Finding my way has been slightly more challenging than anticipated. I figured it would be easy to make friends being a part of a program rather than directly enrolling in an institution. I was wrong…and that’s okay. I am currently navigating the life of a student in the Dominican Republic. I’ve studied alone, watched movies alone, and have eaten at the cafeteria alone. However, my status of being alone has not stuck with me (praise God!). As the weeks go on, I am slowly finding my people—and they are not all a part of my program.

Turkish tea at La Cuppa Turkish Coffee House

Three people that have become regular homies here are María José, Annalise, and Meredith. I’ve found that we have similar interests and get along very well for only knowing each other for a few weeks. María José is my dancing queen! We often can be found playing around in our dance class with our big flamboyant faldas (skirts) while our professor corrects other classmates. She is so nice and loves to give suggestions of places to go to in Santiago. She is from Guatemala but knows English, so I am blessed to have her as a wonderful tutor as well! Annalise, Meredith and I are part of the same program, so we spend quite a bit of time together. In doing so, we found “our spot” at La Cuppa, a Turkish café in a cute homey part of the city. There we play games, laugh at embarrassing moments adjusting to life here, and vent about our worries and fears about studying abroad. I am so thankful and happy that I waited to find my people. It is such a relief to know that I don’t have to change who I am to find good friends anywhere I go. I just have to be patient.

Meredith and I cheers-ing to good coffee!

Published by Katrina Clayton

Class of 2021 CIEE Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic Psychology, Sociology

Leave a comment