Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Spanish Language & Dominican Culture

Summer '20 applications are now open!
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Information for term Spanish Language & Dominican Culture

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

Rolling Admissions

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Jun 14 – Jul 11, 2020 (4 weeks)

Application Deadline

Rolling Admissions

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Jul 12 – Aug 8, 2020 (4 weeks)


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Study the Spanish language and authentic local culture in Santiago, the quaint city known as "the heart of the Dominican Republic."

Santiago has streets lined with Spanish colonial architecture dating back to the 15th century and many shops and restaurants that cater to locals. Dominicans are also friendly and welcoming to visitors.

You’ll spend most mornings in Spanish classes, studying the language at your own level with native instructors. The rest of your time is for fun and practicing your language skills – on local streets, expert-guided excursions (often with local Dominican students), and with your homestay as you prepare and share traditional meals, shop, relax, and learn local customs while joining in their daily routines. On most days, you’ll also go home to join your homestay for lunch.

In your free time, hang out with new friends, play dominoes in the park, catch a local baseball game, and enjoy delicious snacks like tostones and empanadas on the go!

  • Language

    60 hours of instruction in Spanish by CIEE professors

  • College Credit

    4 college credits may be used to apply toward your future college degree, to demonstrate your ability to do college-level work, or to test out of a language level in college.

  • Certificate

    A certificate of language learning in Spanish, and documented language growth through pre- and post- program testing

Location & Culture

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Study the Spanish language and authentic local culture in Santiago, the quaint city known as "the heart of the Dominican Republic."

Santiago de los Caballeros, or Santiago for short, is D.R.’s second largest city. But compared to many other cities around the world, it is small! It’s friendly, easy to navigate, and the walk to and from classes is a breeze.

With very few English speakers, Santiago is not considered a tourist city. Still, there are plenty of cultural attractions and things to do. You’ll find a number of museums and historic buildings dating back to Spanish colonial times. Dominican country music, Bachata, comes from Santiago, and the local culture is well preserved and celebrated here.

The city is also home to the popular Dominican Baseball team, Las Aguilas Cibaeñas. Baseball (“Beisbol”) is the national sport and passion of the D.R.! You’ll find a baseball stadium/park in nearly every town you visit on the island.

Situated in the center of the island along the Yaque del Norte River, Santiago is a fertile hub for crops of all kinds. Coffee and cacao plantations are central to the economy – and to the growing ecotourism industry.

Dominican cuisine is a fascinating mix of African, Spanish, Taino (indigenous people of Caribbean and Florida), and Middle Eastern heritage. La Bandera, one of the most common meals, consists of white rice, beans, and stewed or roasted meat. Sancocho is similar but with a bit more spice, plus extras like avocado, plantains, yucca, and sweet potatoes. If you have a sweet tooth, flan – a delectable sponge cake – is the go-to dessert.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

"Today was the best day so far. Going up into the sky car and seeing the city, beach, and thick vegetation was an incredible experience. ..."

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

  • Housing

    Carefully Screened Homestay

  • Local Support

    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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Sample Activities

  • Explore downtown Santiago, its markets, and interesting locations such as El Monumento (a monument built in 1944), San Luis Fort, and El Centro Leon, which showcases vibrant Dominican art
  • 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 and play a baseball game with locals
  • 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.
  • Take an overnight excursion to Montecristi in Northwest DR, full of traditions, merengue music, and gastronomy. Bath in a river, eat locally grown mangos, and meet villagers. You'll spend the last day relaxing at the sea, snorkling and exploring the DR's famous scenic salt mines.
  • Practice your moves at a merengue, bachata, and salsa dance class
  • Learn to make traditional Carnaval Masks
    ​​Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees


  • At least one year of High School Spanish. For intensive language immersion, see our Alicante or Palma de Mallorca programs.
  • Program open to all current high school students: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. 
  • For scholarship eligibility requirements, please check our Scholarship page.

Application Fee


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.

Optional College Credit Fee

$150  Learn more 


Application Due

Start Date

End Date


Summer Session I 2020 4 weeks Rolling Admissions Jun 14, 2020 Jul 11, 2020


Summer Session II 2020 4 weeks Rolling Admissions Jul 12, 2020 Aug 8, 2020


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Our Staff

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Ready to change your life?