Goals and Objectives
SST in the Dominican Republic is an integrated program of study/living/experience/reflection in an international setting. The main objectives are to:
1. Learn to function effectively in another culture;
2. Develop skills in communicating in another language;
3. Understand the people and history of the Dominican Republic in a Caribbean and global context;
4. Develop skills in experiential learning;
5. Achieve new learning about self and the U.S. culture through a process of "defamiliarization"; and
6. Develop a sense of "accompaniment" with Dominicans by living and working with them and by learning from them.
Because SST is highly experiential, the assignment of credit is, in some sense, arbitrary. However, the selection of our activities in the DR is guided by the necessity for you to achieve academic credit. Following are some brief comments on the sources of content.
1. SPANISH (4 credit hours): six weeks of conversational and grammar classes are taught by ENTRENA, a private, contractual language school used by the Peace Corps and others; conversation with Dominican families and other nationals; a few lectures in Spanish; and working and living for 13 weeks in the Spanish-speaking environment. There will be written and oral examinations at the end of your time in DR.
2. Intercultural Communication (3 credit hours): Assumes careful observation and appropriate response to the verbal and non-verbal signs in the culture, with special attention to family, classroom teachers, lecturers and coworkers. Includes being sensitive to misunderstandings, classmates, group dynamics, one's own feelings and actions; and understanding readings in cultural issues and the media.
3. Social Science (3 credit hours): psychological, social, economic, political and historical realities of the Dominican Republic and global affairs. These are filtered through families, the press, lectures, field trips, self-guided studies of your extended families. a rural village study, museums, the work place, independent readings and your journal reflections.
4. Humanities (2 credit hours): attendance at concerts, live theater, church and other religious events with family members, self-guided or assisted studies (complete with sketches) of art in museums, galleries, public places, historical buildings and artifacts; lectures by key interpreters of Dominican life; and reading stories or translating poems.
5. Natural Science (1 credit hour): group field trips to a mountain water fall, national aquarium, beach and other places where you are expected to observe and report on the natural environment. Also, as you travel around the city and country, notice the ecology and the natural flora and fauna. Compare with that in the US with which you are familiar.
Alvarez, Julia. (1994) In the Time of the Butterflies. New York: A Plume Book.
Canfield, Lincoln (1987) University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary. University of Chicago Press.
Ferguson, James. (1992). Dominican Republic: Beyond the Lighthouse. London: Latin American Bureau.
Hess, J. Daniel (1994) The Whole World Guide to Cultural Learning. Yarmouth ME: Intercultural Press. Inc.
Hockman, Cynthia (1989) Returning Home. GC PinchPenny Press.
Kendris, Christopher (1996) 501 Spanish Verbs (Fourth Edition), Barron's Educ. Series.
Koh1s, L. Robert (1984) Survival Kit for Overseas Living. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, Inc.
Wiarda, Howard J., and Michael J. Kryzanek- The Dominican Republic: A Caribbean Crucible. Boulder: Westview Press, 1982.
Diaz, Junot. (1996) Drown. New York: Riverhead Books.
El Nuevo Testamento
Keenan, Joseph J. (1994) Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish. University of Texas Press.
Nfichener, James (1989) Caribbean. Random House, Inc.
Schmitt, Conrad J. (1989) Schaum's Outline Series: Spanish Grammar (Third Edition). McGraw -Hill Inc.
Schmitt, Conrad J. (1984) Schaum's Outline Series: Spanish Vocabulary. McGraw -Hill, Inc.
Requirements and Evaluation
1. Spanish -- Punctual attendance at all ENTRENA classes is obligatory. If you are ill, please call us by 8 a.m. You are required to complete homework and pass language tests at the end of the term. At that time you will be given a battery of tests: 1) multiple choice, 2) writing, and 3) oral. For the oral exam you will record answers to questions given to you some 15 minutes before the recording. These tests will determine how well you have mastered the basic structure and verb tenses and will be corrected and a grade assigned by the Foreign Language Department faculty at Goshen College. You may earn an extra hour of credit if your scores so warrant. The CR/NC option will be offered to you by the SST leaders about two weeks into the semester.
2. Classroom Lectures and Field Trips -- Regular, punctual attendance is required. Again, please call if you are unable to attend. Interaction with the presenters is expected: this includes active listening and the asking of questions.
3. Readings and Discussions -- We will have ample time to process the lectures, share what Hess calls "critical events," and discuss their cultural significance, plan for special events, and meet individually, as needed- Full participation is required. Attendance at the weekly "Casa Goshen" is expected, and students will take turns helping with cooking, cleaning up dishes, leading discussion and providing devotionals.
4. Journals -- This is a regular part of the SST experience and academic discipline. A minimum of three 1-3 page entries every week is required (some assigned topics). We will collect, read and return your journals each week. You will continue your entries while you are on your field assignment. We will read your journal during our visit and again when you return to the city. (See more detailed guidelines later in syllabus.)
5. Village Visit and Self-Directed Study: Mid-way through the first six weeks, you will be assigned to a group for a village study. The group will report its findings in a 4-6 page written report and a brief oral report. Additionally, you are expected to explore galleries, concerts, museums or destinations of your choosing -- study them and report back to the group.
6. Projects- -- By the end of the term, you must complete some form of major project. Here you can choose to go either of two routes:
Option A: If you choose this option, you will do six smaller projects during the term. We are providing, on a separate handout, a list of 13 possible projects. You may select up to three alternates of your own choosing if the assigned topics do not suit your interests (one of your leaders should OK any alternate topic). The first two projects are due May 21, two more are due June 11 and the last two when you return from the service assignment. You may work with another person, but each student must file a separate report.
Option B: In you choose this option, you will focus on one major project, and use whatever creative energies you have to create something of significance. In terms of format, you may choose to compose music, write and perform a short play, collect a structured slide show (with narration, but not a travelogue), write a formal report, write poetry, do a series of D.R.-inspired paintings or sketches, or whatever creative avenues you'd like to pursue. In terms of topics, the list of projects for Option A may stimulate your thinking (e.g., a much more extensive study of the varieties of religious experience in the D.R., or the nature of relationships here, or various forms of entertainment, or music, or whatever). The model for Option B is probably Josh Kaufman's excellent study of music and instruments in Ivory Coast. Come up with something you would be proud to read/show/perform, back at GC or your home congregation when you return. We also will view/hear/experience your projects during the final retreat before you return to Goshen.
7. Exam -- There may be one final exam based primarily on the lectures and on a map of the Caribbean/Central American/South American region.
8. Family Life -- Santo Domingo families have been selected because of their interest in helping GC students make a good transition to Dominican life. Most have hosted SSTers previously, though for some this is the first time. You are expected to do your part in developing positive relationships with your host families and communities, to respect their lives and values, and to respond to their warmth and guidelines. Your family has been given a sheet explaining, in Spanish, the behavioral norms expected of SST students. You may wish to go over it with them to clarify.
9. Service/Learning Field Assignment -- You are expected to fulfill the six-week term in a way satisfactory to both your immediate supervisor and the community leader who serves as a liaison for Goshen College. The assignments are made by the SST leaders in consultation with each student and each agency. Notice: this is a learning experience, not only (and maybe not at all) a "job."
More Detail on Joumal Assignment
Purposes for the student journal include to:
1. Record personal observations, experiences and impressions.
2. Thoughtfully compare earlier life experiences with current ones and to express your personal understanding of this comparison.
3. Grow in self-expression by experimenting with a variety of formats. An occasional line drawing, poem or song, written by you, will help you create a journal which has depth and range and which expresses your own style.
4. Write clearly, precisely and concisely. Use correct English grammar and structure.
5. Think reflectively about your daily routines and their meaning to you and to others with whom you interact. For example, what does a bath mean to you? What does it mean to your Dominican family? Do these meanings co-exist comfortably or do they collide, resulting in misunderstandings?
6. Express the frustrations that accompany your life in a new culture and a new family. However, the journal is not a gripe log. Please do a careful and critical analysis of frustration entries so you can think through positive solutions to the frustrations.
7. Share your personal window into the SST experience and record your personal growth throughout the semester.
8. Learn some of the necessary skills of world citizenship:
- a. Learn how to avoid an automatic negative judgment about people, places and things which are not familiar and comfortable.
b. Learn how to think critically (not necessarily judgmentally) about your own national culture.
c. Attempt to see your behavior and world through the eyes of others.
d. Learn how to develop friendships with others whose world is different from your own.
e. Take responsibility for personal ignorance and learn how to make necessary adjustments.
f. Take responsibility to learn how to live with others in a tactful, gracious and courteous manner.
g. Accept personal cultural mistakes with good humor and attempt to correct them when possible.
h. Carefully unpack your own cultural baggage, recognizing that the North American culture has both strengths and limitations.
i. Avoid making fun of others or using humor to take advantage of others. Hostile humor is not useful in creating good relationships; however, healthy humor is essential to life.
Format:Each entry (at least three a week) should be no less than one page and no more than three pages in length. Conciseness and clarity are both valued. In addition, occasional creative "bursts" which are longer are acceptable.
Style: The journal is your personal record of your SST experiences. As such, it should reflect your own thinking, writing and creativity.
Procedure and Content: A journal is not a log of events, nor is it a casual diary of free-flow introspection. Rather, the SST journal is a disciplined record of your growth in observing and understanding yourself and the Dominican culture. Select topics from cultural scenes, events or objects which you saw, heard, felt, smelled, tasted or experienced- Accurately describe and then interpret or analyze. If the scene, event or object raises some unanswered questions for you, include them and follow up on them in a later entry.
Evaluation: We will collect and read your journal each week, usually on Wednesday (return by Friday). We will ask permission if we would like to share a part of a journal entry with others. We may make responsive comments in your journal, but there will not be a separate journal grade. The journal is one of the tools used to compose the final SST evaluation.
A Final Word: In some SST homes some family members may read English. We ask that you be careful with your journal in your family homes. Entries which perhaps are necessary for you to write may create problems for you if read by others who do not understand the purposes of the journal.
Please complete the reading and writing assignments prior to lectures and Casa Goshen activities. You will note that some reading assignments are intentionally duplicated. In addition to or in conjunction writh your experiences in this culture, your readings of Hess, Alvarez, Ferguson. Diaz or Kohls may serve as fodder for journal entries. Allow them to help stimulate your reflections.
Even if lecturers arrive late, you need to be at lectures on time since we use those minutes to take care of unit business (mail, questions, money for families, etc.). When lecturers cancel at the last minute, we will use the time for one of several activities: to discuss issues related to Iffe in the Dominican Republic and your experience here, to view the documentary film "El Poder del Jefe" about the dictator Trujillo; to see "Nueba Yol," a recent film about a Dominican York; or to visit the Botanical Gardens or Zoo.