For those of you planning to study abroad, I have a few tips for you that I wish someone would have told me before I embarked on my Dominican journey.
1) Go out as much as you can. You won’t remember being tired in class the next morning, but you WILL remember all the fun nights in the discotecas and bars.
2) Make as many local friends as possible. They act as the perfect tour guide, are wonderful people, and generally help your cause if the police come around.
3) Try and have a local boo-thang that doesn’t speak your native language. You’ll be forced to practice and you get to have a little fling, too!
4) Always carry a little more cash than you need when going out. You never know if your card will get declined or if you’ll need a taxi in a pinch.
5) If you’re staying with a host family, and they’re the type, make as strong of a bond with them as you can. There’s a reason they decided to host students in the first place!
6) Carry your camera with you everywhere. Take videos of what seems “normal”. Trust me, once you go home you’ll be glad you captured the everyday moments as well as the supreme photo ops of your time abroad.
7) Don’t take it personally when people can’t understand what you’re saying. Just slow the sentence down, and try again.
8) Follow your instinct. If something or someone seems fishy, they probably are.
9) Be ready to experience some anti-Americanism. Confront it calmly and passively (even if it kills you on the inside, like it did me!). The last thing you need is a quarrel with someone who is so close-minded to think that any American they encounter stands up to all the standards (or lack thereof) set by the media they have consumed. If it be the case, be nice so you can prove them wrong.
10) Watch your finances. Don’t let the exchange rate (even if it’s in your favor) get to your head.
11) ENJOY IT! It is a unique life experience and will change you for the better!
I will be leaving this amazing country in less than three weeks.
I have never been less ready to go home and more ready to see my family at the same time.
The hardest part about leaving your comfort zone is that anticipation/anxiety/flood of questions/fear of the unknown that washes over you as you approach its outer ring.
But the second your foot crosses over that invisible line, it’s like you’ve been bathed in this beautiful and silent peace. And in that peace you realize that that line is something you created for yourself and it only ever existed inside the shadows of your mind.
I’ll be honest, I had never really heard of International Women’s Day until I met my housemate, Anna. She has taught me so much about womanhood, and helped me realize that I cherish that part of myself much more than I had ever considered.
Anyway, I just wanted to write this post out now so that I would never forget how today was. Here, the holiday is WAY bigger of a deal than where I’m from in the States. I had friends, host family, and staff at the restaurant we frequent all give me “felicidades” today and how they’re thankful that women are a part of their lives.
And that made me think of my mom. I called her up all the way in South Cackalacky, and thanked her for being such a positive and strong example of what it means to be a woman on Earth today. We shared a moment of happy tears, then talked about various parts of our weeks.
I am very thankful that God made me a woman, that he chose that for me. It is such a unique, challenging, and rewarding gift all at the same time. As I saw on a friend’s Facebook post earlier today…
Here’s to great women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
Spent my Friday hiking through the mountains and jumping off of waterfalls! As you can probably tell by the title, there were 27 jumps we could do. Some were chiquitos while others were insane—25 feet high! So thrilling! I couldn’t take my camera with me as it is not waterproof, but I still have the movie in my mind to treasure. To give y’all an idea of how my day was, I have pasted a Googled image of someone else’s adventure in 27 Charcos.
And another thing, ¡feliz día internacional de la mujer!