Name: Anne Birchem
Program: Short-term program in the Dominican Republic for Spanish
Term Abroad: Summer during senior year
My name is Anne Birchem and I’m a psychology major with a minor in Spanish and CAST certificate. Spending 2 weeks in the Dominican learning about the language and culture was an incredible experience! For the first week, we took classes and stayed in the capital city of Santo Domingo with host families.
We travelled to multiple museums and even to a cacao (chocolate) farm to learn about the long, intricate process of making chocolate. At the farm we had a culture exchange with students from the city who are learning English.
During the second week of the trip, we began our service project. We leveled land and poured a concrete foundation for a group of local seamstresses. They would use this pavilion to sell the beautiful items they spend hours creating.
My favorite aspect of the trip was all the positive interactions full of jokes and laughs we shared with locals. Their hospitality was second to none and they ensured we felt safe and welcomed. Not only did I learn so much Spanish on my trip to the Dominican, but I learned about their rich history and gained appreciation for a lively culture so much different from my own.
Studying abroad is nerve-racking (especially when you’re going to learn a different language!) But the experience is worth the initial discomfort. I encourage everyone to take the wonderful opportunity of studying else where to gain introspect on other places, cultures, and FOOD!