Correspondent Spotlight: Lindsay Tatum Santo Domingo, June 11, 2012
Lindsay will be performing an internship in the legal department at la Universal de Seguros, and collaborating with a number of other public and legal institutions in the process.
InteRDom Internships in the Dominican Republic is excited to introduce Lindsay Tatum, a second-year law student at the University of Georgia School of Law and an InteRDom Correspondent for 2012 summer programs.
Lindsay will be performing an internship in the legal department at la Universal de Seguros, and collaborating with a number of other public and legal institutions in the process. She is participating in the Summer 2012 Graduate and Gap Year Program through an agreement with the University of Georgia School of Law’s Global Internship Program, and through the Correspondent Program she will post bi-weekly blogs about her internship experience, her daily life in the Dominican Republic and her ideas and impressions about the Dominican culture. Her experience will serve as a point of reference for future participants in the Global Internship Program who are deciding where would be the best location to undertake a law internship.
Upon her return to the University of Georgia, she will serve as an ambassador of the country and the program for other law students interested in traveling to the Dominican Republic for the Global Internship Program. Read more about how the Correspondent Program helps students boost their resumes in the areas of Communications, Marketing and Public Relations, here.
Lindsay grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia and has lived there all of her life. In addition to her current law studies, she holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University and a Master’s in International Affairs from Florida State. An avid shoe collector, Lindsay has recently taken up sewing as a hobby and is working on her first dress. In addition to a previous week-long trip to the Dominican Republic, she has also studied in Great Britain.
Q: Why did you decide to participate in the Correspondent Program?
A: I decided that I wanted to participate in the Correspondent Program because I have a blog currently that I enjoy updating frequently and I think it’s a good way to let my family and friends know what exactly I am doing here in the DR, especially given that I can’t speak with them all the time.... I also thought it would be good to have some sort of experience like this to better my writing skills on traveling because I am interested in that too.
Q: How do you think the program will contribute to your academic and/or career goals?
A: In the end, I am obtaining my law degree but I definitely want to work for the government, and it’s very important to have people skills and to be able to have really good writing skills and the ability to describe situations that you are in for others to understand. So I think that this directly enhances those abilities, so being able to participate in this program will really help me in that sense.
Q: So you mentioned that you want to work for the government, but what are you specific career goals? In which area of government are you interested in working?
A: The specific field of government that I would like to work in is the State Department. I would like to become a Foreign Service Officer and eventually become an ambassador. Obviously you can see ambassadors throughout the world and they have various speaking engagements and they have to be chameleons, to be involved with the people and understand the situation that is going on there. I think that being in this program and participating in the Correspondent Program will open my eyes to seeing exactly what is going on here and how that could affect the relationship with the United States or with other countries, and how this country is growing, etc.
Q: What sparked your interest in the foreign service?
A: Well, I decided that I wanted to become a foreign service officer the first semester of law school when I realized that law wasn’t going to be the best avenue for me. I have a Master’s in International Affairs and during that program I absolutely fell in love with everything that I was doing with law related to Latin American countries… and I realized my first semester of law school that I wanted to maintain my career goals in that same direction. So one day I was surfing the internet trying to figure out what kind of job I could have that would allow me to travel abroad and to learn about different cultures and different places and even specialize in a particular area, and I came across a job in the State Department and I found that foreign service officers get placed for 2 years in a particular area and you can choose where you want to go. They have a pool of so many places and you can choose where you would like to go. I thought that would be a great opportunity for me to be able to go to a Spanish-speaking nation.
Q: Why were you interested in International Affairs?
A: My interest in International Affairs was sparked in the 5th grade. I went to a school that was very diverse. One of the things that the school boasted was that they had students from over 70 nations. I had 4 best friends: one was from Puerto Rico, one was from Vietnam, one was Jamaican and one was also from the United States. I remember being with my best friend from Puerto Rico and she used to talk in Spanish—I didn’t understand what she was saying—but she would translate telenovelas with me and from that day I fell in love and I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of. As soon as I had the opportunities to take Spanish classes, I took them head-on and I always volunteers with people who are from the Hispanic community, so since 5th grade I have had love for the Spanish culture and all that it has to offer.
Q: So you have been in the Dominican Republic before. What was your experience here and why did you want to come back?
A: I visited in 2007 to the Dominican Republic, I was doing an alternative Spring Break and I absolutely fell in love. Everyone was so nice and so helpful, everything here was so beautiful. I just felt like this—with the passion that I have for Spanish and the culture—this was a great place for me to return where I could learn more about it and get involved more directly with the culture and the people for a longer period of time than one week.
Q: Are you a member of any clubs or student organizations at your university?
A: I am a member of the Black Law Students Association. I am also a Dean’s Ambassador, which gives tours to students who are visiting the school. This past year I was on the Honor Corps… I am also a part of the International and Comparative Law Society, which is a law society that does all of the international events, we host different conferences and we bring people in to speak on topics in the international law arena.
Q: What about other activities outside of school?
A: Before I entered law school I did a lot of volunteer work. I was with the Leon County Literacy Volunteers and what we did was help individuals in Leon County, which is located in Tallahassee, Florida, where there were many immigants and when they came here they didn’t know any English. We would teach them English and teach them to read. I specifically worked with victims of domestic abuse, so I would teach them English and other things that they needed to get by on a daily basis. The women that I worked with just happened to be Hispanic women…
Q: What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
A: I would say I am funny—I think I am funny anyways. I would say I am easy-going and pretty compassionate towards others.
Q: How do you think that these qualities will contribute to helping you adjust to life in the Dominican Republic?
A: I feel like when you have humor, even if people can’t understand quite what you are saying, they see you smiling and they see you laughing and they think that you are more relatable. And I feel like the fact that I am easy-going will help me to adjust the fact that things are different here. People’s ideas and their values are slightly different from the United States, so being easy-going helps you adjust and be a chameleon in situations where things might not be exactly what you would expect them to be. And I think everyone needs a little compassion… Me being compassionate to whatever situation is going on will help people to be like, “Ok, she’s here, she’s nice, she just wants to learn about us. She doesn’t think she is better than anyone else here.” That’s all I want people to know.
Q: What was your first job?
A: My first real job was at a restaurant called Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles—I was a waitress—and I loved that job so much and I worked while I was in high school. It had such a terrible end. It was the only job I have ever gotten fired from and it was such a great job, but it was because we had gotten new management and the old management didn’t submit schedule requests to new management, so when they left, everyone’s schedule requests had to be resubmitted. So one day I had a class and I didn’t come to work and I got fired. But then they rehired me the next summer so I guess it wasn’t that bad.
Q: Is there anything else that people should know about you?
A: To know Lindsay, you should know that I am down to earth and I really love people, so if you put me in a room full of people I am going to walk out with a room full of friends.
You can follow Lindsay’s and other InteRDom Correspondents’ experiences in the Dominican Republic on the InteRDom blog. Check back frequently to learn of all of the rich learning and professional development opportunities that the Dominican Republic has to offer.
The internship program, InteRDom, an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.