Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Latin American Studies

Reader 1

April Mayes

Reader 2

David Divita

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Rights Information

© 2013 Jenny Miner

Abstract

Haitian university students represent a part of the increasing diversity of Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic. Using an ethnographic approach, I explore university students’ motivations for studying in the Dominican Republic, their experiences at Dominican universities and in Dominican society, Haitian student organizations, and their future plans. Additionally, I focus on Haitian students’ experiences with discrimination and how they relate to other Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic. I find that most students come to the Dominican Republic due to the difficulty of gaining entrance to affordable Haitian universities and logistical convenience. The university is a unique setting where Haitian and Dominican students are clearly peers, which results in increased interactions between the two groups and decreased discrimination towards Haitian students. However, Haitian students remain a relatively isolated group within the university and in the larger Dominican society. Many students reported experiencing discrimination, although students identified class, rather than race or nationality, as the main reason for discrimination. Furthermore, I focused on the role of language in migrants’ experiences. I found that while a high command of Spanish allowed migrants to avoid identification as Haitian and subsequent discrimination, Kreyòl was used as a resource to create solidarity and maintain cultural ties to Haiti. My research suggests that it is important to keep in mind the distinct notions of race and nationality in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic when considering contemporary struggles for the rights of Haitian migrants and their descendants in the Dominican Republic.