Category Archives: MSEC

Learning to Appreciate Life in Pulingui, Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

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by: Chris Wolfe

While Cuenca was little different than a typical city in America, Ñamarin began to show us what it was like to live without the luxuries we enjoy in the States on a daily basis. There was little wifi or cell service, a lack of hot water, and a lack of temperature control within buildings. I did not see any of these things as great hardships because I was still able to live fairly comfortably. Little did I know what I was about to face in our last village: Pulingui.

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Learning with Children in the Dominican Republic

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

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by: Shelby Pittman

The past few weeks I have immersed myself with Dominican culture, something that is brand new to me. I am only halfway through this journey, but along the way I try to act as a sponge, soaking up the mannerisms, problems and the language of the people. During this eight week program with the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps there are 22 students which are split between two cities, Ojeda and Los Blancos. I was placed in Ojeda, where I mostly spend time with my welcoming host family and their friends.

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Discovering Degrees of Separation and Connection in Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

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by: Adam Sarsony

I hate to sound cliché, but being here in Ecuador has taught me that it really is a small world after all. Not only has the internet brought people together in new and incredible ways, allowing my homestay brother in Pulingui to watch the same Facebook videos that I’ve watched in the states, but we also just really aren’t as separated as it seems.

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Learning to Step Back, Observe and Listen in Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

As my trip comes to an end I can safely say that my perspective on the world has changed drastically. This was my first time truly being exposed to development work. The two biggest things that I determined about this kind of work from my experiences in Ecuador are that it is a very slow process and that it is imperative for the planet.

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Encouraging Sustainability in the Dominican Republic

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

After weeks of preparation, filled with excitement for the upcoming trip, we finally landed in the airport of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. We were greeted by program coordinators who took us straight to the hostel for a night.DRbus

After spending the night in the hostel, the bus took us to our work site in the region of El Seibo. El Seibo is a small town with one central avenue and many friendly neighborhoods just off the avenue. Each neighborhood has a distinct architectural appearance but nonetheless, the people of each community were similarly nice to us.

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Consulting and Campaigning in Pulingui, Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

I just got back from spending two weeks in a small Ecuadorian town called Pulingui. It’s a wonderful community, with ridiculously friendly families who all grow/raise the majority of their food. Here’s a great picture taken by a fellow intern to give you an idea of what the community looks like:

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Touring Local Shops in Principal, Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

Ecuador is a beautiful country with unbelievably rich culture. We visited a town called Principal that is about two and half hours from our home base in Cuenca. This was my first taste of the kind of communities that we are going to be working with in our two other locations.

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Microconsignment and Empathy in Ecuador

This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America. Learn more about MSEC here.

Hi! My name is Ted Falk and I’m a rising senior at UMD with a major in marketing and a minor in Spanish. This summer, I’m living in Ecuador as an intern with the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). I’ve only been here for a week, but it’s felt like a year’s worth of experiences. Here I am in a small indigenous town we visited yesterday, called Principal:

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An Insider Look at MSEC with Rachel George

At its core, Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps or “MSEC” is a nine-credit, eight-week summer study abroad program for students interested in a social entrepreneurship internship in Ecuador, Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic. During their stay, students visit remote rural towns with limited resources to conduct health and well-being campaigns, as well as consult with local cooperatives, entrepreneurs and community groups. Knowing Spanish is not required, but with classes and immersion many students come out of the program able to hold conversations with a native speaker.

We wanted to hear what the MSEC experience is really like, so we turned to Rachel George, ’16, a Marketing and English double major student who took the program last summer. The photos below are all from her incredible photo blog of her stay in Ecuador.

DC: Why did you sign up for MSEC?

RG: It was a combination of things. A lot of it was that I hadn’t had a chance to do a semester abroad, so this was a chance for a longer study abroad experience that I didn’t have to take a semester off for. I wanted to explore the social justice sector because that was something I was interested in but didn’t have much experience with. It also gave me a chance to practice my Spanish. Another appeal of it was that it was interdisciplinary consulting projects. I’m in the QUEST program so that’s something I’m already familiar with—working with other majors is something I really love.

DC: At MSEC you stay with a host family. What was that experience like for you?

RG: I went to Ecuador and I stayed with four different host families, so the longest I was with them was for 4 weeks. The family I bonded the most with was when I was in the northern region of the country. It was in a very rural village where there wasn’t very much to do in the evenings besiddownloades stay in with our host families. I stayed with them for two weeks.  I was living with a single mom and her 15 year-old daughter. At nighttime we’d talk, play cards, my host sister would show me music that she liked and I got to hear more about them—stories that the mom would tell me about being a single mother supporting her daughter with multiple different jobs: she ran a store, she had livestock, she sold clothing that she knit. It was a great learning experience. I’m still friends with my host sister on Facebook.

DC: What was your favorite thing you did through MSEC? Both academically and for fun.

RG: Academically…my favorite point was actually a health campaign we did that was in a town called Simiatug. We did eye exams for a TON of people—a couple hundred people. At that point we were at the end of the trip, so my Spanish was definitely a lot better than it was at the beginning, and it was really satisfying because I spent several hours straight giving eye exams and I rarely needed to call a supervisor over to translate. It was great.  For fun…exploring the city. We had a home base in the city of Cuenca and for a couple weeks at a time we would go out to rural areas. While we were in Cuenca, which is a beautiful city, I went out almost every night and explored the town. There was a church up on a hill that overlooked the entire city. The city is cupped in the middle of these mountains, so you can climb up to the church and see the entire city at night and it’s beautiful.

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DC: What did you take away from the experience?

RG: Personally, the biggdownload (2)est thing that I got out of the trip was that after coming back I’m definitely more conscious and more grateful for my own circumstances. I remember one of the things that our supervisors said to us: “If you take nothing else from this trip, nothing from the work or even the program, take the experiences you had, the people you met, the things they taught you.” And he told us that “this trip is about learning that you have a comfort zone, and there’s a reality outside of it. There are people struggling to live and support their families every day, and you can do something to help them.” It’s important to remember that there are people outside your reality, people who have different experiences from you. But also that you can help.

DC: Would you recommend MSEC to other students?

RG: Yes I would. I would not give up the experiences that I had for anything.

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