Dos Mundos Opens the World to Students
Senior Johanna Minyetty spent her Two Worlds travel year abroad in the Dominican Republic. Here, she stands in “Parque de la Catedral,” during a visit to the Zona Colonial in the capital city of Santo Domingo. (Photo courtesy of Minyetty)
By Kenna Caprio
students have a habit of taking up residence at tables in the Student
Union Building and Dickinson Hall on the Metropolitan Campus and lining
them with goodies for sale. For their Valentine’s Day fundraiser, the
table was awash in pink and red, with chocolates, teddy bears and other
treats on display. The money raised defrays travel expenses for students
preparing to study abroad for the year.
Dos Mundos — or
“Two Worlds” — students travel abroad starting their sophomore year,
spending either one or two years abroad at an international partner
university. The rest of their education is completed on Fairleigh
Dickinson University’s Metropolitan Campus.
educating students for the world and are dedicated to the preparation of
world citizens through global education,” says Lisetty “Liz” Nigrinis,
director of the Two Worlds Program and assistant director for global
partnerships. While abroad, “they do internships, learn a new language
and culture and become acquainted with youth from different
Together with late University president J.
Michael Adams, Nigrinis pioneered the program, which graduated its first
students in 2011. Additional start up assistance came from Kenneth
Vehrkens, dean of Petrocelli College and Irwin “Rick” Isquith, professor
of biological science and then-executive director for global
“The Two Worlds Program began as part of an
effort to connect or reconnect students of Latin American ancestry with
their heritage countries,” says Jason Scorza, vice provost for
The program has since expanded to include more study abroad options in Central America, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia.
“There’s such diversity in the choices — from Italy to Puerto Rico,” says freshman Harue Ramos, 18, of Paterson, N.J.
Worlds students Ana Laura Garaicoa, Stephanie Rodriguez and Anerys De
Leon and director Liz Nigrinis (second from left) sell Valentine's
goodies earlier this semester. Their next fundraiser is a dance at Union
City High School from 6-9:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26. Call Nigrinis
for details at 201-692-2392.
Currently, 52 students are
enrolled in Two Worlds, with 30 slated to travel in the fall of 2013.
Most students are recruited by Nigrinis, who visits area high schools
and pitches the program.
Some students apply because of their
parents. “Parents want them to go back to the community and share their
heritage. But mostly, they apply because it’s about being worldly
outside of the United States,” says Nigrinis.
As she studies in
Spain, Ramos wants to become more “well-rounded in every aspect and just
learn a different way of thinking and doing things.” She expects that
after spending a year abroad, she’ll stand out from other students,
making her into a “stronger job candidate.”
an 18-year-old freshman from Paterson, N.J. who’s headed to the
Dominican Republic, compares preparing to travel abroad for a year to
“taking that step to move out of your parents’ house.” In other words,
it’s a lot of responsibility.
“Studying abroad taught me the
real meaning of independence,” says 21-year-old senior Johanna Minyetty
of Union City, N.J. Minyetty spent her time abroad at Pontificia
Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic.
those students in the Two Worlds program who are about to travel
abroad: never be afraid to take risks,” says Minyetty. “Be open-minded
and always be willing to learn something new.”
her own future, Minyetty feels excited and encouraged that the program
opens up more employment opportunities to her.
employees are in high demand,” says Minyetty. “Having cross-cultural
skills is a critical skill for today’s students.”
Two Worlds already opens up new experiences to the students, even before their travel year.
world is changing very quickly and every year the world is closer to
becoming a global community. Having understanding of and openness to
other cultures can help you,” says Two Worlds senior Dominic Weaver, 22,
of Clifton, N.J.
Working toward a BAIS, a Bachelor of Arts
in Individualized Studies, students concentrate on business; hotel,
restaurant, and tourism management; business, communications and applied
technology; information technology; electrical engineering; biology;
psychology; criminal justice or forensics. Some opt to add a Latin
American studies, Spanish culture, European studies, Korean studies, or
Judaic studies component to their course of study as well.
at FDU has been the best decision I ever made. FDU has made me a
more-mature, well-rounded individual. It has taught me real and
unexpected lessons and I will always be thankful,” says Minyetty.
FDU and the Two Worlds program added two new overseas partners to its
study abroad options — Galen University in Belize and the Universidad
Católica de Santiago De Guayaquil in Ecuador. The university also offers
this exchange in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Germany, Israel,
Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Spain and Turkey.
“It has become
clear to us that other students are interested in having an immersive
international learning experience, so we have expanded the Two Worlds
program. We are having preliminary discussions with potential partners
in Malaysia and India,” says Scorza.
Nigrinis also has
designs to grow the program by admitting College at Florham students;
she anticipates the first Two Worlds student will study at Florham in
the fall of 2013. “We’re working on the logistics,” she says.
For more information or to apply to Two Worlds, contact Nigrinis at 201-692-2392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.