Abigail Lyons, Dominican Republic
This past summer, I spent six weeks in the Dominican Republic, with Professor Serrata.(The faculty-led program)
I stayed with a host family in Santo Domingo, which is the capital of the DR, and my host mom was amazing! She always answered any questions I had and she also made the most amazing food! I had a two year old host brother, who I spent most of the days racing cars or coloring with. He never failed to make me smile! In addition to taking two classes, the other girls in my group and I had the pleasure of taking dance lessons. We also volunteered once a week at a school and orphanage, where we got to create a patio as well as painted the school. We went on excursions each weekend to different parts of the country, such as Santiago and Samana. We hiked up mountains, swam down waterfalls, and went to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
I'm sure every study abroad student feels this way, but this experience truly changed my life. Going to the Dominican Republic was like stepping into a new world. I learned a lot about myself, as well as experiencing a different culture. I am so much more appreciative of the amazing support system I have, as well as what great opportunities I have, such as being a student at GVSU. Also, I believe the connections I've made with my host family as well as with friends in the Dominican helped teach me the power of friendship and kindness. Finally, I believe immersing myself in the Dominican culture allowed me to understand the Spanish language so much more, and I am definitely more confident in my speaking and listening skills. Whenever anyone mentions they might want to study abroad, I immediately start encouraging them to go. Now that I have lived my dream of studying abroad, I hope everyone who even has the slightest urge to explore another country takes the opportunity. I think about my experience abroad everyday, and I am always missing the amazing country of the Dominican Republic.