Day One

Estamos aqui! Our first day of instruction was today, however our learning experiences began as soon as we arrived at the Santo Domingo airport. Upon arriving at the airport we were met with a sea of residents waiting for the arrivals of their loved ones. I thought I was up to par on my Spanish, however when I was trying to ask a restaurant employee ‘what do you like?’ I mistakenly asked him ‘what do you want?’ It was my first encounter with a local and I blew it. Luckily he could tell that I am not from here and laughed it off. In that experience the first lesson I learned was to think before I speak, especially when trying to speak Spanish!

We were welcomed by the beautiful shores of the Atlantic Ocean while we traveled to the Instituto Intercultural de Caribe (the school that is hosting us). On our way I saw so many establishments, mostly for “repuestos” or spare car parts. One thing that was immediately shocking was the style of driving here. There appears to be no right-of-way expectation among drivers. You get in where you fit in, quite literally. Personally, I like the edginess of the roadways. It’s different from Atlanta in that if you cut someone off, you are likely to be met with a series of aggressive honks, however in Santo Domingo it’s like an even-tempered race between all the drivers, and they are all really good at it! Road signs and stop lights are at a minimum here and I still have not seen a speed limit sign, but somehow the traffic flows maybe not seamlessly, but effortlessly to say the least. After arriving at the school, were taught how to make a traditional Dominican dish called San Cocho! San Cocho is a soup containing yuca, plantains, corn, onions, chicken, and pork; It was so yummy!


Fun fact: You do not flush toilet paper down the toilet in Santo Domingo! Instead, you toss it in the trash.

Today we were privileged to have introductory Spanish classes. I have a few years of beginner Spanish under my belt, so I was able to be in the advanced class. What we learned was so helpful. Our “maestra” reinforced concepts like irregular verb conjugations, emotions, and interrogative pronouns, that will help us in communicating with our host families and others we will encounter. Our teacher only spoke in Spanish to us, which further facilitated our learning experience and by the end of it we were all so thankful.