Hi everyone or should as say que lo que as the islanders greet each other here in the Dominican Republic. Officially one week has gone by in my stay here in the Dominican Republic and it has gone by in the blink of an eye. Currently, I am in Santiago de los Caballeros attending Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in a Community Public Health Program through CIEE where I will be learning all about the health care system here as well as taking part in the spread of public health knowledge by interacting with the communities themselves through clinical rotations.
Thus far, my week has consisted of orientation activities which include touring the city and seeing all the historic and artistic sites, familiarizing myself with the PUCMM campus along with the classrooms my lectures will be in, and getting to know our host families a bit better. We got a special performance from the natives who danced in their traditional garb that is worn during the month of February when they celebrate their Carnival. I was really appreciative that they took their time to perform for us and teach us about their culture and traditions. They were pretty excited to see los Americanos as they referred to us from the United States.
Given that it is extremely hot and humid here in the Dominican Republic since it is in the Caribbean, all of the classrooms at PUCMM have some kind of ventilation system. A few of them have air conditioning, but the majority have several fans. I think that getting adjusted to the heat has been by far the hardest part about my study abroad program so far. It has been difficult, but then I think to myself that I am lucky to be staying in a home with my host family who have a nice ventilation system, but in many part of the country people don’t have access to clean water, let alone fans or air conditioning. It really puts many things into perspective because this is only temporary for me, but it is other people’s reality.
I cannot wait to begin my full week of classes and clinical rotations tomorrow. I have gotten a glimpse of what Dominican life is like, but I excited to interact more with different communities here in Santiago and see how they live.
Until next time,