Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Leadership & Service in Public Health

Summer '23 applications open!
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Information for term Leadership & Service in Public Health

Application deadline, and cost information.

Extended Deadline

May 24, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: May 24, 2023
  • Dates: Jun 18 – Jul 8, 2023 (3 weeks)

Extended Deadline

June 15, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: June 15, 2023
  • Dates: Jul 9 – 29, 2023 (3 weeks)


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Make a genuine impact in the Dominican Republic serving in community projects to promote good health and well-being.

Assess the health needs of semi-urban communities in Santiago de los Caballeros and participate in field-based public health education initiatives alongside medical professionals. Meet with medical staff in a government-run clinic and interview community leaders of a welfare program. Analyze the ways local organizations are increasing access to healthcare across socioeconomic levels and the opportunities available to continue improving. Throughout the program, reflect on your service and on what you’ve learned about community needs, medical care, health education, and policy development in the second largest Caribbean nation. Transform your ideas into an actionable plan for future service or to pursue a career in public health.

In this Dominican hilltop city, you will live with a local family and meet local teens to fully immerse yourself in the country’s Caribbean traditions and Spanish language. Enjoy bachata and salsa dance classes, admire Dominican art at the Centro León, grab empanadas or other street fare, play dominos in the park, and really get to know the people.

The Take-Aways

  • Real-World Experience

    Support public health initiatives alongside healthcare providers. Come home with a greater understanding of your own leadership style and societal issues in the Dominican Republic. Be better prepared to take action on local health issues.

  • Credentials for your Future

    Topics for your college essays; experience to inform your future career; a Community Profile documenting how you investigated needs, resources, and perspectives during your service; and a record of your service-learning hours.

  • Life Skills and New Friendship

    Return with greater self-confidence, independence, and improved communication skills. Enjoy a broader worldview and friends of different backgrounds from across the U.S.

  • Hours of service-learning

  • Weeks of community engagement



Location & Culture

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Welcome to Santiago de los Caballeros, the commercial and cultural heart of the Dominican Republic.  

Santiago de los Caballeros, or simply Santiago, is affectionately known as Ciudad Corazón—“Heart City.” Tucked between two mountain ranges in the center of the fertile Cibao Valley, Santiago is the second-largest city of the Dominican Republic and boasts the country’s largest hospital—Hospital Metropolitano de Santiago.  

Even though it was founded in 1495, Santiago is a modern metropolis, thriving on industry and vibrating with culture. As the arts capital of the country, it houses a world-class collection of paintings, a carnival museum, renowned urban murals, and countless cultural exhibits.  

Away from the touristic hotspots, Santiago is a perfect place to experience Dominican day-to-day life. Here you will surround yourself with the contagious happiness of the Santiagueros, the syncopated rhythms of bachata, the national obsession for baseball, and the pride of home cooking inspired by African, Spanish, and Taino flavors.  


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. 

Daily Life

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Daily Life 


Each day offers a balance between interactive instruction, service-learning, and cultural activities with time on your own, too. 

  • Breakfast at the homestay 
  • Hands-on learning with local instructors and healthcare professionals and/or service in community projects 
  • Lunch at the homestay or in the community with your fellow Global Navigators  
  • Out and about for a Cultural Activity
  • Time for writing individual reflections on your service and for holding group debriefs
  • Dinner at the homestay   


  • Overnight or day excursions to top sites  
  • Quality time with friends and everyone at your homestay 
  • Housing

    Carefully-screened homestay

  • 24/7 Support

    1 Program Leader for every 12 students and support from local staff


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Sample Activities

Just imagine all the fun you’ll have!

  • Soak in Dominican natural beauty on a hike up a stunning green mountain, a swim in a picture-perfect beach, or a boat tour around tropical mangroves.  
  • Take dream-worthy pictures on the giant swing flying over the sea in Monte Cristi, a spectacular hidden gem of a town on the northern coast. 
  • Stroll the streets of historic Santo Domingo where the first hospital of the Western Hemisphere was built, Hospital San Nicolás de Bari. 
  • Take an overnight trip to Los Haitises National Park, the area with the greatest biodiversity in the Caribbean and home to unspoiled beaches, a lush rainforest, and caverns with ancient Taíno pictographs. 
  • Slice, dice, and savor in a cooking class at your homestay. Take the recipe home to share a delicious Dominican dish with friends or family. 

Please note activities are based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when arranging activities is always to enhance your experience. 

What Students Are Saying

  • "It's a transformative experience that allows us to experience another culture while being independent and meeting other like-minded people.”

    Victoria H., Global Navigator Alum
  • “We got to try some great food, see some beautiful sites, and just enjoy our time while abroad. Above all, I had fun making new friends!"

    Arlette C., Global Navigator Alum
  • "I had a really fun time and learned a lot. I also loved all of the staff. My favorite thing was the bonfire on the beach."

    Mara W., Global Navigator Alum
  • "I would recommend CIEE programs because it's a really cool experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I've made so many friends and met so many new people that have had a great impact on my life."

    Alejandro A., Global Navigator Alum

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. Find additional details about what’s included with your tuition.   

More questions? Find answers, get application support, sign up for virtual presentations or contact us! 


Application Due

Start Date

End Date


Summer Session I 2023 3 weeks May 24, 2023 Jun 18, 2023 Jul 8, 2023


Summer Session II 2023 3 weeks Jun 15, 2023 Jul 9, 2023 Jul 29, 2023


Looking for funding?

What's Included

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What's Included

Interactive Classes
3 Meals/Day
(Dietary Needs Accommodated)
All Ground Transportation
(Once In-country)
Optional Flight Chaperone
(Flight Cost Not Included)
Pre-departure Advice and Orientation
Access to Local Phone and WIFI
All Cultural Activities and Excursions
Comprehensive Medical and Travel Protection
24/7 Emergency On-site Support

Ready to change your life?