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CIEE Service-Learning in Santiago, Dominican Republic
Program Terms: Fall,
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Areas of Study: Sociology, Spanish Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.75
Additonal Features: Service Learning Program Type: Affiliated, Service Learning
Academic Level: Sophomore Language of Instruction: Spanish
Housing Options: Host Family
Program Description:


In Santiago, engage in a collaborative approach to academics and urban and rural community development.

Service Learning in the Dominican Republic provides you with the analytical tools to engage in participatory service, and the skills to process and reflect upon your experiences and actions. Through a combination of coursework, field work, internships, and a variety of cultural activities and excursions, studying abroad in Santiago offers you a uniquely challenging, immersive and rewarding intercultural experience.

Study abroad in Santiago and you will:

  • Enjoy an internship placement in a service site corresponding to your academic interests
  • Expose yourself to an experiential, collaborative learning model through grassroots and community-based engagement and learning
  • Engage yourself in promoting community action and change through applied field research and a Capstone Project
  • Build portfolio of practical life and job skills such as undergraduate research, grant writing, critical analysis & problem solving, and public speaking and presentations in target language
  • Be a part of an ongoing and co-curricular rural partnership in organic farming and environmental justice
  • Visit sites of cultural, economic, and social importance, including the Free Trade Zone,  the Dajabón bi-national market on the Haitian border, Boca de Nigua and Engombe (historic ruins of slave-run sugar mills). Visits include readings, debriefs, and facilitated group reflections on each experience

The CIEE Difference


Use language learning, case studies, and courses in social theory, and research methodology to support an Independent Capstone Project. The project requires you to develop – in coordination with the community – a original service project or a new extension of an existing project. At the end of the semester, you will present your research results and tangible project to community members and other constituents.

Community Advocacy Internship

Take advantage of the opportunity to work with a community-based organization or NGO in an already existing program or project related to your academic interests in the social sciences, business, humanities, or multidisciplinary studies. The internship allows you to act and reflect upon the realities and challenges of community work and community organizing, and participate alongside principal social agents in the community.

Rural Stay

Midway through the semester, you’ll participate in a weeklong rural stay. Learn about different community development associations while working alongside our community partners. The stay gives you a counterpoint to the urban work you do in Santiago. It also afford you time for reflection and insight into alternative strategies that address both urban and rural issues.


Total recommended credit for the semester is 15–16 semester/22.5–24 quarter hours.

Course contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated.

Program Requirements

All study abroad students take the three-part core course, Understanding Community: A Sociological Approach; a Spanish course at their level; and the Capstone Project.

Students also have the opportunity to take a one-credit direct enrollment course elective.

About Santiago

Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic, is surrounded by mountains in the lush valley of the Cibao region. Places of historical, cultural, and ecological interest are nearby, and it is just a little over an hour drive to the Atlantic Coast. Known as La Ciudad Corazón (City of the Heart), Santiago is the commercial and cultural center of the fertile Cibao Valley region, housing over 100 industrial free trade zone factories, the León Jimenez Cultural Center and cigar factory, and the commercial street of Calle del Sol. Although it is a growing city with a population exceeding 800,000, Santiago retains many features of a small town.

Where You’ll Study

On the CIEE Service-Learning study abroad program students take the core course and capstone project at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM). For the service component of the program, students are selected to work with one of our Santiago-based community partners: Acción Callejera, Arte a Mano, Centro de Atención Primaria Juan XXIII, Fundación Cuidado Infantil Dominicano (FCID), Niños Con Una Esperanza, and Oné Respe.

Housing & Meals

Housing and all meals are included in the program fee. Study abroad students live in Dominican private homes, and meals are taken at the place of residence. Homestays are within walking distance of PUCMM. Students and their families are asked to speak only Spanish. Living in private homes is considered the best housing arrangement in Santiago because of its practicality (there is no student housing on campus) and its positive contribution to the program’s objectives. CIEE works closely with host families to provide students the opportunity for integration into the Dominican community.

Academic Program

Since 1947, CIEE has engaged in fulfilling its mission “to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.” The Service-Learning study abroad program serves this mission by providing a framework for students to fulfill their educational and personal goals while bridging relationships in the communities in which their learning takes place. In this sense, service-learning takes theory to practice to meet the challenges of social problems and closes the circle on an experiential learning cycle, while providing benefits to all those who are involved with the program.

The American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) defines service-learning as a method under which students learn and develop through thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of a community and is coordinated with an institution of higher education and with the community; helps foster civic responsibility; is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students enrolled; and includes structured time for students to reflect on the service experience.

The CIEE Service-Learning program is specifically designed upon the four core principles of service-learning, and each component of the program addresses one or more of the principles:

1) Engagement
2) Reflection
3) Reciprocity
4) Public Dissemination

Academic Culture

The design and nature of the Service-Learning program requires methodology that is more interactive, field-based, and reflective in theory compared to normal course pedagogies. Students are required to draw upon learned and new knowledge and reflect on these experiences through the analytic scope of research and observation methods drawn upon from the core course.
The language coursework is framed on the foundations of Spanish grammar, but focuses heavily on expanding everyday vocabulary and communication skills with regard to issues in community development and service work, enabling students to better communicate and understand the community in which they work.

The core courses and Directed Independent Research and Capstone Project draw on the expertise of the CIEE Resident Director and professors from the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM). The internship component is coordinated through various non-profit and non-governmental organizations in the Santiago area.

This program is currently not accepting applications.