Exploring the Dominican Republic as a Quarter System Student

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College Study Abroad

College Study Abroad

"This experience brought me one step closer to pursuing my goal of working within the baseball industry"

Meet Henry Mullin

Hometown: Seattle
School: University of Washington
Study abroad: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Exchange period: Summer, 2017
Internship: Kansas City Royals Academy

 

How did you learn about your internship & what attracted you to pursue said opportunity?

I have been an avid player and fan of baseball since I could walk. I was immediately drawn to CIEE's Santo Domingo – Summer Sports & Society: Baseball in Context program because of its emphasis on baseball, culture, and society in the Dominican Republic (DR). I'm a student at the Univeristy of Washington, which opperates on the quarter system and I didn't have room in my schedule to go abroad during the school year. With flexible six, eight, and twelve week program options, CIEE made it possible to intern at the Kansas City Royals Academy in Santo Domingo for the summer. This experience brought me one step closer to pursuing my goal of working within the baseball industry.

Can you recall a time where you learned something new in the workplace?

The primary focus of my internship was to educate participating baseball players about the cultural differences between the Dominican Republic and the United States, as well as the challenges and opportunities surrounding the globalization of baseball. To accomplish this, my fellow interns and I provided players a series of presentations on the cultural differences between our respective nations and the impact of baseball on culture and society in the U.S. Through this experience, I learned the importance of communication and honed my ability to create informative presentations in Spanish and cultivate engaging dialogue to large groups of people.

What was the most difficult part of interning abroad & how did you overcome that?

The most challenging part of interning abroad was adapting to the language barrier. Locals in the area spoke Spanish very quickly and noticed when I was having difficulty responding during our  conversations. However, practice combined with a commitment to improving my language skills, encouraged and enabled me to make lasting connections with the players and staff of the Kansas City Royal Academy, many of whom I am still in contact with today.

What is one accomplishment that you are particularly proud of?

Interning with the Kansas City Royals Academy through CIEE allowed me to serve the community of Santo Domingo when I worked as a volunteer at the Casa Amore orphanage. Here, I helped Royals players run baseball drills with the students and provided extra-curricular English lessons as well. My positive interactions with locals on and off of the baseball field helped me to immerse myself into the culture and gain a better understanding of the lifestyles and relationships of community members. By the end of the internship, I was able to have basic conversations in English with a few kids, who prior to our lessons were unable to speak any English. It was incredibly rewarding to watch their growth and emerging confidence as they gained a greater grasp of the language through our lessons.

What was the most unique aspect of your internship?

I cannot emphasize enough how unique and enriching it was to serve students through my volunteer work at the orphanage. Baseball players are highly regarded in the D.R., and it was interesting to see how much the children idolized and respected them. It was also humbling to know that they also considered me to be on this level, even after I clarified that I was not in fact a professional baseball player.

Looking forward, how did interning abroad impact your future career goals?

This internship allowed me to practice my Spanish and provided insight into the culture which surrounds Major League Baseball academies in the DR in comparison with my experiences regarding baseball in the United States. Though I was not abroad for an extensice amount of time, this experience helped me prepare as I move into my senior year with the intent to pursue post-graduate work with a company that has a global mission as well as domestic and international ties. I hope to use my experience interning in the DR through CIEE  to further my goal of working in an international organization or in the baseball industry.

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