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Laura Scott points to her head as she teaches English in Cupey. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

“My name is Doris. Thank you!” I am so proud to hear these simple words flow confidently out of this Dominican woman’s mouth. Her eyes shine bright and her smile lights up the entire screen on my smart phone as I record a short video of Doris practicing her English. I play the YouTube video for Doris and her friend to see and hear. They both nod their heads enthusiastically as they listen to Doris annunciate each word clearly and correctly. The video was created to accompany this blog post; Teaching English in the Dominican Republic. Our impact activity with Fathom Travel was a textbook example of the results our efforts are having in the DR and with some of the citizens in the tiny community of Cupey.

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Clothes dry in the village. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

Our journey began from Amber Cove, the pier where our passenger ship, Adonia, was docked for the three days Fathom Travel would be visiting different communities in the Dominican Republic. We were visiting this Caribbean island on a different type of cruise; part volunteer travel – often called voluntourism – and part vacation. It’s true that we were working alongside the Dominican people, giving our time, not things on vacation. But I was acutely aware that the Fathom passengers, myself included, were returning each afternoon to the comfort of our cruise ship, while many residents of Cupey and Puerto Plata did not only lack air-conditioning in their rooms, some of them might not even have access to clean drinking water or concrete floors in their houses.

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Nancy D. Brown reviews colors with a Dominican woman.

Why English?
With the increased demand for bilingual tour operators and entrepreneurs in the Dominican Republic tourism industry, the residents with a firm command of the English language have an advantage. Fathom has partnered with Entrena to help bolster employment opportunities for local Dominicans. Small group lessons and conversations take place in resident homes within the community of Cupey, a village of 4,000 outside of Puerto Plata.

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We were given training in conversational English tips while on board the Adonia and had the opportunity to share our English while we learned a little Spanish during our Fathom impact activity. As anyone who has previously volunteered, be it mission trips or with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the act of giving of one’s self is very rewarding. I felt honored to be able to share my knowledge of the English language while brushing up on my high school Spanish during a volunteer-based vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Insider tips: You don’t need to speak Spanish to participate in community English conversation & learning. You simply need to be a willing participant. For more information about impact travel and volunteering in the Dominican Republic check the Fathom website. For additional insider tips follow travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown and follow @fathomtravel

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If You Go:

Fathom Travel (855) 932-8466

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Fathom Travel while researching additional stories. The post Teaching English in the Dominican Republic first appeared on https://www.nancydbrown.com.