Reflections on the Dominican Republic
by Sierra Hobby
My study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic was an informative, eye opening, and humbling experience. One thing that I received as a result of this experience was a deeper appreciation for the education in the United States. In the United States, we struggle to provide a quality education for every person while the people of the Dominican Republic receive poor education as a whole. Many lecturers brought up the fact that in America our education quality was greater and the Dominican Republic's quality of education was seriously lacking. Another thing I noted was the obstacles the people there have in receiving their education. One college graduate discussed obstacles that college students go through such as driving hours away to attend a class that they need or how students couldn't attend class for the semester due to social issues such as protest. Another thing that I learned was that colorism is prevalent in this country. We learned about the dictator Trujillo and the time when Haiti ruled over the island and how this has impacted the views of the Dominican Republic. In the Dominican Republic it's more favorable to be of a lighter complexion and to have the qualities of the stereotypical Spanish person. One example of this is seen in the women of this country where they spend hours in salons every week getting their hair done to appear straight. Usually, natural hair and curls are frowned upon because that shows that a person has African heritage. Overall, I learned that access to quality education in the Dominican Republic needs major improvement and that colorism is prevalent throughout the country. This journey has opened my eyes to opportunities I have been afforded as an American and helped me understand the inequities seen in education throughout the world.