Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Building Eco-Solutions to Empower Communities

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Information for term Building Eco-Solutions to Empower Communities

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

December 6, 2019

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: December 6, 2019
  • Dates: Jun 14 – Jul 4, 2020 (3 weeks)

Extended Deadline

February 14, 2020

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: February 14, 2020
  • Dates: Jul 12 – Aug 1, 2020 (3 weeks)


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Focus on eco-innovation and leadership training while helping communities in need create their own green energy.

Do you enjoy tinkering and figuring out clever tech solutions to real-world problems? Collaborating with diverse groups to improve living conditions for all? This could be just your thing. In the sunny Caribbean, you’ll get hands-on training in building affordable green-energy devices and then teach others in the community how to “spread the light,” near and far.

Working with a global NGO called Liter of Light, you’ll put your Spanish skills to good use while training local teens in sustainable energy production and self-sufficiency. Your task: To create lighting and cellphone-charging stations — using battery kits, recycled plastic and solar panels — to share with households that lack basic electricity: something most of us take for granted. Think of this as a STEM project with legs! As part of a “train the trainer” program, NGO leaders train the CIEE students, who in turn train their peers in the community, who then become youth facilitators in their own communities (under the supervision and leadership of the NGO personnel). And on and on it goes. 

Your days will be full, with daily Spanish classes and peer activities before and after your service work. Along with field trips to places like the Renewal Energy Lab at Instituto Superior de Agricultura, you’ll round out your experience with visits to cultural attractions and scenic destinations. Explore the local mountains on horseback, visiting waterfalls and caves. Learn to dance merengue, salsa and the local favorite, bachata. Chat with talkative and friendly locals in the plaza over dominoes. Enjoy an enormous noonday feast of rice and beans, roasted meat, plantains, sweet potatoes and more with your host family. While there’s plenty of opportunity for coffee and snacks out on the town, almost all meals are shared at home, so you get to know the authentic tastes and traditions of everyday life. 

By the end of your stay, you’ll have gained valuable leadership and training skills and learned first-hand about obstacles that exist for energy production and other basic services in developing countries. At the same time, you’ll be part of an exciting solution that not only empowers communities, but sets the future course for sustainable green energy development worldwide. 

Learn more about our partner NGO here:
What is Liter of Light?
Liter of Light is a global project (operating in more than 20 countries) and a cheap solution for bringing light into the houses of the poor people in countries of the global south without the need of paying electricity bills. We believe in a world where children can read a book inside of their house, so that it is possible for them to achieve everything they want to. Let's illuminate lives with every bottle we build!


    Gain hands-on STEM skills; leadership and training skills; plus experience working with NGO leaders to empower communities to create their own green energy


    Find rewards in teaching others how to create their own energy solutions so they can improve their lives and protect the environment


    A Certificate of International Service Learning (50+ hours)

Location & Culture

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Practice your Spanish and experience a friendly Caribbean city full of culture, baseball, tropical foods and music.

Santiago de los Caballeros, the Dominican Republic’s second largest city, is situated in the northern part of the country along the Yaque del Norte River. It sits in a fertile valley, boasting crops of all kinds, from fruits and vegetables to tobacco and rice, along with the economic mainstays of coffee and cacao.
While Santiago is a commercial and cultural hub, it’s also a small city, easy to navigate, friendly and full of colorful street vendors carrying large baskets of fruit, vegetables, and other goods on their heads. Traditional merchants, called marchantas, ride burros loaded with baskets of goods and call out their wares in a musical chant. You can visit mercados on almost every corner and see the wide variety of foodstuffs that make up the local cuisine, a fascinating mix of African, Spanish, Taino (indigenous people of Caribbean and Florida), and Middle Eastern fare.
The city features a number of museums and historic buildings as well, dating back to Spanish colonial times, and it is famous for bachata, a popular local form of Dominican country music and dance. It’s also home to the popular Dominican Baseball team, Las Aguilas Cibaeñas. Baseball (“Beisbol”) is, of course, the national sport, and you’ll find a baseball stadium/park in nearly every town you visit on the island.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

"After my trip with CIEE I have definitely grown in ways I never could if I had stayed in the US."

Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program by reading our blogs.


    Carefully Screened Host Family


    24/7 Support from your CIEE program leader and in-country CIEE staff members

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs


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Activities & Excursions


  • Go horseback riding and take a nature walking tour down Rancho Baiguate during your orientation
  • Shop along the Calle del Sol. Hunt for bargains and colorful fashions, and visit the artisan shops of Mercado Modelo for a variety of authentic handicrafts
  • Head to the local museum at Fort San Luis
  • Visit a baseball field/stadium/training facility and play a baseball game with locals
  • Learn how to grow and harvest cacao beans – and make amazingly good chocolate! – on a daytrip to a cacao plantation at Sendero del Cacao.
  • Ride a gondola to the top of a mountain in Isabel de Torres, where you’ll visit a historical fortress and catch gorgeous views overlooking the northern coast of Puerto Plata.
  • Enjoy merengue, bachata, and salsa dance classes.

Overnight Excursions

  • Take an overnight excursion to the border side of the country to visit Dajabón Market. Visit a local school, go fishing, and spend day at the Atlantic Ocean, snorkeling and enjoying the western side of the country with your peers.
  • Enjoy weekend trips with Dominican peers to whitewater raft, swim in waterfalls, and snorkel at Cayo Arena, the sand key.

Day Trip 1: Day trip to Playa Ensenada and Cayo Arena
Day Trip 2: 27 Charcos, Puerto Plata, Fortaleza, Cable Car
Day Trip 3: Santo Domingo: Visit to a colonial sugar mill, the Colonial Zone, Tres Ojos National Park


  1. Rancho Jarabacoa: visiting Jarabacoa in a Safari, horseback riding or any mountain activity
  2. Las Terrenas/Samaná: visit Los Haitises National Park, Salto Limón, Cayo Levantado, visit caves where there are Taíno pictographs

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees


  • Program open to all current high school students: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. 
  • For scholarship eligibility requirements, please check our Scholarship page.



Program scholarships and tuition include iNext Travel Insurance, but do not cover the cost of flights. More details about tuition inclusions can be found here.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date


Summer Session I 2020 3 weeks Dec 6, 2019 Jun 14, 2020 Jul 4, 2020


Summer Session II 2020 3 weeks Feb 14, 2020 Jul 12, 2020 Aug 1, 2020


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Ready to change your life?