Monday, March 10, 2014

Departure from the Dominican Republic - reflection on service andexperience

To end each day while on our trip, we had group reflection.  Most days, everyone shared a highlight of their day, leading to deeper conversations about our work and purpose here.  Many would mention small interactions with students or other Dominicans which often went overlooked by the group.  This reflection, while not the favorite part of the trip for most students (how can it compete with the beach?) was a key component of the learning to go along with our service.  This trip was not simply a week a and then back to our everyday lives.  All of us will take lessons learned in our own experience with us back home.  

As we wrapped up our experience on the Dominican Republic on Saturday, we asked everyone what lessons they have learned while living for a week on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.  Below are their responses. 

Johanna- The importance of living in the moment.

David- Happiness it not about money, it is something you cannot purchase. Happiness is about enjoying your life, whatever life you have.  Being grateful of what you have.

Derek- life is what you make it.  Many in the DR do not have "much" yet are a lot happier than Americans.

Claudia- I enjoyed learning more about the Dominican culture.  I also really liked talking with the high school students from Abreu and teaching English.

Carley- You can communicate with people no matter what language you speak. 

Siqi- everyone is capable of making a change 

Molly - it is possible to make a significant connection with someone in a short amount of time even without speaking the same language. 

Aurderic- to value all the goods and opportunity that I have in my everyday life. 

Mingyu- it is difficult yet rewarding to live outside of my comfort zone. Also, I need to learn Spanish. 

Connor- things can always be worse than you have.  Putting yourself in someone else's schools is extremely valuable. 

Max- it is fun to be a teacher in the ESL classes.

George- speaking a similar language is not necessary to make a new friend.

Elizabeth- be happy and live with a smile even if I don't have what I want.

Mr. Schwab- it is amazing how quickly we can adapt to our surroundings and feel comfortable in an unfamiliar situation. 

Dempsey- appreciate the little things, like being able to flush toilet paper. 

Dori- we are too materialistic and it is not worth it to stress over material things. 

Hayden- Happiness is a decision. 

We had an incredible experience during Project Week!  

For additional photos follow @jonathan_schwab and @mcolleenbrown

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