Exploring Diverse Communities in the Dominican Republic

This two-week program in the Dominican Republic focuses on the merging and persistent issues of diverse communities by analyzing the constructs of and considering the implications amongst various localities.

Program highlights include participation in a service-learning program with a local community organization, excisions to Santo Domingo and Santiago and guest lecturers. This program is open to all students across all disciplines.

A group of students who recently completed this program maintained blogs. Their experiences are recounted below:


“Something that I won’t ever forget during my time at the youth center is that the children really enjoyed our time with them. It was one of the best feelings to see how my peers and I could make their day. While the children were playing games outside near the basketball court, Dr. Tyler thought it would be a good idea for me to do a slam dunk for the kids. When I did it, they all enjoyed it, and it made me feel really great seeing that something so simple could brighten up a bunch of children’s lives. I wish I could’ve spent more time with them.” — Jordan Bramblett,

“The Dominican Republic has been an extreme blessing. Being able to go to another country and learn about another culture has truly open my eyes. Just being on that Island alone has showed me that everything is not handed to you. This Study abroad trip gave me a better understanding of the inequalities and struggles that the Dominican people have to face every day. This trip gave me a better acknowledgment about how the Dominican have little opportunities there because it is still a developing country.” — Joshua Zellner-Fing,

“At the completion of this study abroad course Exploring Diverse Communities I can say that I am humbled by the experiences and elated of the new perspective gained of the world, D. R. specifically and the people that encompass that area. Before traveling to D. R. I had no idea exactly what we would be doing but I was very eager and excited to get there. Thinking about diversity, my first thought consumes the idea of racial diversity.” — Rashad Bingham,

“I never would have thought in a million years that I would travel to the Dominican Republic. But I was blessed with the opportunity to travel abroad and study something that I am passionate about–helping communities through understanding. As a nutrition major, I want to understand why certain communities have better access to certain food resources.” —

“We have experienced so much together in the last two weeks. Getting adjusted to another culture is something I had to get use to but it was a learning experience.  I have learned so much and now view the world in a different perspective. I also learned to be respectful of other cultures that are different from mine.” — Whitney Tennant

” On Lunes (Monday, May 19th), we endured a Survival Spanish class from a professor at the local university, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCCMM). I believe that intentions for the crash course was to teach us the fundamentals of the Dominican Spanish language to enhance our knowledge, however, it did the opposite for me. I became very frustrated at the activities because we were being thrown information too fast to digest. I struggled tremendously and honestly gave up at one point because it was all getting too overwhelming to handle. I did enjoy seeing my classmates excel at the assigned activities.” —

“As I look back on this experience, I am so glad that I took part in it. I gained so much from it and all of my expectations are exceeded. I learned so much and I’m also very much appreciative of all of the things that I have. A lot of times I complain about different things but this doesn’t compare to the things that I saw the Dominican and Haitian people dealing with on a day to day basis” — Indigo Cornelison,

“The first full day in Santiago, Dominican Republic we went to the ISA office to learn about the history of the country and it’s culture. Afterwards, we visited the Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración. The monument is built as a dedication to the heroes of the Dominican Independence War and had displays of scenes that happened during the war. Also on display there were costumes to show what is warn during the celebration of Independence. My first trip has been exciting and I look forward to learning more and visiting new places.” —

For more information about this program, click here.

Check out these photos showing off some of the this program’s featured locales!

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