Choosing to study abroad in the second largest city in the Dominican Republic with CIEE was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Dominican people are warm and friendly, and the culture is so vibrant, I couldn't stop eating, drinking, and dancing! Though the difficulty level of the academics was not very comparable to the American university I was coming from, the difficulty of adapting to a new environment, and taking all of my classes in Spanish, made up for it. Furthermore, the trips and rural work retreats offered by the CIEE program were some of the best memories I have. The Dominican Republic has so many beautiful places to offer, we were able to go to Cayo Arena, a small island off of the north coast with beautiful sites for snorkeling, and Samana, a city on the west coast, thriving with animals that live off its cliffs and in its caves. During the weekend work retreats, leaving the urban city to climb miles of rolling hills was always a fresh of breath air. The people we worked and lived with appreciated every second of our time, and I will never forget the Canadian woman that we met who had adopted seven Dominican children and raised them as her own. The stories of some of the people I met their are unforgettable. While this may sound like an experience anyone in the DR can get, I have to thank CIEE for the program it put together and the staff and management that made the program so successful. Lynne Guitar, the director of the program, is a loving and fun professional, with a passion for Dominican people and culture. She was always available and willing to stop any work she was doing to attend to the needs to the students, and it is clear that she loves doing what she does. All of the staff, in fact, always made me feel at home. I really built a family with the people involved, and more so, with my home-stay family, with whom they did a great job placing me. Ultimately, I built relationships that will last me my whole life and made memories that will stay vivid in my mind for forever. The four months, one semester, that I spent in the Dominican Republic, caused me to return two times in the following year to do thesis research, and was the reason for a final move to the island post-graduation. Ms Guitar helped me find a job teaching English at the same university I studied at for the first year, and now I am currently living in Santiago and teaching in a bilingual middle school. I owe it all to CIEE.