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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Dominican Republic: Santiago

Semester: Fall, Spring, or Full Year
Offered: Annually
Estimated Dates:  Fall: Late August to mid-December, Spring: early January to mid-April
Program Focus: Regional Area Study with Language Component

Completion of Spanish 202. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a 3.0 GPA in Spanish course study are required.


Host Families 

Campus Contacts:

Matthieu Raillard
Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies, 503-768-7472

Magali Rabasa
Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies, 503-768-7482

Juan Carlos Toledano Redondo
Professor of Hispanic Studies, 503-768-7425

Freddy Vilches
Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Director of Latin American Studies, 503-768-7431

Program Design

In cooperation with the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE), Lewis & Clark offers this study program at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), Santiago Campus, which focuses on the history, culture, and current socioeconomic and political issues in the Dominican Republic. The program includes a week-long orientation that features discussions about the culture, history, and practices that are particular to the Dominican Republic, as well as other practical information about the program and country. This program also features an optional practicum in which students gain exposure to development issues and social service programs. Students gain a better understanding of Dominican society and improve their Spanish language proficiency by taking part in the CIEE Community Language Commitment and speaking Spanish at all times. Ongoing support is provided by CIEE Santiago staff on an individual and group basis throughout the study abroad program.

Santiago de los Caballeros is a city surrounded by mountains in the lush valley of the Cibao region of the Dominican Republic. Known as the “City of the Heart,” this commercial and cultural center known for its relaxed and refined atmosphere—as well as the most vibrant celebration of Carnival in the country. While studying in Santiago, you can explore the commercial street of Calle del Sol, visit one of the more than 100 industrial free trade zone factories in the area, and learn to dance the meringue.

Onsite Staff: The Director of the CIEE Santiago program is Tian Song. Tian is responsible for successful program administration of all semester, summer, and special programs in the Dominican Republic. She earned her BA from Vanderbilt University and completed an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Santo Domingo team in 2014, Tian served as Manager of Student Services for CIEE Shanghai, where she enhanced and strengthened the overall academic, cultural, and residential life program offerings at the growing center. Before CIEE, Tian worked in the Global Education Office at Vanderbilt University as a Study Abroad Advisor and oversaw the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Exchange Student Program. 


Requirements Fulfilled: This program fulfills the 8-credit International Studies general education requirement and the overseas requirement for the Latin American Studies minor.

Credits: Credit earned varies based on courses completed. Students may earn up to 19 credits. Overloads are not permitted. 

Curriculum: Students may take a maximum of 16 credits at PUCMM, including a Spanish language course; the program’s core course, Contemporary Dominican Republic: Political and Socioeconomic Processes; and PUCMM’s elective courses. They may also take the optional 2-credit CIEE Seminar on Living and Learning in Santiago. Based on the results of an on-site language proficiency examination at the beginning of the program, students are placed into one of three advanced language levels, which determines the required language course and electives they may take. Students are required to enroll in the Community Partnership Internship, Poverty and Development Dominican Republic Case Study, Social Research Methods, a Spanish course at their level, and the Capstone Project. Students also have the opportunity to take a 1-credit direct enrollment course elective at PUCMM. A sampling of the courses and course descriptions are available on the CIEE Santiago Liberal Arts program page under the Academics tab.

Excursions: The program offers an extensive agenda of educational excursions throughout the country and provides weekly calendars of local socio-cultural activities in Santiago and the surrounding area. Offerings include rural and urban volunteer opportunities, numerous day trips, and class trips designed to supplement classroom content. Past weekend excursions have included visits to the Valley of Constanza, the Samaná Peninsula, the Bonao area, and Playa Ensenada. Day trips include visits to sites such as the Capital and its Zona Colonial; the Hermanas Mirabal Museum in Salcedo; La Vega during Carnaval season; and to the market town of Dajabón, the principal commercial and economic development zone on the Haitian-Dominican border.

Many field trips are also integrated into academic classes. These may include visits to agricultural and industrial areas, free trade zones, a Dominican tobacco company, local museums, clinics, schools, and nonprofit organizations.

Student Life

Housing: Students live in private Dominican homes with families and meals are eaten at the place of residence. The families all live within walking distance of PUCMM. Students and their families are asked to speak Spanish exclusively.

Cultural Partners: As part of the CIEE Seminar on Living and Learning in Santiago, students share their culture, and learn about a new one through a series of directed homework assignments with a Dominican or Haitian cultural partner. During the semester, students might also talk with Dominican and Haitian university students during a university English class – an educational experience for both program participants and the local students.

Service Work: Two times each semester students will do service work in a rural community. CIEE has a long-standing relationship with many of the service sites. While safe, accommodations for these optional retreats are rustic, often testing the ability of students to adapt to the Dominican rural reality. Students work right alongside local community members.


2020-2021 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition, Program Fee, and Health & Wellness Fee): $34,921

Tuition: $27,416

Program Fee: $7,468

Health & Wellness Fee: $37**

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals. 

*Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

**The Health & Wellness Fee supports the operations of Wellness Services staff in delivering pre-program orientation services, as well as in providing health-related consultation regarding participant health needs. All students in the College of Arts and Sciences pay a mandatory fee of $37 per semester.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to STI): $500 - $1,000

Estimated Travel Document Fees: $200 - $250

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,350.50

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding health insurance & overseas programs.

Program Preparation

Application Process: This program has a dual application process. Student must first submit a Lewis & Clark Application. Once admitted by Lewis & Clark, the students will receive instructions for submitting their secondary application to CIEE and will receive a separate notification letter of admittance.  Please keep a digital copy of your essays and other application materials as you will need to submit these similar materials to CIEE. Please note that this secondary application process can be as late as the semester preceding your scheduled participation.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into Cibao International airport (STI), where they are met by CIEE Santiago staff and transported to the program orientation.

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to the Dominican Republic.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s Dominican Republic page.

Dominican Republic, Santiago