Reflections on the Dominican Republic
by Cariah Cox
I was honored with the opportunity to study abroad for the first time in Dominican Republic, studying higher education with emphasis on access, equity, and opportunity. Being that I was the first person in my family to go out the country, in the beginning it was an uneasy experience; I had no one to ease my fears. Nevertheless, with tremendous assistance and encouragement of the trip's faculty, I was given more than enough support to prosper while studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, which I did.
In the Dominican Republican, I had the opportunity to explore a new culture, learn Dominican history, inspect their education system, and overcame indulging with others even when language barriers are present. The Dominican food by far was a culture shock for me, as I am a traditional American eater. However, I did expand upon my comfort zone to try new foods, and more often than not it was delicious. In regard to the Dominican history, the Mirabal Sisters stood out to me the most. They were resilient women who stood up for education, women, and human rights in a time where the culture was content with adhering to the unjust powers of President Trujillo. The education system in the Dominican Republic presents access barriers. Those of lower economic standings are unable to receive the proper education they need due to a lack of resources. Those who do get the opportunity to attend school are granted the opportunity to partake in a polytechnic education system which allows the students to leave high school with a specific trade of their choice. College in the Dominican Republic is less expensive than in American. Also, the students receive degrees in a shorter time period than Americans because they don't have to take as many general education classes. Dancing, merengue, bachata, and/or salsa, was a way language barriers were conquered while studying abroad. Dancing allowed for two different cultures to come together and have fun without any verbal communication.
Studying abroad in the Dominican Republic was a great experience that I will forever be grateful for. Being given the opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime experience at a fairly low cost is glorifying. In all, the opportunity to studying abroad has showed me how privileged Americans are, including myself, and that materialistic things mean nothing without experiences.
Best advice/words of wisdom from the trip: “You have to conquer loneliness in order to achieve success.” – Dr. Moore