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CIEE Santiago, Dominican Republic: Summer Public Health
Santiago, Dominican Republic (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Erin Baker
Minimum GPA:
Language of Instruction: Spanish Language Prerequisite: Yes
Homestay Program Provider: CIEE
Area(s) of Study:
Diverse studies available (see below) Summer Calendar: Early June to mid-July
Program Description:
Dominican Republic Spring 09 group in front of Waterfall

At a Glance

This program provides students with 4 semesters of college-level Spanish the opportunity to gain experience living in a developing Caribbean country, learning about community health, improving their Spanish, and volunteering in a rural health clinic.

Students participate in a community service course with a practicum in public health, volunteer for a week in a rural health clinic, and study Spanish. Students further develop their language skills and cultural awareness by living with Dominican families and attending organized excursions.

Program details at CIEE
Pamphlet focusing on academics and activities (2009)
Program Dates

Who Is the Program For?

The Summer Community Public Health program in Santiago is for students from any VU undergraduate school with an intermediate level of Spanish (4 or more semesters of college-level Spanish). It is expected to be most attractive to those with an academic interest in public health, but it may also appeal to students interested . Previous coursework in public health is recommended, but not required.


The Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) is a private, non-profit institution of higher education dedicated to superior teaching. Founded in 1962, PUCMM has been ranked by the Inter-American Development Bank as the best academic institution of higher learning in the Dominican Republic. The summer program courses have been designed by PUCMM specifically for CIEE students only. All coursework is conducted in Spanish. Students should be prepared for a style of teaching that is more formal and technical, relying primarily on lectures and emphasizing memorization. Readings are typically assigned in class.

This seven-week program consists of six weeks of language and health care courses, and a weeklong semi-rural clinical field rotation. Students also participate in an urban community service practicum in and around Santiago as part of the academic curriculum. Students are required to take all three of the courses offered. As of January 2012, courses were worth 3 Vanderbilt credits each, for a total of 9 credits for the summer session.

Online Course Catalogue
Vanderbilt Course Evaluation List

Dominican Palm Trees

Student Life

The program helps students solidify their Spanish language skills and gain a deeper understanding of the society, culture, economics, and politics of the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region by immersing themselves into Dominican life through homestays. Santiago has many good restaurants and an active nightlife. During the day, there is a busy downtown street life where visitors can see the Parque Duarte, the Cathedral of Santiago, or numerous monuments and museums such as the Tomás Morel Museum of Folkloric Art, the Santiago Museum and the Tobacco Museum. The Leon Jimenez Cultural Center also offers cultural exhibits and performances that are quite popular tourist activities.


Students live in Dominican private homes, and meals are taken at the place of residence. The families generally live within walking distance of PUCMM. Students and their families are asked to speak only Spanish. Living in private homes is considered the best housing arrangement in Santiago because of its practicality (there is no student housing on campus) and its positive contribution to the program's objectives. The cost of housing and meals is included in the cost of the program.

Students live in a semi-rural clinic for up to one week, where they are paired with local medical staff. Prior to their stay at the clinic, CIEE staff take students to shop for food for the week. Some students may prefer to eat at local eateries or arrange to have meals prepared for a nominal fee.

Dajabon in the Dominican Republic


Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic, is surrounded by mountains. Places of historical, cultural, and ecological interest are nearby and easy to get to, and it is just a little over an hour's drive to the Atlantic Coast. Known as La Ciudad Corazón (City of the Heart), Santiago is the commercial and cultural center of the fertile Cibao Valley region. Although it is a growing city with a population of around one million, Santiago retains many features of a small town, and Santiaguero hospitality is known far and wide.

Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
This program is currently not accepting applications.