Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Language + Culture

Program Resuming Fall '22
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Bring your beginner to intermediate Spanish language skills to Santiago de los Caballeros and immerse yourself in Dominican university life at our partner school, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM). After your required Spanish language course, choose from courses in English, from PUCMM’s four academic schools: Social Sciences and Administration; Science and Humanities; Engineering Sciences; and Health Sciences. Classroom instruction is supplemented with educational excursions throughout the country, local activities, and rural and urban volunteer opportunities to increase intercultural understanding. 

Unique Experiences

  • Explore

    the great outdoors in the central mountains of the Cibao region, visit the Samaná Peninsula or Montecristi.

  • Stroll through the museums

    of Santo Domingo, the capital of the D.R.

  • See the Haitian/Dominican border

    and a UNESCO World Heritage site

  • students at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra

  • miles from the national capital

  • people living in this city, the second largest in the D.R.


Location & Culture

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Founded in 1495 by 30 caballeros (knights), Santiago de los Caballeros has all the charm of a small neighborhood. You’ll find small-town delights right around the corner — street vendors, friendly locals playing dominos and listen to merengue and bachata music — while still being a stone’s throw away from national parks and museums like Centro Leon and Casa de Arte.

The Culture


  • Go on a weekend trip to the growing eco-paradise that is the Samaná Peninsula and Los Haitises National Park.
  • Visit Santo Domingo and its Zona Colonial including the first Cathedral of the Americas.
  • Embark on day trips to explore the Hermanas Mirabal Museum in Salcedo; the town of La Vega during Carnaval season; the market-town of Dajabón on the Haitian-Dominican border, and the Centro Leon Museum in Santiago.
  • Depending on the courses you take, visit agricultural and industrial projects, free trade zones, a Dominican tobacco company, other local museums, clinics, schools, or nonprofit organizations.


Volunteering. Help out at a local school, orphanage, or home for mentally or physically challenged children. You’ll also have the opportunity to do service-work in a rural community alongside locals.

Daily Life

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    Homestay There is no student housing on campus, so students live in middle class or upper class Dominican homes, all within walking distance of PUCMM. Housing assignments are made based on questionnaires that students submit to CIEE. Students and their families are asked to speak Spanish exclusively.


    Homestay: Meals are eaten at the place of residence and are included in the program fee.

Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Where You'll Study

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Prepare for a full calendar — with plenty of educational excursions throughout the country, local activities, and rural and urban volunteer opportunities. The Language and Culture program is packed with exciting opportunities that supplement classroom content and immerse you in the community. You’re also encouraged to participate in student opportunities offered by CIEE partner university, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) and experience Dominican culture and geography outside of the classroom setting. All courses are taught in English except for the Spanish language courses. In addition, all students sign off on the CIEE Community Language Commitment, agreeing to speak only Spanish to foster language proficiency and understanding of Dominican society. Courses are taught by CIEE and PUCMM faculty.

Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra was founded in 1962 and dedicated to serving the social and economic development of all Dominicans. PUCMM has been ranked as the best academic institution of higher learning in the Dominican Republic. Just 15 minutes from downtown Santiago, PUCMM's campus has four academic schools: Social Sciences and Administration; Science and Humanities; Engineering Sciences; and Health Sciences.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Program Requirements

  • One Spanish Language course
  • 3-4 additional electives

Program Credit

Credit:15-18 U.S. semester/22.5-2 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • CIEE course: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) courses: 1-4 semester/1.5-6 quarter credits; 15-60 contact hours

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

The CIEE elective course is for students only. Electives through PUCMM’s division of Spanish for Foreigners include CIEE, local, and other international students. Field trips are often integrated into academic classes.

Class Format

All students are required to take one Spanish language course and other elective courses offered by PUCMM in English. Students take a Spanish language placement test during orientation and register for classes during this time.


Students are graded on a scale of A-F. PUCMM courses may include FN (failure for absences).

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction


Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


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Course Information

Course Notes

  • Additional electives may include CIEE Intercultural Communication and Leadership.
  • PUCMM classes are offered for foreigners by PUCMM staff, although up to five Dominican and/or Haitian students per class may also enroll, space permitting. Courses are not always offered each semester and a minimum enrollment of six students is needed to run each class.
  • A preliminary list of courses is sent to students upon acceptance into the program. The final list of available courses is given to students upon arrival, as not all courses are offered every semester.

Host Institution Courses

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  • Beginning Spanish Language I
  • Beginning Spanish Language II
  • Intermediate Spanish Language I 
  • Intermediate Spanish Language II
  • Advanced Spanish Language I 
  • Advanced Spanish Language II 


Latin American Cinema and Society
As the Civilization of the Imagination, cinema is recognized as one of the most effective mediums for the diffusion of human ideas and for understanding the reality of the world’s peoples. Furthermore, it is an excellent vehicle to inform us about the social, political, and cultural reality, in both the past and the present of the countries that produce films. These and other reasons motivate Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra to offer, within the division of Spanish for Foreigners, a semester-long course called “Latin American Cinema,” which serves to deepen students’ knowledge about this region of the world. Parallel to the concepts mentioned above, theoretical cinematographic concepts will be presented and a compendium of the history of this “7th art form.”

Culture and Society in the Hispanic Caribbean
This course deals with the various cultures that comprise the Hispanic Caribbean as a socio-historic unit within the Caribbean cultural group, considering the specificities and diversities in which their cultural richness lies. We will examine the historic and social processes of the formation and development of the various societies and state forms in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. In addition, we will study the manifestations and representative movements of political thought, philosophy, and pedagogy, as well as artistic and literary production in the Hispanic Caribbean.

Dominican-Haitian Relations
This course will examine, in an introductory form, the reality of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, emphasizing the historical structure of both societies as well as historical, political, economic, and cultural factors that have influenced the relations of both nations. There will also be complementary activities, such as a visit to a batey and/or the border region (Dajabón) and viewing videos, among others.

Hispanic Caribbean Literature
This course offers a panoramic vision of Hispanic Caribbean literature from the colonial era until the contemporary literature with emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Representative works will be read, analyzed, and presented from each era corresponding to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. The analysis will be complemented with secondary readings of a diverse nature.

Introduction to Dominican Folklore
This course presents a complete and systematic panorama of the different aspects and branches of the study of folklore, with special emphasis on those areas of Dominican folklore that are particularly rich and colorful, including religious observances and festivals. In addition to the natural richness that folklore exhibits, the course will be developed within a wide theoretical framework, emphasizing Dominican references. Various videos will be shown, there will be short excursions that vividly illustrate concepts discussed in class, and students will share brief presentations of their own research, applying the research concepts that are studied in the class.

Poverty and Development: Dominican Case Study
In this course, the concepts of poverty and development are studied through an analysis of national and international factors that deepen poverty and impede a country´s and/or a region´s progress and socio-economic development. Special emphasis is placed on the socio-cultural contexts of the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The focus is on neoliberal economic policies, statistics related to international financial organizations, strategies and alternatives for socio-economic and human development in Latin American and Caribbean societies, and external debt and its impact on the poorest countries in the region.

Teaching English as a Second Language
This 4-credit course is addressed to English speakers who are seriously interested in the ESL/EFL teaching field. It is intended to provide the appropriate and necessary instructions, strategies, and techniques that will enable them to succeed in their English teaching practice. The course is comprised of 28 hours of in-class theory and 56 hours of hands-on practice teaching the regularly enrolled university students at PUCMM and requires an extensive written report at the end that incorporates elements of both theory and experiences learned through the practicum.

PUCMM One-Credit Courses

PUCMM offers the following courses to all CIEE students, which are worth one credit each.

Arts: Artistic Drawing, Drama, Guitar, Oratory, Photography, Sculpture, Silk-Screening, Stage Scenery Design

Dominican Dance and Folklore: Dominican folklore is introduced through regional dances and musical instruments. Students learn to dance traditional merengue, bachata, and salsa.

Physical Education: Baseball, Basketball, Gymnastics, Judo, Karate, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Soccer, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Track, Volleyball

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.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Open Campus Network and that are offered at multiple CIEE Centers.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

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Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.

What's Included

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What's Included

Pre-departure Advising
Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
Introduction to your program plus practical information about living in your host city
On-site Staff
Full-time program leadership and support in your city
Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
Travel Protection
CIEE iNext and a local liability insurance
24/7 emergency on-site support

Get Started

Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
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    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 

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    Contact Us

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.