Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Liberal Arts

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Information for term Liberal Arts

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

May 1, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Tentative Dates: Aug 25 – Dec 10, 2023 (15 weeks)*
  • Credit: 15 - 18 semester hours / 22.5 - 27 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA

Application Deadline

November 1, 2022

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: November 1, 2022
  • Dates: Jan 9 – Apr 21, 2023 (15 weeks)
  • Credit: 15 - 18 semester hours / 22.5 - 27 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Raise your strong Spanish language skills to new heights while immersing yourself in the developing Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic. Along with Spanish language classes, learn about the evolution of society, culture, economics, and politics of the island of Hispaniola (shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and the greater Hispanic Caribbean through liberal arts courses, in Spanish. Courses are taken at CIEE Santiago and at our partner school Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM). All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

CIEE is requiring all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling on programs. Read more ›

Unique Experiences

  • Make the Caribbean

    your classroom, with visits to free trade zones, market towns, museums, and more.

  • Unwind in tropical paradise

    at Samaná Peninsula, where you’ll marvel at mangroves and more at Los Haitises National park, swim at one of the DR’s most beautiful beaches, and visit the magical Lemon Waterfall (Salto El Limon).

  • Boost the skills you need

    for a global career by earning a Teach English as a Second Language certificate or completing a course in community service.

  • average daily temperature (F)

  • universities

  • square miles of lush beauty make up remote Los Haitises National Park


Location & Culture

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Founded in 1495 by 30 caballeros from Columbus’ early expeditions, Santiago is a growing, modern city with a population of more than 800,000. Despite its sprawling size, Santiago retains many small-town features. Traditional merchants ride burros loaded with baskets of goods and call out their wares in a musical chant. Street vendors balance large baskets of fruit and vegetables on their heads. People are friendly and crime is scarce. The people of Santiago like to play dominos, listen to merengue and bachata music, and talk about baseball.

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in Santiago De Los Caballeros.

The Culture


  • Take a break from Santiago with trips to Rio Blanco, Constanza for one weekend of work and play in the rural Dominican Republic.
  • Day trips include visits to the Capital and Zona Colonial; the Hermanas Mirabal Museum in Salcedo; La Vega during Carnaval season; or the market town of Dajabón, the principal commercial and economic development zone on the Haitian-Dominican border.
  • Field trips are part of many academic classes. You might visit agricultural and industrial projects, free trade zones, museums, clinics, schools, and nonprofits.
  • Take your pick of nonstop activities offered weekly – volunteer work, day trips, class trips, helping with PUCMM events like health promotions and educational fairs, and more.


  • Integrate cultural and language mastery in a community-based and cross-cultural context.
  • Volunteer by caring for challenged infants and children, helping young boys at a baseball academy, assisting an elementary school teacher, caring for young mothers – these are all ways to connect with members of Dominican communities.
  • Swap cultural tips with a Dominican or other International students as you complete assignments together during the CIEE ICL in Santiago.

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs

Daily Life

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    Homestays. All students live with CIEE homestay families. Living with a Dominican family is your ticket to integration into life in Santiago de los Caballeros as it provides an excellent opportunity for immersion into the local culture.  Although families may be able to communicate in English, they foster communication in Spanish to motivate language learning.  
    Your host family provides a single room with a desk, laundry once a week, Wi-Fi, and a copy of the house keys.  All homestays are within walking distance (20-30 minutes) or a single public transportation ride of 25-35 minutes to Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) campus, and proximity to coffee shops, mall and commercial centers, ATMs, and restaurants.
    Students who are staying for a full year are responsible for their own housing and meals during the break between semesters.


    Homestays include three meals per day. Host families and students arrange their meals schedules.  Students who are staying for a full year are responsible for their meals during breaks between semesters.

Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Where You'll Study

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This program launched in 1987 to help students with advanced Spanish skills further their proficiency and explore life in the Dominican Republic. Along with Spanish language classes, students learn about the evolution of society, culture, economics, and politics of the island of Hispaniola (shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and the greater Hispanic Caribbean through liberal arts courses at CIEE and Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM). Results from a Spanish language proficiency exam at the beginning of the program place students into one of three Spanish language levels and determine which required language course and electives they may take. Students in the two most-advanced levels may take a selection of direct enroll classes at PUCMM (pre-requisites apply). All students sign off on the CIEE Community Language Commitment, agreeing to speak only Spanish, in order to foster language proficiency and understanding of Dominican society.

Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) 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. Located just a 15 minute drive from downtown Santiago, PUCMM's campus has four academic schools: Social Sciences and Administration; Science and Humanities; Engineering Sciences; and Health Sciences.

CIEE Santiago is conveniently located on the PUCMM campus.



Language Prerequisites

Four semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent)

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 Advanced Spanish Language course at PUCMM
  • At least two elective courses (for a total of 15  to 18 total semester credits) from CIEE, PUCMM Spanish Course for Foreigners and/or PUCMM Regular University courses

Program Credit

Credit: 15-18 semester/22.5-27 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • CIEE Directed Independent Research: 3 semester/4.5 quarter credits; 15 seminar hours, 100-120 research hours
  • PUCMM courses: 1-6 semester/1.5-9 quarter credits; 15-90 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

Most PUCMM students specialize in a profession such as law, medicine, engineering, architecture, education, or business. Psychology and social communication are the only social science majors. Although PUCMM is the country’s premier private university, it has limited resources compared to most U.S. colleges and universities. U.S. students find striking differences between teaching goals and methods at PUCMM and their home schools. Teaching methods are less formal, employing a mix of tutorials, readings, discussions, reports, and tests, with less emphasis in analysis. Presentations are often researched and given by individual students or groups, not professors, which requires students to take more initiative for learning.

Class Format

Advanced Spanish language and CIEE courses are open to CIEE students only. Electives through PUCMM’s division of Spanish for Foreigners are open to (up to five) other international or Dominican students. Other PUCMM courses are also open to Dominicans and other foreign students. Professors are from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra or contracted by the Department of Spanish for Foreigners.


In CIEE and PUCMM courses, students are graded from A-F on quizzes, exams, papers, presentations, and class participation. Attendance is mandatory. Incompletes are not accepted.

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

English and Spanish

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


Host Institution Courses

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Advanced Spanish I (6 credits)
Advanced Spanish II (4 credits)
Advanced Spanish III (4 credits)


These classes are offered for foreigners by PUCMM staff, although up to five Dominican and/or international 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.


Caribbean Short Stories
This course offers a panorama of Spanish Caribbean literature in Spanish from the colonial era through the present, with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Course content is developed through lectures, readings, discussion, and analysis of representative works of each period from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. (3 credits)

 Introduction to Dominican Folklore
This class presents a complete and systematic panorama of the different aspects and branches of folklore, with rich Dominican examples so that students can understand easily and appreciate the cultural context into which they are immersed. Examples include verbal folklore (spoken, proverbs, poetry, legends, stories, songs); partially spoken (superstitions, magic, children’s games); nonverbal (gestures, costumes, food); and field work methodology. (3 credits)

 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. This course 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 “seventh art form.” (3 credits)

 Teacher Training Methodology Course and Directed Teaching - 4 CREDITS
This course trains students in teaching English as a second language, giving an overview of recent theories of second-language acquisition and teaching methodologies, practical application, and theoretical principles through class presentations and student teaching. Credit is granted for the course in conjunction with teaching (but not for teaching alone). There is also a requirement for a final paper that combines knowledge learned in the classroom with experience gained in the directed teaching segment. (Please note that although each student who successfully completes this course receives a TESL certificate, the certificate does not fulfill U.S. or foreign requirements for teaching English as a second language. This course is taught in English and is offered on a for-credit basis only with home institution study abroad advisor approval). (4 credits, Contact hours: 28 theory, 56 practicum)


Special Intermediate Conversation
This course is intensive (12 hours per week of class for four weeks) and seeks to develop Spanish communication, above all at the oral level, and to improve the students’ Spanish pronunciation, widen their vocabulary, and teach them some aspects of Dominican culture.  In order to accomplish this, they will be taught some basic theoretical principles, will participate in a series of communicative activities, and will discuss a series of pre-selected thematic readings.  In the classroom, they will take part in presentations, oral readings, and pronunciation, hearing, and comprehension exercises, among others.  Students must already have a solid grasp of basic grammatical structures in Spanish. (3 credits)

 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.  (3 credits)

 Community Service Practicum
Designed for students interested in development or social work, the course seeks to identify the causes of problems in the areas of education, health, and neighborhood-level social service, as well as give students an understanding of the Dominican reality. Complementing the academic coursework is a minimum of four hours of weekly volunteer work in a social service activity in Santiago. There is also a requirement for a final paper that combines knowledge learned in the classroom with experience gained in the volunteer practicum. At the end of the semester, students give a public presentation of their community service experience. Contact hours: 28 theory, 56 practicum. (3 credits)

 Culture and Society of the Hispanic Caribbean
This class examines the parallel and contrasting cultural characteristics of the Hispanic Caribbean through analysis of the different ways in which Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic developed. Students study the history and society of each island, focusing on their intellectual movements, political thought, and artistic and literary movements. (3 credits)

 Afro-Caribbean Cultures
This course looks at the diversity, uniqueness, and unity of the African experience across the Caribbean. The goal of the course is to help students understand the historical roots and social processes of Afro- Caribbean heritage in society, politics, the arts, and various other cultural aspects, including Afro-Caribbean religious beliefs and practices. (3 credits)

 Contemporary Dominican Literature
Dominican literature of the 20th and 21st centuries is surveyed with an emphasis on developments since the advent of Modernism. Topics include the influence of race, geography, and politics; and the effects of 20th and 21st century “Dominican reality” on literary trends. Students gain an understanding of and appreciation for the imagination, esthetic literary values, and spiritual expressions of this country’s contemporary authors of short stories, poetry, and novels. (3 credits)

 Contemporary Latin American Literature
This course provides a survey of modern Latin American literature from 20th century Modernism through the Latin American boom in post-Modernism. Students read and analyze some of Latin America’s most renowned authors of poetry, short stories, essays, and novels. (3 credits)

 Dominican-Haitian Relations
This course examines the realities of the contemporary Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with a review of the historical and structural underpinnings that have influenced relations between the countries. The course addresses historical events that define Dominican-Haitian relations, beginning with the colonial period through the Trujillo Era and into the present. (3 credits)

 Gender and Society of the Hispanic Caribbean
The situation of women in the Hispanic Caribbean is analyzed from a human development perspective using comparative analyses in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. The course examines the variables of health, education, work, politics, and art, starting from the level of development of the individual Hispanic Caribbean countries. Student participation requires extensive field work in Santiago and other sites around the Dominican Republic. (3 credits)

 History of the Caribbean
Caribbean history from the colonial period to the present is surveyed in this course, with an emphasis on the Spanish Caribbean. Topics include conquest and colonization, the rise of sugar, the Haitian revolution and the abolition of slavery, independence movements, economic imperialism in the 20th century, the Cuban revolution, and 21st-century globalization. (3 credits)

 Latin American Culture and Society
In an exploratory and introductory manner, students examine the formation and evolution of the various Latin American cultures and societies in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The course focuses on the principal historic events and the socio-cultural forces and processes that have impacted their development, provided development potential, or blocked the development of Latin American societies. (3 credits)

 Literature of Latin American and Caribbean Women
This course introduces students to literature written by Latin American and Caribbean women from the 19th and 20th centuries. Emphasis is on gender and women’s actual experiences throughout history in terms of their political, social, and cultural circumstances, as well as the discrimination that women have faced in the literary arena. (3 credits)

 Panorama of Hispanic American
This course seeks to help students learn that literature is an evolutionary and dynamic art form that can help them understand the reality of life in a particular Hispanic country at a particular time in history. Students read about and analyze literary movements through the works of the most representative Hispanic American authors from the Conquest Era through present day. (3 credits)

Spanish Caribbean Literature
Literature of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean is examined from its origins to the present, with emphasis on authors and works of the 19th and 20th centuries. Literary movements such as indigenism and negritude are analyzed through the works of representative Dominican, Cuban, and Puerto Rican authors. (3 credits)


Below is a sample offering of the regular PUCMM courses available to CIEE students at Advanced Spanish Level II or III. Not all courses are available every semester and some may require a prerequisite.

 Dominican Economics and its Background
The fundamental characteristics of the Dominican economy and its environment and background are presented in this course. In particular, the course examines the country’s recent history and how this has impacted the principal sectors of its economy. Among the themes to be covered are macroeconomic indicators, sector analyses, political economics, and other themes that have affected the present state of the Dominican economy. (Macroeconomics prerequisite) (3 credits)

 General Psychology
This is a general and scientific view of psychology as a science, and its evolution, methodology, and contemporary currents. The course focuses on the areas of learning, motivation, personality, and behavior. (3 credits)

 History of Political and Social Ideas
This course examines the evolution of political and social ideas from the Ancient East through modern times with a focus on the principal historical events (markers) from which diverse concepts emerged and evolved. The aim of the courses is for students to gain an understanding of these events and their influences in historical context. (3 credits)

 Human Sexuality
This psychology course introduces human sexuality in an integrated format that encompasses all of its multiple facets, both its normal and abnormal aspects, and the relationship between mental health and the exercise of sexuality as an integral element of the personality. Sexuality is seen from a physiological perspective, exploring its links to the psychological processes. Throughout, the course takes a critical approach toward the role of psychology as a viable agent for resolving any conflicts in the area of human sexuality. (Biology prerequisite) (3 credits)

 Introduction to the Hospitality Industry
This course is aimed at introducing students to the wide range of distinct businesses and organizations within the tourism sector. Students study the importance of developing both the worldwide and local tourism industries, which encompass hospitality and services that go far beyond providing simple accommodation, transportation, and recreation to tourists and business  people. There is a focus on the structure of the hotel and restaurant industries as the most important and most developed components of the tourism industry. (3 credits)

 Introduction to International Commerce
This course introduces students to the operation of the international market (both of products and capital), the stock market and how values are set and maintained, methods of international payment and customs operations, and international agreements, including with their legal aspects and effects upon the world economy. The final unit in the course examines the specific case of the Dominican Republic. (Macroeconomics prerequisite). (3 credits)

 Introduction to Philosophy
Students are introduced to the principles of philosophy and logic and their relationship to religion, mythology, and the natural sciences. (3 credits)

 Introduction to Sociology
This course covers the basic theoretical concepts of the science of sociology, focusing on topics that affect Dominican students’ lives, often without their awareness, such as social conduct and social inequalities caused by economic, racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination. (3 credits)

 Photography I
This course examines photography as a means to capture reality and its relevance as communication. Emphasis is placed upon both documentary and artistic results, including visual composition, the communication of ideas, the documentation of events, and the use of individual creativity to express feelings through photographic works. Each student must have a good quality digital or 35mm camera. (3 credits, including laboratory work).

 Rural and Urban Sociology
Students examine agrarian and urban systems and social organization in the Dominican Republic from a historical perspective. The main topics include rural family organization and habitat, the agrarian economy and social relations, migration, urbanization, and industrialization. (Introduction to Sociology prerequisite). (3 credits)

 Christian Anthropology
This course attempts to explore all that it means to be human: including the origins of humankind; the greatness that is the human body and soul; humankind’s limitations, patterns of thought; and the capacity to relate to others in different societies, to relate to nature, and to relate to God. The aim is to instill in students a clear vision, through readings and discussions, of the role of Christianity in the rediscovery and re-evaluation of the dignity of the human being. (2 credits)

 Introduction to the Bible
This course provides an in-depth introduction to the Bible and its wide variety of versions and modern languages. (2 credits)

 Jesus, the Person
Students examine various documents (including the Old Testament and ancient maps) and study Jewish society and religion at the time of the birth of Jesus. The course aims to introduce students to the events of Jesus’ life and death, his legacy, and, most importantly, to Jesus as a person. (2 credits)

 PUCMM ONE-CREDIT COURSES open to all CIEE students.

Artistic Drawing, Drama, Fundamentals of Fine Art, Guitar, Introduction to Singing, Modern Dance, Music Appreciation, Oratory, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Silk-Screening, Stage Scenery and design.

 Dominican Dance and Folklore
Dominican folklore is introduced through regional dances and musical instruments. Students learn to dance traditional merengue, bachata, and salsa (may be taken with other international students or with Dominicans).

 Physical Education
Baseball, Basketball, 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 Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.


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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:

  • Wollitzer Merit Scholarships in Area or Comparative Studies
  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • Stohl International Undergraduate Research Scholarships
  • 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.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Spring 2023 15 weeks Nov 1, 2022 Jan 9, 2023 Apr 21, 2023
Fall 2023 15 weeks May 1, 2023 Aug 25, 2023* Dec 10, 2023*

*Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, your college or university may charge additional fees for study abroad, or may require you to receive a transcript via CIEE's School of Record, which carries an additional fee of $500.

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What's Included

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What's Included

Pre-departure Advising
Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
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
Excursions and/or Study Tours
Travel Protection
CIEE iNext and a local liability insurance
24/7 emergency on-site support

Our Staff

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