Today was our first free day of the trip and we decided to spend majority of it together. The day started off with everybody having the chance to sleep in and relax – or so that was the idea. A majority of us woke up early, around 7am (4am in the states in case you were wondering), from excitement to get our free day started. A few students took advantage of the extended wakeup call and joined in on breakfast a little later. For the first time since the trip, we were able to have some cereal that reminded us of home. From there, we were waiting to hear back from the GGLs to see if we will be able to attend our Ambassadors’ graduation. As a group, we have grown close to the ambassadors and when they invited us to their special day, we wanted to make sure we could be there to show our love and appreciation. We are so thankful for Ms. Rachel and Mr. David for walking 45 minutes with us to make it to the ceremony. As you may guess, it was a really hot and tiring walk, however, we were determined to be there for our amazing Ambassadors as a way to thank them for all of the hard work they do make sure we can gain the best experience possible.
Something that we learned about the graduations here in the Dominican Republic is that they are not like the graduations we have back in the U.S. The ceremonies here last around 4 to 5 hours; the first half of the ceremony being staff recognition and a prayer. Due to our lack of knowledge on the length of the ceremony, we unfortunately embarrassed ourselves by sitting in the front rows of the graduation and having to leave roughly 1/3rd of the way through the opening. We felt bad for having to walk out, but our Ambassadors didn’t mind- they understood that we had to start making our way back home to the accommodation. Before we left, we made sure to take photos with everyone to remember the time we got to experience a different type of graduation ceremony that we may never get to experience again with as much love and compassion that was given in that environment for the time we were able to be there. The best part of the ceremony may have been when one of our Ambassadors, who happened to be the class president for his year, dedicated a small part of his speech to us and delivered it in English. Although we were hoping to do more things on our free day, being able to spend it with our Ambassadors was a heartwarming moment that we will cherish forever.