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CRIM 425: Organized Crime in Curaçao
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Kimberly Martinez

Liberal Arts Major(s): Political Science
Minor: French, History
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part would have to be meeting the locals and going to Funditut, an organization that assists juveniles, including gang members. I loved seeing the rich culture Curaçao had to offer. It was truly amazing seeing how the people knew how to speak four languages so naturally and how lively the people were. I was able to use my Spanish to speak to different groups, especially those who came from Spanish countries, and figure out why they left. Funditut is also a type of rehabilitation for juveniles, meant to give them work skills to prevent them from going back to prison. It was interesting meeting the men and seeing how this organization recognized that this is a lifelong journey, especially since there are circumstances that cause bad actions. Many times these juveniles grow up with a single parent or in poverty. They do not have a support system, so they join gangs. Funditut tríes to offer opportunities while recognizing that a person can not stop a habit in two months.

In the end, [this experience] broadened my understanding of the different experiences of people and made me more interested in crime

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience showed the importance of diversity and languages. It showed crime in Curaçao. We got to learn the history of Curaçao, which was a colonized island. Nowadays, people are very diverse and speak a lot of languages, which makes Curaçao different from other countries nearby. They have a mixture of cultures and have to work with different languages. This emphasized the importance of languages because they are able to experience different cultures because of their knowledge. These languages are learned from a young age. It really pushed me to keep learning different languages. In addition, I was able to see crime in Curaçao. We visited the police and coast guards who told us of difficulties they have with gangs and immigration. I was able to see how Venezuela is impacting the small island, since Curaçao is right next to it. People are fleeing Venezuela in large numbers for opportunities.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

This experience definitely impacted my career goals. I am looking at careers outside of the United States. The course exposed me to different careers that were truly interesting like being a coast guard or starting an organization like Funditut. In the end, it broadened my understanding of the different experiences of people and made me more interested in crime. The reasons why people choose to do illegal activities are to join criminal organizations are really complex. I am really interested in why people do certain things or join groups like gangs.

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