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What I Did This Summer-Dominican Republic

What I Did This Summer

What I Did This Summer
What I Did This Summer

This is the first in a series of articles about Carolina students and their exciting, diverse summer activities.

Close your eyes and imagine traveling to the Caribbean. Beautiful, white-sand beaches. Clear skies. Crystal blue waters.

That's one scene that awaited a group of Carolina students who flew to the Dominican Republic for a Maymester study-abroad adventure.

But during the eight-day trip, the students also saw extreme poverty. They spent time with orphaned children who craved adult attention. And they made a difference in the lives of a small group of nuns and the orphanage they manage.

Cultural exchange

“The trip provided students with an awareness of international poverty,” said Maymester course instructor Peter Cardon, director of international programs in the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management.

Peter Cardon
Peter Cardon

“The students also acquired public-relations skills helpful in promoting a non-profit organization -- in this case, the Orchid Foundation, which supports the orphanage at which they worked for more than a week.”

In addition to playing with the children and getting to know the people who ran it, the Carolina students painted the large, main orphanage building.

“We wanted to provide some meaningful service -- painting the building -- and give emotional support to the children,” Cardon said. “We accomplished in four days what the nuns expected to take two weeks.

“The orphanage is well run by Catholic nuns. However, with 165 kids, the best efforts of the three to four nuns running the orphanage still leave many of the children starving for adult attention. The children loved getting some time to play with our students.”

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