I knew coming into this country and not knowing any Spanish would definitely be hard. But as I settled in and realized how fast and complicated the Dominicans spoke, I knew it would be a lot harder then I had imagined. Since a majority of participants were in the same situation as me, it made me feel a lot less alone. It made meeting the group a lot easier and comfortable knowing we all had similar emotions. The program leaders were extremely sweet and welcoming. They made the cultural transition a lot easier.
A big part of our cultural exploration was spending time with our host family. Meeting our host family was a little difficult with the language barrier. But everyone in my host family is super nice and wants to make sure we are as comfortable as possible.
Little by little I try to use more and more Spanish everyday since it’s all I’m around, especially at the service site with the kids. This week we spent a lot of time exploring the Dominican culture at la Zona Colonial, Engombe Sugar Mill, and watching a documentary called Roots of Division: Dominican Republic and Haiti. Since I had a deeper understanding of Dominican culture it made me want to learn the language even more.
But we also have Spanish classes every week so we use/practice the language everyday. Actually having someone who lives in the Dominican Republic teaching me Spanish made me feel like I could adjust more. I use simple words to communicate to those who only speak Spanish and I also use hand gestures a lot. It definitely is hard sometimes but each and everyday here gets more and more exciting as we experience the Dominican Republic.