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Meg Tighe Gives the Down Low on Studying Abroad in the Dominican Republic

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Clark chapter.

Name: Meg Tighe           

Year: Junior 

Major: International Development and Social Change

Hometown: Simsbury, Connecticut

HC: Where are you studying abroad this semester?

MT: I am studying abroad in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic this semester.

HC: How has your study abroad experience been so far?

MT:  Yesterday marked two months in the DR and so far it has been an amazing experience. Throwing myself into a new culture and into the Spanish language is exactly the change I needed for this semester. My service learning program gives me an opportunity to work in a nonprofit abroad and meet other students across the US with similar interests as me. Being an International Development major in a developing country has given me the chance to see and apply many of the theories, problems, and resolutions to development in the Dominican Republic.

HC: What has the biggest adjustment been?

MT: Other than the obvious language immersion, I think that the biggest adjustment for me has been transitioning back into a household and losing some of my independence. Living in a household with a mother who constantly worries about you and wants to know where you are at all times has been a shock after living independently in an apartment last semester.

HC: What is your favorite thing to do in the DR?

MT: Hands down the weekend excursions to the beach are my favorite part of the DR experience. In the first month and a half, I was visiting a different beach in a different city each weekend. I have never been to prettier beaches with perfect sand and water so clear that I can see my toes. So far my favorite has been Playa Ricon in Samana on the east coast of the DR, which had the clearest water I have ever seen and a gorgeous view of the mountains in the back bay of the beach. Playa de Las Aguilas on the southern coast of the country is on my bucket list to visit before I leave, it’s one of the top beaches in the world and can only be reached by boat.

HC: How is living with your host family?

MT: Whoever is in control of matching students with families is obviously doing a fantastic job as my family members are almost identical to my family members at home. My mom is outgoing and talkative, always excited to gossip and share stories. I also have an eighteen year old younger brother who loves to sass me and play top hit American songs like Hotline Bling, White Iverson, and Work. I’ve had a great time getting to know them over the past two months and am lucky to have such a great match!

HC: What is your favorite Dominican food or favorite restaurant?

MT: I am still waiting for the day that I get sick of rice and beans but I don’t think that day is in the near future… Picking a favorite food is difficult but La Bandera (the flag for those of you who didn’t take high school Spanish) is a cop out choice but definitely up there in my favorites. La Bandera is comprised of three foods: rice, beans, and meat that represent the three colors Dominican flag. Typically La Bandera varies in different colors of rice or moro, various types of beans, with either steak, chicken or pork. Other rivals are the classic fried foods of the DR, tostones (the French fries of the DR) and empanadas.

HC: Tell me more about the work you are doing with your service learning internship?

MT: The focus of my service learning program is an investigation within a non-profit organization in Santiago that will serve to help my organization and provide new research an aspect of their programming. I work with Acción Callejera a non-profit that is dedicated to fighting to guarantee the rights of youth throughout the city whether that is their right to an education, nutrition, or against child labor. Currently, I have been placed in an afterschool program where my organization has asked me to determine how to restructure the classroom in order to improve the behavior of the students in the classroom.

HC: How is your Spanish coming along, do you feel yourself picking things up pretty quickly?

MT: Confidence in Spanish varies every day, some days I feel like I have progressed very far in my fluency in the language and other days I feel like I have barely gotten better. I’ve come a far way already but I still have a way to go to become fluent in Spanish but I really enjoy the constant immersion into the language which forces you to practice even though the phrases don’t always come out perfectly.

HC: What do you miss the most about Clark?

MT: Ask basic as it sounds, I miss netflixing the day away in my living room with my roomies. I miss lazy Saturday mornings underneath too many blankets and pillows and finally deciding to roll out of bed and make pancakes only to end up debating which movie or TV show we should watch for the whole day.


We miss you too, thanks Meg! 

Isabelle is a student at Clark University, who has declared as a Cultural Studies and Communications major and a minor in sociology. She is a yoga instructor at Clark, as well as the manager for the Clark Field Hockey team. She has a deep love for sea turtles, the free people Instagram account, and card making. When she isn’t procrastinating school work she can be found on the sidelines of Clark athletics events, or hanging out with friends and family. Isabelle is really excited to be a contributing member of the Her Campus team.