too busy, I would go up to the fifth-floor operating room to observe surgical procedures. Coincidentally, this is where I met Dr. R. Thomas Grotz ’70, an orthopedic surgeon whom I became well acquainted with during my term.
It is my ultimate goal to become a doctor, and this was a fantastic opportunity that I know many students at my level do not get. By meeting and observing specialists in a variety of fields, I discovered new medical career possibilities. Finally, working in a hospital that caters to Chinese patients let me practice my Chinese. I was touched by the sense of family conveyed by the entire hospital staff as they offered me a glimpse of what I ultimately hope to become a part.
Teacher’s aid, Children’s Village, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Annie Gaus, senior English major
Many of the emotionally troubled boys at this residential treatment center are victims of chronic abuse or neglect. I worked with higher-achieving fourth graders who were expected to eventually matriculate back into mainstream schools. Most of them had been diagnosed with severe ADD/ADHD, which, in spite of the boys’ intelligence, sometimes made small tasks like copying spelling words seem insurmountable.
I happened to be there as the students were preparing for the state exam that would allow them to advance to the fifth grade. The state exams are a reflection of the rigid conventions of childhood educational development; I witnessed the ways in which certain biases therein work to exclude students from the “mainstream.”
My time at CV showed me firsthand the profound impact that a child’s emotional condition has on his success in school. The lack of creative outlets in mainstream education is detrimental to everyone, but especially to troubled boys for whom normal academic work can be a heavy burden.
I feel immensely grateful for the month I spent at Children's Village and for the opportunities the school provides some of society’s most vulnerable boys.
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