Testimonial ++ Volunteer ++ Dominican Republic
Give to Receive: Nicole's Journey as an English Teacher, Dominican Republic
Spending 6 Weeks in The Dominican Republic as an English Teacher Volunteer, Nicole did not only give out but also receive so many things through so many ways. Read through to witness more of Nicole's Volunteering story.
During my six weeks in Samaná I worked at a school and in a hospital as an English teacher for doctors and nurses. I remember my first day at school. I was really nervous because of my missing Spanish skills. But when the first kids walked through the door, asked me about my name and were just happy to meet someone new, I started to feel comfortable and really enjoyed class.
My Work with Mentally Disabled children
I got used to the course of a school day and started to tackle with teaching methods and the Montessori concept the school is working with. My aim was to learn more about how to teach children with special needs and what could be interesting for them. With the help of a kindergarten teacher from my hometown, I compiled a list with different ideas and activities, especially for the two kids with a mental disability. She also explained the concept of basal stimulation, the concept the ideas based on, to me and I began to investigate the topic. I got more and more interested in this subject. In the beginning I decided to start with something small. I bought pegs and used a jump rope we already had at school. The exercise was to fix the pegs on the jump rope and I thought this could be interesting for maybe 15 minutes - but I was wrong! It was not something small and it was not something interesting for 15 minutes. The girl I worked with did it for an hour and it was great to see her progress. At the beginning she didn't know how to do it but after a while she managed. She was so proud and had a lot of fun, she even found other things to put the pegs on and worked really concentrated. During the following weeks I introduced some of the other ideas at school and it was amazing to see how the children changed and improved!
My Work as English Teacher in the Hospital
The other part of my work was teaching in a hospital. This was easier than at school because I already had experiences with teaching English. It also helped that their English was on a good level so communication wasn't a problem. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for learning made it pretty easy to enjoy the lessons. We talked about different topics and I learned more about their hobbies, their work in the hospital and the life in the Dominican Republic in general, which was very interesting for me. As a counter we prepared a lesson about Germany, typical food, favourite sports and the culture. Teaching in the hospital was not only teaching English, it also was an inter cultural exchange!
My Host Family Made My Adventure Perfect!
A big part of my life in Samaná I was spending time with my host family. From the first day on I felt really welcome and like a real family member. I joined them to family parties, trips or to visit friends and was always welcome to go to church with them. Because of their help I improved my Spanish very fast and was able to communicate with them. They were patient teachers and always proud when I learned something new or understood what they said. I also learned more about their culture and typical food what was very interesting for me because I love cooking. On the one hand they showed me how to prepare a typical Dominican meal or my favourite foods and on the other I made some cakes and explained them how to do it.
During my stay my host brother and sisters had university vacation so that they stayed at home for three weeks and I got to knew them and we did a lot of family activities. I really enjoyed this. Because of my family I really felt home in Samaná and I am going to miss them a lot!
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