So a year ago this time I went to a study abroad fair at my school, learned about a program in the Dominican Republic that matched my educational goals, found out my school would not pay for it via financial aid, and received the support of my advisors (Faculty and staff) who encouraged me to write and proposal to receive funding. It is sometimes hard to imagine that I am actually in the Dominican Republic learning and I am not regretting one second of it. Every morning I wake up and it takes me about a second or two to remember that I am in the Dominican Republic. Of course I miss my family and friends but this is turning out to be one of my greatest experiences so far. I have been here for exactly thirty days, matter of fact while I am writing this my plane was preparing to land in the airport in Santiago. I have learned so much already about the Dominican Republic and its people that would not be possible if I had just read a book. Surprisingly all the advice that my Spanish would get better after a month is true, I can definitely see the difference with my level of confidence improving and my desire to get better. Also being a Jamaican this is such a great experience because I get to learn more about a neighboring country. The countries are so close but are separated from each other not only by language but by transportation (seriously who ever decides to make a truly inter-Caribbean airline would end up making a lot of money). There are several similarities between the two countries such as the power Christianity has in both as well as the similarities in the food (cassava, yam, plantain, etc.). However, the differences are what really make the Caribbean in general so interesting. For one, Jamaicans and ackee go hand in hand while here it just grows on the tree and people don’t really eat it. (Something I learned today that the cactus Nopal which in Jamaica is called tuna is also called tuna here ¡Qué Cheveré!). This trip has only really just begun and I already have a better understanding of the world we live in. I love the Caribbean and not because of it’s pristine beaches and its cerulean blue waters (they are amazing!) but because there is such a diversity among its peoples and their cultures. Having many friends from various islands such as T&T, DR, PR, Haiti, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia, I always knew that our cultures were unique but studying just in the Dominican Republic and seeing how Dominicans and Haitians are different but to me still are a part of the Caribbean and share some similarities. I can say after one month in another country where they do not speak my native tongue I have learned a lot more about the diversity of the people of our planet that is not possible even in such a melting pot place such as the United States. I look forward to what I uncover by the end of these four months. Well until next time.
Peace and love,