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Diversity in Santiago de los Caballeros

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CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. On this page, local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter at their location.
The information below is just a broad overview so if you have specific questions or concerns not covered here, please email We would be glad to have local staff share their perspectives, talk with you about accommodations, connect you with resources, and/or put you in touch with a program alum who could speak about their experiences navigating a program in this location.
No matter where you choose to study abroad with CIEE, our staff—all of whom receive regular and comprehensive training in diversity, equity, and inclusion—will be on hand throughout your program to provide advice, resources, and support regarding these issues.



Generally, in the Dominican Republic, our communities and academic institutions are not fully in compliance with the objective of full access to facilities for everyone regardless of age, size, or ability. However, we have made progress to create more accessible and disability friendly environment. There is no general discrimination towards any type of disability, on the contrary, given the friendly and supportive nature of Dominicans, as people and as a society we are very supportive and try to accommodate/make things easier, and be very polite towards people with disabilities.

Students are encouraged to provide as much information as they can related to their specific disabilities (or related needs) prior to arrival so CIEE staff can assess potential challenges and arrange for appropriate accommodations.



In developing countries such as the Dominican Republic, patriarchal regimes and structures are the relevant organizing principles of all dimensions of society, therefore societal interactions have a high level of paternalism and machismo in day-to-day life.  Although it is common in the Dominican Republic that both women and men stay in the household until marriage, it is more expected for women than for men. The family unit includes the extended family such as cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and others.  

Although Machismo is evolving and diminishing, it is still very much part of our cultural identity, for example women must be good mothers and men must be good providers. Therefore, the interactions between women and men are highly influenced by the identity and roles as expected by Dominican Society.



National identity issues in the Dominican Republic related to blackness and whiteness are still prevalent. There are standards of whiteness in the Dominican society that have been dictated by political governing forces, which continue to impact the everyday life. Although majority of the country is of African descendent, the various tones of “skin complexion” is used for creating an imaginary detachment of the Dominican national identity from its African ancestry. Sadly, this has led to an unequal treatment for dark skinned Dominicans which has kept them marginalized due to their skin color. 

To address both overt and latent racism and discrimination – although rare – CIEE Santiago staff are available to provide support and resources to help all CIEE students enjoy and learn from their study abroad experience, irrespective of – indeed, celebrating – our diverse racial and ethnic identities.  CIEE Santiago is sensitive to the range of these issues and will provide information and support to proactively create an inclusive community.



In the Dominican Republic there is a need to implement public policies for non-discrimination for reasons of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or condition of intersex.  However, progress is being made; a survey conducted by the UNDP, UNFPA and the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic (MINERD), found that 80% of female students and 72% of students affirmed that they agree to respect people with diverse sexual orientations, which gives the certainty that future generations are building healthy and respectful relationships with LGBTIQ people. 



Dominican socioeconomic structure rife with the conflicts and contradictions typical of developing countries whereby most of the population lives with social and economic precariousness. The Dominican Republic’ society is fragmented into three very unequal levels of socioeconomic status: an estimated 10% of the population that controls the majority of the wealth; 60% of the population that is part of a rising and growing working and micro-business class; and 40% of the population that is economically poor as defined by the World Bank. Therefore, there are large social inequalities that create constant struggles for advancement and survival within the middle class and poor. These inequalities are the basis for disruption, protests, and strikes, although the country is considered to be a very safe one.

Programs in Santiago de los Caballeros