Today was our last day of classes and students gave their final presentations. At the beginning of the program, students were divided into three different classes based on their language skills before coming to Santiago. On the first day of classes, there was a lot of nervous energy because no one really know what to expect and they were anxious about having classes for 4 hours just about Spanish! However, by the time their receso rolled around at 10AM, they came out of classes bursting with energy and telling their peers in the other classes what they'd been learning and doing all morning.
Fast forward to today, and there was a slightly different kind of nervous energy. The students have been looking forward to going home and seeing their families and friends, but there's also a sweet sadness leaving behind (host) families and friends that they've made here in Santiago. The class I worked with this week had gotten a gift for their instructor and they all wrote him thank you cards (some even in Spanish!). Another class received a yummy bizcocho from their instructor, while the other gave their instructor a card with a drawing done by one of the students.
Below are some of the reactions and memories that students shared with me about their Spanish Language and Culture classes and instructors.
Tranna: I enjoyed learning new vocabulary the most in the class. Rubén (my instructor) helped me learn so much Spanish words and in his class I felt confident. He also taught us a lot of phrases, allowing us to have many laughs and bond in class. The class was a great experience and I am very grateful.
Maddie: My favorite phrase I learned in my class was estoy bromeando (I'm joking) because I never would have learned that in a Spanish class in America because it's more of a thing that is used by native speakers and I thought it was really funny and fun.
Alexa: I loved everything about my class but most of all I loved the environment of the classroom. We all just created this connection right away that I can't explain. Everyday was a new day of learning crazy things and teaching Rubén things about the US too. Every bad morning was turned around the second I walked into that class.
MyAja: What I'll remember most about our class is how Rubén would be so amazed at all the things we were able to teach him every day while he taught us.
Adeja: I learned quite a few phrases in my class that I like: no recuerdo , olvídalo, quítate, machuca/manso, no te importa.
Maura: I'm going to miss my teacher and my classmates. Señora Sandra always had fun games and she made learning Spanish easier.
Ananya: My favorite thing about class was probably the activities that we did. To immerse ourselves in the theme of the week, we completed many activities. For the theme of culture, we listened to all types of music and danced in the different styles of the DR.
Jaide: Level 2 was only girls and we had the best teacher, she made learning fun. My favorite project was the last one. We had to write about what we wanted to do before we left or before we turned 30, describe photos of our trip, make a personal statement for our future, write examples of what changed for us before and after we came, and write an email of why someone else should do this program. I realized how much more comfortable I was and how much I improved since the beginning of this program.
Omarrah: What I am going to remember most about my class is the girl power and the laughter in the classroom. Sandra was always loving and very SPICY! She challenged us in everything we did. We were 7 strong ladies who had someone to nurture us, our Dominican mom.
Cat: What I will always remember about class is that every day was different. Our teacher was able to make our activities fun and every day I was able to add to the list of new words.
Jena: One of my favorite moments from class was the day we talked about music. We got to each go up and play our favorite song on the computer, and we just sang along. Then we played bachata and Sandra gave us a little lesson. So we were all just singing and dancing around the aula and it felt very Dominican. :)
Mikayla: I loved how easily we bonded in Level 2. The best thing about my class was that every second was filled with pure joy and that there was never a dull moment.
Rebecca: My favorite project in class was the photo album at the end of the trip where we compiled our favorite memories from the trip and shared them with the class.
David: What I'll miss most are the people and the fun activities we did.
Delphine: My favorite thing about Spanish class here is that it was more informal so it was easier to ask clarifying questions and learn Dominican slang words.
Alondra: My favorite presentation was of when we had our projects of a partner and get to know them because it was a way to break the barrier with everyone and get close to your partner.
Brandon: My favorite thing about Spanish class was that we learned about Dominican culture just as much as the language! It was definitely a different and incomparable experience to typical Spanish class in the US.
Albina: The most memorable thing about the class were the projects. I believe the projects showed so much of everyone's personality. The way people presented themselves or the topics they chose to do spoke about their individualities so much. I loved getting to know them through the language, the pictures and the design they used.