Two summers ago, I participated in one of the most rewarding experiences of my life: Milton’s Spanish exchange. Well beyond visiting a new city with a foreign culture and language, my favorite part of the experience was the deep relationships I formed with my host family and the students from El Pilar. These relationships became so strong because of the respect, openness, and excitement we showed for each others’ perspectives and how willing we were to share and learn. I hope to have a similar experience on this trip, one where I can connect meaningfully with the people we meet in the D.R. through conversation, music, and dance. Music and dance are such vibrant and fun ways to connect with a new place and make memories trying all the new experiences that the place has to offer. I want to take in as much of Dominican culture as possible, and I hope in turn I can share my own experience and perspective in an appropriate and meaningful way. I’m really excited to talk to as many people as possible, and I hope I leave the D.R. having heard stories and participated in conversations that change my thinking in some way and expand my understanding of culture, language, anthropology, and life in general.
As well as taking away valuable memories, I hope to bring with me an unwavering enthusiasm and energy for exploration. I want to be positive and kind to everyone we meet as well as to the members of our group. I’d like to listen well during activities and take reflection seriously, as well as bring fun and silliness to the times in between. I want to spend time with everyone in the group and make sure we all bond together so everyone feels welcome and comfortable. Above all, I want to improve my speaking skills, and I really want to get better at saying the “rr” sound. I’m so excited!!!