A Home Away From Home

As Kyle and Josh mentioned in the previous entry, we met our host families for the first time on Sunday, January 10. For most of us, these upcoming days will be like nothing we’ve ever experienced, living under another person’s roof as someone’s son or daughter.

We arrived at our apartments and received hearty meals from our parents, physically energizing us after a long day of touring Santo Domingo. Our work wasn’t done though: some students have parents that speak exclusively Spanish, presenting a formidable language barrier to overcome. However, the students who speak very little to no Spanish live together with other students who act as interpreters and translators, allowing for good communication.

Actions transcend languages, and our host families made perfectly clear how cherished we were from the first night. When we didn’t finish our dinner or breakfast, they would frown with concern, worrying about whether or not we liked the food. They walked us to FLACSO for our first day for our future reference and provided us keys, giving us the flexibility to come and go on our own terms.

We were comforted to know that our host parents had prior experience with caring for US college students. Rest assured, they know exactly how high maintenance we are! Most of the parents are also friends with each other, so we know we’ll spend time together outside of class. We’ve been provided with a fantastic network of support from everyone, insuring our safety and wellbeing.

Our parents are very hospitable and outgoing, demanding that we bring our friends to visit. They supply us with the essentials: meals, a place to sleep, and a roof over our heads. If there’s ever anything we need, they go out of their way to help. We aren’t permitted to do anything: our only responsibility is to be happy.

Kyle McNeese smiling in anticipation to meet his host family.
A typical Dominican apartment. Very homely!
Students' reaction when their host mother places a delicious plate of food in front of them every morning and night. (Image taken at local museum)