Doors Open to a Dream Career

In the fall of 2012, student Florencia Dominguez took the global learning course ECS 3021, Women, Culture and Economic Development taught by Dr. Irma Alonso.  The course equipped her with an awareness of global humanitarian issues which inspired her to become engaged with the International Rescue Committee.  This is the first person account of her experience.
By Florencia Dominguez

While I was aware of the existence of gender differences, this class exposed me to the realities and unthinkable conditions many women experience across the globe. Dr. Alonso’s course not only taught me about the struggle women still face to be accepted as equals to men worldwide, but it has also encouraged  me to be less judgmental and accept cultural diversity and other people’s practices. In addition, the course made me appreciate everything that we are given in this society. Unfortunately, we are sheltered from the reality of the daily struggles people just like us have to go through just to survive.

Throughout the semester Dr. Alonso showed us documentaries that dealt with several florenciawomen’s issues. One of them,
Shackled Women – Abuses of a Patriarchal World, made a particular impact on me: I learned the atrocities many women are suffering even today just because of their gender; the scarce value they hold as persons in different parts of the world, and the little it seems the rest of us is concerned in addressing these issues. Becoming aware of all this suffering has fueled me to become part of the solution.  At the time of the class, I was already volunteering for an amazing global non-profit organization called International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises helping asylees, refugees and victims of human trafficking survive, recover and rebuild their lives. When Dr. Alonso assigned us an independent study, I decided to learn more about human trafficking since the documentary raised my interest on the topic. I wanted to explore how much it affects the United States as I was unaware that it was happening in our own backyard. While working on my assignment, I met IRC’s Anti-Human Trafficking program manager Ms. Regina Bernadin. Because I was volunteering at another department, I had not had the chance to meet her before. Ms. Bernadin participated in a seminar along other experts at FIU to bring awareness about the dangers of human trafficking. I decided to attend and based my independent study on that presentation.

The amazing thing for me about global learning courses is that their content makes an everlasting impact on the students. What I learned, has encouraged me to continue exploring global issues and become a positive influence on the road to a better world. I was so motivated that when a position opened in the IRC’s Anti-Human Trafficking department, I jumped at the opportunity. Today, I work as a full- time caseworker in that department and Ms. Bernadin is now my boss. Little did I know that by attending  this class, the doors would open to my dream career. Because of that global learning course, the knowledge I gained, and the motivation it instilled in me, I will be forever grateful to Dr. Alonso and FIU’s global learning initiative.

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