Reflections on the Dominican Republic
by Sydney Green
My time in the Dominican Republic taught me a lot, as well as confirmed a lot of the cultural norms that I was able to learn before coming. Throughout the trip we were able to meet so many people from all different backgrounds. Anny, our tour guide, is a nurse, 911 employee, and an international college coordinator. Brady, our student tour guide, is a student in the Dominican Republic studying hospitality. Luis, our waiter, is a student at a university studying education; he works two jobs, and has a young son. Elisette, our other tour guide, is very sweet and accommodating towards everyone. Miguel gave us a tour of the city, and he is a very popular person in the city; he is also a lawyer. Wilson, our bus driver, doesn't speak English, but I was able to learn where he's from and what he likes from the little bit of Spanish I know. Carlos, a local student, is studying finance, but as his time in college comes to an end he still feels confused on what he wants to do with his life and essentially where he stands in the world especially not knowing his African culture. Natalie, a college student works at the drop-in center for youth on the street in Santiago. From getting to know these individuals, I have learned about how different and complex Dominican culture is in their country. I've learned how collective the DR is versus the United States' individualistic ways. My time in the Dominican Republic has taught me that individuals from two different worlds and even opposing countries can come together. It just takes time, love, and the passion to unit individuals. If I had to choose one thing that I got from the Dominican Republic, it's that it all starts with education. Education is such as integral component of the world today. Individuals need to know their past to understand their future. Individuals need to know their ancestry to understand their culture, and ultimately their place in this world. As I go back to America, I promise to take a little bit of everyone with me: Anny's happiness, Brady's caring heart, Luis' determination, Elisette's compassion, Miguel's charm, Wilson's friendliness, Carlos' curiosity, and Natalie's willingness to help others.