My First Class and Dominican Birthday

On Tuesday I had my first day of class in the DR. Luckily there are a couple of other study abroad students in my class so I didn’t have to get there alone (this school is the hardest to get to and the farthest away). We left at 7:30 am – giving ourselves an hour and a half to get there. We walked up to one of the main streets where we could catch a guagua—we stood there for a few minutes shooing away full guaguas that were trying to get us to squeeze in until we found one that could fit us. This guagua took us across town to another large street where we could catch a different guagua that would take us farther north and drop us off right next to the university. We arrived at the university with 45 minutes to spare—the commute wasn’t nearly as confusing or long as we thought it would be…phew!

The class that I am taking at this university is Dominican Migrations—we’re going to be learning about Dominicans who leave the DR (mostly for the US) and those who are coming into the DR (mostly Haitians). My class is on the larger side for the college—maybe around 40 people (this is the largest class I’ll be in while here). My professor seems very nice, smart, and interesting and has had exchange students in her classes before (she seems to know to speak a little slower so we can follow!). Since it is a large class and it might be hard for everyone to participate our grades are going to be based around a few quizzes/tests and maybe a final paper—which is what we were told to expect from most Dominican classes (apparently it’s not uncommon for your ENTIRE grade to be based off of ONE final exam…ahh!). I think my main challenge with this class is going to be understanding the other students when they talk in class—they talk SO fast!

Tuesday afternoon after class we learned that tropical storm Emily would be coming through Santo Domingo—for the next 2 days we were told not to leave our house in case the storm got really bad. In the end we just ended up getting a lot of rain and it was a bit cooler than usual (a nice change!)…so we had to stay inside for nothing! …though it gave me a change to spend some time playing with my host brother—we did some drawing together, watched Finding Nemo in Spanish, made a paper racetrack and raced cars…I also got a chance to get to know some of the kids who live in the apartment complex and learned a bunch of Spanish clapping games (and I taught them “quack diddly oh so”, which they love!)

Wednesday was my birthday—I woke up to my host mom taping signs that said happy birthday to my door! A group of kids who live in the apartment complex made me a card and in the evening they all came over to eat cake and sing happy birthday with my family and me! It was a laid back but nice birthday :)

My host brother and the little girl (Elisa) who lives downstairs eating birthday cake


The card the kids made me

My door

My host mom serving up my birthday cake

My apartment (kitchen is to the right, and the bedrooms are the doors you can see in the back)