Throughout this experience I have found a love for traveling and experiencing a new culture, as well as teaching students with a different language and background than my own. This trip has been a huge learning lesson for me. I have overcame fears, learned a new language, and developed new relationships.
The biggest impact that this trip had on me was how eating with the host families and experiencing Dominican culture has changed my outlook on life. Eating with the families made me more compassionate and helped me to view how others lived in a non-judgmental way! I've learned to accept what I have and make the most of it because seeing how others live make me very appreciative of what I have. Even when we were in the Dominican Republic and we would go back to our "luxurious" hotel I felt very thankful for living in a nice and safe area but I also felt wrong because we lived so nicely and the children and families we worked with lived in lower quality houses.
This experience made me want to give back in more ways than one. I want to give back to the families in La Cienega, the children at Tres Mariposas and to my community back home. I did this by giving time and gifts to my host family. My favorite gift to my host mother was a bilingual book that I received in Club HoLa about Spanish rights. This book was very special to me because it helped me learn Spanish and I figured it would be special to my host family because it would help her learn English. I also gave back to Tres Mariposas by spending time working with the children to teach them English through various lessons as well as creating more work for them to use in the future. Returning to Buffalo, I plan to give back to the communities I work and live in by volunteering to help children and donate as much as I can to children and families of need.
Returning home has made me realize how much I missed my families and the quality of life that I have here. I have also learned to be thankful for the little things like drinking water from the faucet, brushing my teeth from the sink, and flushing toilet paper down the toilet. These are little amenities that we take for granted because we are so used to having these things.
Once I came home from the trip, it took about a week for me to get used to musing faucet water again. The funniest experience for me after returning home was my first day of student teaching!
My mentor teacher introduced me to the class as the new teacher from class who recently came from the Dominican Republic. This made all of the students think I was Dominican! Students began to ask me all sorts of words and phrases in Spanish. It gave me a good opportunity to speak all of the Spanish I learned in the Dominican Republic!
Also, after returning I was happy to tell everyone the fun stories about my amazing experience! Thanks for reading my blog, until next time
Jasmine, a life-long learner!
"And at that moment is when I realized, this trip has changed my life forever!"