The Dominican culture is extremely friendly. Everyone says hi even if you don't know the person. And most importantly, everyone always has a smile on their face. The Dominican culture has taught me that no matter what kind of language barriers there might be, a smile can always go a long way- and might even be the start to something new.
As a foreigner in the Dominican, it was hard to communicate since English came to me naturally but the people there didn't know English well. But, one thing that is universally known to everyone is a smile. A smile is something that is understood by anyone around the world- no matter how different your backgrounds, race, language, or anything is.
In my opinion, this was extremely different than American culture- where most people tend to mind their own business and carry on with their day. When I was in the Dominican Republic on the other hand, everywhere I went, even walking the streets, I was greeted and welcomed with a smile. No matter how long the interaction was, there was always a smile involved. Even with a 2 second interaction, it felt welcoming to know that I was in a friendly environment and it gave me a comforting feeling. This made me realize that a smile can go a long way.
It doesn't take more than one millisecond to smile. But this simple action is extremely powerful and has so much meaning behind it. It can make someone feel safe and secured. It can make someone feel comfortable and loved. A smile is the shortest distance between two people. You never know what someone else is going through so smiling at someone could go so much further than you could ever imagine.