UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Winter: Dominican Republic: Global Service and Critical Reflection on U.S. Identity (BSGC/LASC)

Santiago, Dominican Republic
Terms offered: 
Program Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 

Dominican Republic BSGC
Service is a valuable response to social problems faced by marginalized populations. How do we ensure that the service we provide supports the communities with whom we work more than cause harm? What role do our identities play in how we make meaning of social issues?

This course is designed to give students real-life, hands-on experience as international community service providers, by applying scholarship to practice and using critical reflection to explore how our experiences and identities inform the ways we approach addressing social inequalities. By working in teams with community partners in the Dominican Republic and engaging in critical reflection through intergroup dialogue, you will be introduced to existing responses to social problems and will work to formulate our own individual and collective responses.

Your daily service activities may vary based on community needs, but will likely involve physical activity (e.g. building a playground, renovating a community kitchen, etc.). Meaningful reflection and intergroup dialogue is a critical component of service-learning, and will be integrated into all aspects of the course.

In addition, you will have several evening seminars on various aspects of Dominican culture including: Dominican food and traditions, Dominican/Haitian relations, and conversations with Dominican university students. You will take group excursions to the city of Santo Domingo to learn about Dominican history; 27 Charcos, a series of beautiful waterfalls outside Santiago, to gain insights into the possibilities and limitations of ecotourism; and Puerto Playa beach.

The group will travel together with the faculty instructors and live with program host families (at least two students per family), who have been pre-screened and undergo an interview process and home visits. The home-stay component of the program is intended to maximize cross-cultural communication and skill-building opportunities. Our partner program provider, ISA, has an office and field staff who will serve as additional support for program participants and are available on-call during the entire duration of the program. Housing, three meals/day, local transportation, and excursions are included in the program fee.

Intermediate level of Spanish or higher is helpful for service placement but not required. The program is open to ALL majors, with priority for students in the Global Communities Living Learning Program.

  • Define and demonstrate a deeper understanding of your service experience in the Dominican Republic.
  • Articulate the relationship between civic engagement and social justice with service, in a global context.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically about social issues in the Dominican Republic.
  • Demonstrate cross-cultural learning and communication skills by engaging in reflective intergroup dialogue with a multicultural group
  • Develop recommendations and action items with community service partners.

You must be in good academic and judicial standing and you must not have any registration blocks to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

This program will benefit students from any major and on any career path. It is well-suited for students who may have little or no previous study abroad experience.

Group reflection and intergroup dialogue are critical pieces of the program so students should be open to connecting with the group and the local community in a meaningful way. Our reflections will include critical conversations about social justice issues such as poverty, race, identity, power, and privilege. Students should also be open to participating in service work, which may include physical labor. Spanish language skills are helpful for this program but are not required.

If you are interested in this program but do not meet the eligibility requirements, reach out to the program director (listed in the Contacts tab) to discuss your interest in the program.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in one of the following three (3) credit UMD courses:

  • BSGC338D: Global Service Abroad: Global Service in the Dominican Republic
  • LASC369R: Special Topics in Study Abroad III: Global Service in the Dominican Republic

The credit you earn during this program will count as resident credit.

This course has been approved for General Education: Diversity/Cultural Competence and as an elective for Global Poverty Minor.

You will be living with a host family for the duration of the program.  Each homestay will host 2-3 students from the program.

Costs are current for winter 2019.

Application Fee $50
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Bursar's payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Education Abroad Fee $500
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance $40
Tuition $1,850
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Housing Fee $170
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $50
Visa $20
Passport $140
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $575
Course Materials $0
Optional Activities/incidental expenses $150
Optional trip cancelation/interruption Insurance (estimate) $180

NOTE: If you are a non-UMD graduate student, you will need to pay a $75 application fee to the UMD graduate school to participate in this program.

Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad

PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancelation due to low enrollment.

Co-Instructor: Jeremy Gombin-Sperling is a Ph.D. student in the International Education Policy (IEP) program and Education and Training Specialist in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Maryland. He has been an instructor with the Global Communities Living Learning Program since 2016. Jeremy earned his Bachelor's in Psychology and Religious Studies at New York University, and later his M.A., also in the IEP program at UMD. His professional career has revolved around international education and exchange programs as well as initiatives on diversity and inclusion. He has worked as a Language and Cultural Assistant as part of a national bilingual education program in Spain, as an Advisor and Program Manager in Education Abroad at the University of Maryland, and most recently before returning to UMD, as a Program Officer for the Fulbright Program at the U.S. Department of State. Jeremy's research interests focus around the intersections of language, identity, and trends in globalization.

Co-Instructor: Jazmin Pichardo, Program Manager for UMD's Global Communities Living Learning Program, is a first-generation graduate and New York native. She received her B.A. in English from Vassar College and completed her Master's in Student Affairs in May 2016. At the University of Maryland, Jazmin has served as an Education & Training Specialist in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion where she continues to facilitate intergroup dialogue courses. As a second generation immigrant, with roots in the Dominican Republic, she has traveled frequently to the area to reconnect with family and enhance her knowledge of her language and culture. Jazmin recognizes the transformative power of study abroad experiences, has studied in Barcelona, Spain and Cuba, and is passionate about exposing students to new culturally immersive experiences.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Director. For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs.

Faculty Directors

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following activities:

  • Engage in Service Learning 
  • Visit to 27 Charcos, a magnificent waterfall
  • Cultural activities 
  • Participate in intergroup dialogues
  • Live with a host family and improve your Spanish

DR Students

Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Winterterm 2019 10/15/2018 10/11/2018 01/07/2019 01/19/2019