Volunteering in the Dominican Republic
Anna spent 2 months in Samaná, Dominican Republic. She worked as a volunteer in a small school with children with special needs.
I had a really great time!
I was in Samaná for 2 months and I had a really great time! Samaná is a city directly located by the sea where I worked as a volunteer in a small school with children with special needs. It was a lot of fun learning with the kids and teach them how to read and write. At the beginning it wasn‘t easy because all the children are on a different level so you can't just start working with them. Luckily you can read in the evaluation folder on which level each kid is. I really liked at school that they tried to structure things so you can work better with the kids!
At the beginning it was hard to understand the Spanish
...although I had Spanish lessons for five years in school. The Dominicans have a special accent and pronounciation but after two or three weeks I got used to it. You just have to dare to talk. And even if you don’t speak Spanish you can go to the Dominican Republic not only because you can learn very quickly but also because Spanish classes are included in the volunteer program. During the meetings we normally spoke English but understanding English wasn’t a big problem.
You're never alone!
The most important thing during my stay here was to know that I'm not alone. I was proud of the coordinators, Manfred and Julia, because whenever I had a problem they always supported me and asked if I was okay or if I needed anything. I love the community and the team spirit we had no matter in which situation. Whatever you want to do for example on the weekends you can just tell them and there's always someone who joins. You're never alone!
My favorite trip
I loved the excursions we did every weekend because I saw so many beautiful places in such a short amount of time. My favorite trip was to Cabarete and Puerto Plata with another volunteer that became a very good friend of mine. We had so much fun there and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I never felt unsafe
Every evening you can go out in a club or a bar, there’s always a big fiesta! I never felt unsafe, but anyway I wouldn‘t recommend to go out alone at night. There’s one good café in Samaná, it’s called Café Italia and they have good coffee, hot chocolate, baguette. You should go there! And don’t forget to have a frozen yoghurt just next to Café Italia. It’s so good!
In general, I can say that my time here was a very good experience for my whole life. It taught me a lot about other cultures, other people and how little we would actually need to be happy. Of course I learned a lot about myself too, because it was the first time I did something like this. It was a pleasure to stay here for two months with these people and I'm so thankful that I had the chance to come here. I would recommend doing something like this to everybody!