Throughout the semester, students will participate in three academic trips as a part of their EDP361 course. These trips are meant to supplement classroom education with personal experiences and first-hand accounts.
Former Superior General of the Society of Jesus Peter Hans Kolvenbach has said that "We must therefore raise our Jesuit educational standard to 'educate the whole person of solidarity for the real world.' Solidarity is learned through 'contact' rather than through 'concepts.' When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change." These trips provide students with that opportunity, and are often the most memorable part of the Encuentro Dominicano experience.
Santo Domingo and the East: This trip is the most comprehensive of all. We start by visiting the Alta Gracia Project, a manufacturing facility of United States college and university apparel that pays a living wage to their workers. Through this experience, students hear first-hand accounts of the impact of fair trade in the workers' lives.
Our next stop is the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo, where students can see with their own eyes the places they have studied in the classroom, an experience which reinforces their learning and makes it more alive.
When possible, we fnish the trip with a visit to a CONACADO cocoa farm, which shows the students a different face of the impact and benefits of fair trade.
Cien Fuegos: Cien Fuegos is an inner-city neighborhood in Santiago, where two of our service sites are located. By meeting with local community leaders on this trip, students can learn about the realities of life for the people who live in Cien Fuegos, a community known as an example of urban poverty. Not only has this neighborhood been marginalized since its inception, but they continue to suffer the effects of immigration from people from the campos, the ups and downs of work at the free trade zone factories nearby, and the contamination from the dump located in their community, where all of the trash from Santiago is collected and burned.
The Border at Dajabón: On this trip we partner with the Jesuit organization Solidaridad Fronteriza, which is part of a larger network of Jesuit institutions that work to advocate for Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic. By going to the Dominican-Haitian border divided by the Massacre River, students can see for themselves a site that they have learned about in their history classes. Additionally, by talking to merchants and witnessing the bi-national market at the border, students can further appreciate the complexities of Dominican-Haitian relations and trade.