¡¿Que lo que?!  (This means means “what’s up?!” in Dominican slang!)

I’m Arianna Lopez, and I am so thrilled to be one of the Global Glimpse leaders for our trip to Bonao this July. I’m getting ready by reading In the Time of Butterflies and listening to LOTS of bachata and merengue music because I LOVE Latin dance! I am also making sure I have plenty of loose, comfortable clothing and bug spray. Mosquitos love me, so I have to be extra careful.

I am not teacher, but a program administrator for international exchange and study abroad programs for university students in Washington DC. I also have a background as a tour guide, so I have lead several international student groups on trips throughout the United States. I have extensive international experience and have lived in Scotland, Tanzania, and New Zealand. In a nutshell, I have professional experience helping students overcome culture shock and homesickness, and a lot of personal experience dealing with these emotions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re worried about these things.

As a first generation Mexican-American who speaks not-so-great Spanish, I am most nervous about the language barrier because Dominicans speak FAST! However, it has been my experience that Dominicans are warm, friendly, hospitable people with a vibrant culture and passion for life. I know that I will be encouraged to speak the language like a local, and I will have to step up to the challenge!

My favorite part about traveling abroad is the newfound novelty of the mundane. Daily nuances like the way we eat our food, traffic lanes, and light switches suddenly become a window into the history and culture of that community, and can prompt hysterical laughter or intense debate at a moment’s notice.

We are so fortunate to have Global Glimpse and the local host partners make this opportunity possible for us. Key relationships between nations are no longer just between governments and civic leaders, but between citizens connected by thought, travel, and technology. Exchanges like Global Glimpse help build cross-cultural cooperation and competence that is so desperately needed in today’s world.

I have no doubt that this experience will change and shape your world perspective. I can’t wait to share this journey with you.

¡Vamos a la Republica Dominicana!