Ray Wright - 2014 Program Participant
Why did you choose to teach abroad with Crece: Instituto de Ingles y Artes?
I studied Latin American culture in college and, after spending time in South America, I wanted to continue my exploration.
What was your favorite part about San Juan de la Manguana?
It wasn't a big bustling city.
What surprised you most about the Dominican Republic?
I had never been to the Caribbean; "winter" there is only a lot of rain and maybe a drop in temperatures at night.
What made your experience unique?
I believe that it was the family-like atmosphere in the workplace. CRECE has become my home away from home.
How supportive were the local staff at CRECE?
Amazing. Great support system and introduction to the Dominican culture.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
Explore more. I wanted to do some outreach work and interact with more people.
Describe a day in your life with the teach abroad program.
The first part of the day is pretty similar to a day in the US: wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed. Then, in the afternoon, you plan your lessons in detail. Then it is off to class! The excitement of walking into a classroom and seeing eager faces wanting to learn English helps you look forward to your students. After class is over, you can return to the apartment or go partake with the locals in dancing and eating festivities.
What did you enjoy doing outside of the classroom?
Getting to know the families of your students and your coworkers.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
A studio apartment with bunk beds. The pros: it forces you to interact with your roommate. The cons: it forces you to interact with your roommate. But it exposes the participants to living accommodations in that part of the Dominican Republic.
Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to the Dominican Republic?
Pack light. If you are truly trying to have the Dominican experience while traveling, taking a motorcycle or taxi is the norm and space is limited. So, only pack the essentials. The less baggage you have, the better.
What was the hardest part about teaching abroad?
The hardest part about going abroad was actually just finding the courage to go to a place where you don't know anyone or don’t have much knowledge about. You just have theoretical knowledge of the place, but no real connection.
How difficult was it to communicate with locals?
It wasn't difficult at all. I blended in well, so it was easy for me.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before teaching abroad in the Dominican Republic?
I'd wished I had more information about the country, other than the tourist areas. The "real" Dominican Republic is vastly different than the tourist areas, and the living conditions are different in the non-tourist areas.
What was the biggest benefit of teaching abroad for you?
The biggest benefit would be the opportunity to get out of what is familiar and comfortable to you, and see how others live. It is a life-changing experience.
If you could teach abroad again, where would you go?
Brazil. I have been trying to go there since 2009.