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Week 2: Santo Domingo

The second week has brought new challenges, bonding opportunities, experiences, and more. So much more of the culture has sunken in, and I feel as if it has become a part of me. My experiences at my new home have been phenomenal because of how much love and care im receiving from my Doña. So much of what I'm doing here has become so a part of my routine that I wish I could continue it all when I get back!

working with the kids

 I will say the structure and routines of my host house is quite different from that of my home in New York City, but it is certainly fun in its own way. Back home, I usually have all three meals together with my family, but that's only the case for lunch here. Lunch, or La Bandera as the locals call it, is the biggest meal of the day and also when the entire family comes together. However, more often than not, breakfast and dinner is eaten separately. I felt disconnected from my host family at first due to this, but after a while I realized that the grand time we all spend together during lunch makes up for it. Other than that, I actually found many similarities between my host family and my actual family, such as how much everyone cares for each other.

La bandera

My host mom is literally the epitome of optimism, happiness and positivity is always radiating from her. She really loves sharing and taking me to her family run food truck. Her two sons and husband also live at home and I often see them during La Bandera. They're always so interested in my life back home and it's so easy to keep conversations flowing with them. They've all cared for me so much in these past two weeks, I feel like I'm part of their family myself.

I don't have anything too special that I would like to take home from here, as of now, but what I would like to take home is definitely the food. Although it's mostly the same everyday, I enjoy it all so much. Rice and beans, habichuela, mangu, and fried plantations are just some dishes that I loved a lot and hope to bring back home. The food is similar to the type of food I have back at home anyways, so everyone should be able to enjoy it!

My day to day schedule is pretty packed! It usually starts with me waking up past my alarm and rushing out the door after having a quick breakfast at 8:00 in the morning. From there I walk to the CIEE study center from which we all depart on our bus to get to our service site. We work at a school in Don Bosco, where Im engaged with a group of 7 year olds, helping out in the classroom. We usually dance, play games, and do arts and crafts among other things until 12 in the afternoon. Afterwards we get back and I have lunch with my host family until 2 PM. After that, I go back to the study center and we all do some group activities until 5. Class is dismissed then, and we are left to do whatever we want! I usually go to a free Zumba class with a group of friends or Uber to an interesting place to enjoy the night (Uber fares are usually around 2 US Dollars!!).

All in all, the second week has been easier than the first because everything is slowly settling in. I'm getting used to the environment and culture more and more each day and every day brings new and exciting experiences. I'm all buckled and ready for the last week, and I'm hoping to end the program on a positive note!

playing vitilla
beach day

-Ayan R.

'Global Navigator Voices' is a collection of blog articles and pictures by our very own high school study abroad participants. Follow their adventures before, during, and after their experiences abroad!