Thursday, April 26, 2012
Life after Hispaniola
For a long time I wondered how I’d ever combine all of my interests into one job. During college I loved studying sociology but wasn’t sure how to manifest sociological theory into an actual career. My experience working in Boston with youth made me realize that I wanted to work with disadvantaged populations but not necessarily within the school system, as the problems students brought to school were clearly derived from their families and communities. I cared passionately about environmental issues and food politics but did not want to pursue a graduate degree in either of the two specific fields. I have been fortunate to learn about the dynamics of community development during my time in the Dominican Republic and the many factors that contribute to a healthy community. From economic opportunities to health care to caring for the environment, each community is unique and creates its own culture. After living in unfamiliar communities I understand the influence they have over their members. Even more, single communities must confront issues related to education, health, employment, and the environment. An integral part of any community is the individual’s health. Imagine walking to shop for groceries, buying local instead of imported produce, running in a nearby park instead of driving to exercise. There are so many elements of a healthy community. And, of course, being “healthy” implies much more than the physical aspect. These are things that I strangely think of upon entering typical American suburbs. So, it should not come as a surprise that I have decided to study urban planning and public health once I return to the USA. I’ll be moving to Portland, Oregon in September to study at Portland State and I’m sooo excited!