With its underserved population facing a spate of social and health issues, the Dominican Republic offers you fascinating insight into the state of healthcare in the Hispanic Caribbean. Combining traditional classroom instruction with homestays and field work in both urban and semi-rural communities, you will explore the challenges confronting developing countries.
Study abroad in the Dominican Republic and you will:
- Improve your Spanish language skills through a homestay with a local family
- Examine a range of pre-professional healthcare issues
- Engage with local patients and medical staff through a health practicum and clinical rotation
If you have an interest in Spanish language, medicine, and the allied health professions as they relate to underdevelopment and public health, explore them all in the Dominican Republic.
Scholarships & Grants
Scholarships & Grants
We want as many students as possible to benefit from studying abroad. That’s why CIEE awards more than $3 million every year – more than any other international educational organization – to make study abroad affordable.
Applicants to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:
To be considered, simply check the “Scholarships and Grants” box on your program application.
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
Explore a host of pressing, international healthcare concerns in a community struggling with many of them:
- Cover concepts of public health with a focus on the health/illness process and its relation to health management, policies, and coverage
- Look at the multi-dimensional nature of health, preventive medicine programs, and primary healthcare administration through involvement in health-related community services
- Advance your conversational Spanish with a focus on mastering medical terminology
Community Engagement and Field Rotation
Give back to your host community. Work alongside local medical staff during a week-long rotation in a semi-rural clinic, and health promoters operating in marginalized neighborhoods during an urban community service practicum.
Immerse yourself in Dominican culture. Living with a host family will give you unparalleled insight into the country and its people while giving you the opportunity to use, and improve your Spanish language skills.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
The program fee includes:
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Program Date Notes
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, field trips, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
*** includes all meals
Estimated Additional Costs
International Airfare *
Local government registration/entrance fees
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
- Overall GPA 2.75
- 4 semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent
- College-level coursework in public health recommended
Total credit for the summer program is 10 semester/15 quarter hours.
Contact hours for two of the courses are 45 hours and 3 semester / 4.5 quarter credits for each course. The third course is 60 hours and 4 semester / 6 quarter credits.
Study abroad students are required to take all three CIEE program courses.
About the City
About The City
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’s 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 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.
Meet The Staff
Meet The Staff
Dr. David Simmons, Resident Director, has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Michigan State University and an M.A. in Anthropology from Iowa State University. Dr. Simmons has been the Resident Director of the CIEE Study Center at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santiago, Dominican Republic: Community Public Health since 2001. His position with CIEE allows him to combine professional, academic, and personal interests in public health, development studies, and Spanish language and Caribbean studies. Dr. Simmons is an award-winning professor of Anthropology and Public Health, having garnered the US Mission to the Dominican Republic’s Outstanding Citizen Award as well as the Joseph Wall Sesquicentennial Service Award from Grinnell College. He has also served as a full-time National Science Foundation Research Fellow with Harvard Medical School.
My position as Resident Director allows me to share what I have learned through research with students participating in the program. Much of my work focuses on health issues in the developing world and infectious diseases in the context of social justice, human rights, and their abuses. I have worked on health development programs in Nigeria, Ghana, and Zimbabwe, and have published a book, Modernizing Medicine in Zimbabwe: HIV/AIDS and Traditional Healers (Vanderbilt University Press), as well as several articles on health and human rights, and race and ethnicity in Africa and the Caribbean.
Through coursework, a community health practicum, homestays, and a rich and challenging social environment, it is my hope that you will gain an appreciation and understanding of health and healthcare, and obstacles to achieving it in the Dominican Republic.
— David Simmons, Resident Director
Ryan Bowen earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish literary and cultural studies and religious studies from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif. During college, he studied abroad in the Dominican Republic as a participant on the CIEE’s Liberal Arts program in Santiago. An avid traveler, Ryan spent four years working with underserved youth from communities in New York and Washington state, traveled through east Africa, and rode across the U.S. on his bicycle. Ryan’s passion for the DR is complemented by a love for photography. He shares deep knowledge of the fascinating people and places of Hispaniola with students on CIEE Santiago study programs.
Melba González earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Universidad Tecnológica de Santiago (UTESA), and has been working with CIEE for nearly 20 years. Any questions you might have about the program, campus, city, where to get something, how to get somewhere, really anything at all – ask the always smiling Melba.
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
The Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) is a private, non-profit institution of higher education. Founded in 1962, PUCMM has been ranked by the Inter-American Development Bank as the best academic institution of higher learning in the Dominican Republic. It has five academic divisions: social sciences and administration, science and humanities, engineering, health sciences, and tourism/restaurant management. With an enrollment of approximately 10,000 students, PUCMM offers the academic resources, support services, and physical facilities of a superior-level Latin American educational institution.
Housing & Meals
Housing & Meals
Housing and meals are included in the program fee. Study abroad students live in Dominican private homes and meals are eaten at the place of residence. Most families live within walking distance of the University. CIEE works closely with host families to give students the opportunity to become immersed in Dominican society. Students and their families are asked to speak Spanish only. Living in private homes is considered the best housing arrangement in Santiago because of its practicality and its contribution to the program’s objectives.
Students live in a semi-rural clinic for up to one week, where they are paired with local medical staff. Prior to their stay at the clinic, CIEE staff take students to shop for food for the week. Some students may prefer to eat at local eateries or arrange to have meals prepared for a nominal fee.
A six-day orientation session at the beginning of the study abroad program introduces you to Santiago, the Dominican Republic, and to PUCMM. You'll take a Spanish language placement test, register for courses, and meet and interact with Dominican students. Ongoing support is provided by CIEE staff on an individual and group basis throughout the program.
There is a computer lab at PUCMM and four (4) computers for student use in our CIEE Study/Computer Center/Library. The center is WiFi equipped, so we urge you to bring your laptops.
This study abroad program includes guided visits to sites of historic and cultural importance in Santiago. There is a weekend trip scheduled to the Dominican Republic’s capital city, Santo Domingo.
This eight-week program consists of orientation, six+ weeks of language and healthcare courses, and a week-long semi-rural clinical field rotation. Students also participate in an intensive urban community service practicum in an underserved area in Santiago as part of the academic curriculum.
Most PUCMM students specialize in such professions as the law, medicine, engineering, education, or business. The only social science major is psychology. Like all universities in the Dominican Republic, PUCMM has limited resources compared to most U.S. colleges and universities.
The summer study abroad program courses have been designed by PUCMM specifically for CIEE students only. All coursework is conducted in Spanish. Students should be prepared for a style of teaching that is more formal and technical, relying primarily on lectures and emphasizing memorization. Readings are typically assigned in class.
Nature of Classes
Participants take classes with other CIEE study abroad students only.
CIEE Community Language Commitment
As students gain proficiency in Spanish, resident staff encourage them to use their language skills in everyday settings. This fosters a learning community that contributes to both Spanish language proficiency and understanding of Dominican society.
Students are normally graded on the basis of quizzes, exams, papers, and class participation much like in the U.S. Letter grades of A-F are given without pluses or minuses.
Language of Instruction
All courses are taught by PUCMM faculty and CIEE staff.
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
Courses Required CIEE Courses
PUBH 3001 DRSU
Pre-Professional Healthcare Issues
This course addresses scientific and social problems of health and illness, both in general and in the Dominican Republic. It covers concepts of public health with a focus on the health/illness process and its relation to health management, policies, and coverage. The course also includes discussion on the technical and scientific tools used to study health, social and biological factors involved in illness, doctor/patient relationships, and international health issues.
PUBH 3002 DRSU
Community Health Practicum
This course introduces students to the multi-dimensional nature of health, health and preventive medicine programs, and primary healthcare administration through involvement in health-related community services. Students are assigned field placements with local health promoters in marginalized neighborhoods, supervised by program faculty. Mid-term, students are placed in field activities for five days for the purpose of investigation, observation, and community education. A final project is based in part upon the field experience.
SPAN 3003 DRSU
Advanced Spanish Conversation and Grammar
This is an advanced Spanish language course, focusing on grammar, reading, and oral expression. It is designed to improve both active command of the language by means of readings and discussion, and increase students’ mastery of Spanish grammar in communication contexts and in writing. Special attention is given to medical terminology.