Thursday, May 28, 2009


¡Hola Todos!

Thank you for taking time to check out my DukeEngage Chile blog. My name is Grant. I’m a rising senior at Duke University, double majoring in Public Policy and Spanish, with a minor in Economics. I was born and raised in beautiful Portland, Oregon. I spent the fall semester of 2008 living with a host family and studying in Madrid, Spain through the Duke in Madrid program. After traveling to 21 countries on five continents and living with three host families in Spain and Costa Rica, I want a summer experience that will challenge my Spanish skills, my ability to perform service work to help others using a combination of my academic knowledge with my personal experiences, and to fully integrate into a foreign country.

For two months, I, along with five other Duke students and Antonio, our trip leader and senior program coordinator for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, will participate in the DukeEngage Chile summer program. DukeEngage’s mission is clearly and concisely articulate in its motto: “Challenge yourself. Change your world.” Started in 2007 thanks to a generous donation by Bill and Melinda Gates, DukeEngage enables both individual and group service projects throughout the United States and the World.

DukeEngage Chile is in its second year. The six of us will live with host families in three comunas in Santiago: Santiago Centro, Providencía, and Ñuñoa. For me, this will mark my fourth experience living with a Spanish-speaking host family. Nonetheless, every experience is certainly unique and challenging.

We will work as interns for the non-profit, Acción Emprendedora, which translated means “enterprising” or “entrepreneurial action.” AE, founded in 2003, is dedicated to the development of the small businesses sector in areas of high social impact through a process of training, technical assistance, and support in the obtainment of financing. Ultimately, AE seeks to help individuals overcome poverty through entrepreneurship. As interns, we will work on various projects to assist AE in its mission. While we are still unsure which projects we will undertake, possible projects include organizing the annual alumni celebration, researching the effectiveness of AE classes by gathering data from micro-enterprises, or developing a database of practice problems or scenarios for the classes. Last year, Engage interns worked on a project to develop a new curriculum and support for female entrepreneurs.

In addition to working with AE, we will participate in tertulias or tutorials with accomplished and famous Chilean artists, writers, and politicians. We will also be matched up with Chilean college students to learn more about life in Santiago. Finally, we will have time on weekends for excursions around Chile, Argentina, and potentially Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

As the blogging correspondent for DukeEngage Chile, I hope to share a blend of informative knowledge about Chilean culture, history, and politics, Acción Emprendedora, and alleviating poverty, as well as my colleagues and my personal experiences from our service.

¡Hasta luego!

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