ISA Service-Learning in Santiago, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. Its capital, Santo Domingo, is a UNESCO world heritage site, as well as the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas. Dominican Republic's diverse geography includes tropical rain forests, coral reefs, mangrove swamps, whitewater rivers, waterfalls, impressive mountain ranges, deserts, saltwater lakes and miles of white sand beaches. Both the highest and lowest points in the Caribbean are located in the DR, with Pico Duarte at 10,319 feet and the saltwater Lake Enriquillo at 139 feet below sea level. Whether visiting the Samaná Bay humpback whale breeding ground, exploring ruins over 500 years old, or watching the national sport of baseball, you will have numerous opportunities to experience Dominican culture while serving abroad!

Known as the “Heart City" of this sunny Caribbean country, Santiago is the cultural and commercial center of the fertile Cibao Valley region. Located in the northern part of the Dominican Republic and surrounded by mountains, Santiago is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast, but offers a vibrant host of activities for city lovers as well.

There are unique opportunities for any service learner to connect with the community of Santiago in the education, family and youth development, health, and human rights sectors. Intermediate to advanced Spanish speakers interested in shadowing opportunities in the field of heath should look no further. Our numerous partnerships with local public health clinics allow for greater capacity than some of our other locations. Whether participating in service-learning full-time or serving during your semester abroad, there is always another adventure to be had in The Dominican Republic.

Partner Organizations

Housing Details

Living in ISA housing will give you the opportunity to experience aspects of the Dominican lifestyle that are inaccessible to the average visitor to the Dominican Republic. With an open-mind and flexibility, the experience of living in another culture can be highly rewarding.


Host families are best if you are seeking full linguistic and cultural immersion during your time abroad. Each host family has been carefully selected by ISA's resident staff in order to best accommodate your needs and to ensure a comfortable living situation. Homestays will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and laundry service once a week. While students typically have their own room, you might share a room with another ISA student of the same gender.

Independent Housing

You may opt to secure housing independently. If you select this option, you will receive a discount equal to the housing portion of the program price. By choosing to opt out of ISA housing, you are solely responsible for researching and reserving housing, and paying all fees, deposits, and rent directly to the housing facility that you choose.

Housing - Apartments
Housing - Student Residence
Artisan Store Santiago Dominican Republic Dayna Firestone


Excursions & Cultural Activities


Optional Excursions (additional fee may apply)

For participants enrolled in full-time service-learning programs, organized ISA excursions are optional and may be available at an additional cost, depending on program dates and length. When possible, we will communicate excursion prices and dates prior to departure.
For participants enrolled in a Study + Service-Learning combo program, excursions are included in the program fee. Excursions include transportation, entrance fees, and guided tours as well as hotel accommodations and breakfast for all overnight excursions.

Cultural Activities

Cultural activities are included in all programs. The ISA resident staff develops unique cultural activities throughout your program to showcase what makes their city special. These custom-designed activities invite you to learn about the history and culture of your new surroundings. Cultural activities may include city tours, museum visits, sporting events, dance classes, cooking lessons, art and cultural festivals, and more.

Please visit the ISA website for a complete list of excursions and cultural activities in Santiago.

This program is unique in the sense that it has the ability to transcend cultural differences and connect with people so different from one another thanks to one common passion: serving others. If you want the opportunity to really dive into a culture and connect with people of the host community, service-learning is the best way to do it.

Julia O.
(Granada, Spring 2018)

I loved my service-learning experience abroad and would recommend it to anyone! For me, it was a great opportunity to integrate my Spanish language skills with my area of study (nursing), which is a really unique opportunity. It gave me the chance to have more purposeful interaction with the host community during my time abroad, which I think it a key aspect to the study abroad experience.

Rebekah H.
(Valparaiso, Fall 2017)

I learned so much participating in service-learning. This experience allows you to open your mind to so many different ways of life, social issues happening in other countries, and ways you can help. The skills you develop are endless because you learn to work alongside diverse groups and not only share your knowledge but also learn from them as well. This experience really helped me grow as a person.

Jordan P.
(Lima, Summer 2018)