Summer and Spring Break Volunteer Programs in the Dominican Republic
99% Rating
(29 Reviews)

Summer and Spring Break Volunteer Programs in the Dominican Republic

Come join us in the Dominican republic to dive deep into environmental sustainability issues and develop leadership skills to address humanity's greatest environmental challenges.

GLA offers multiple Service Learning Adventures in the Dominican Republic, from environmental conservation, to sports, and medicine & public health programs.

• Building a Sustainable World: Tackle environmental challenges through sustainable service.
• Global Health Initiative: Apply your interest in health and humanitarianism and help bring medical care to rural communities.
• Beachside Service Adventure: Volunteer your time and energy to an island-in-need while living on the coast.
• Sports Service Adventure: Combine your passion for sports and service while working to improve living conditions in Dominican communities.
• Spring Break Service Adventure: Kick your spring break up a notch with a service project.

Locations
North America » Dominican Republic
Program Categories
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
Timeframe
Spring
Summer
Language
English
Starting Price
$2,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Includes: All meals and purified water, Lodging in GLA Home-Base, All excursions and activities, 24-hour emergency hotline, Airport Transportation, Local Transportation, Pre-departure Orientation, Travel, medical and evacuation insurance, Phone call home upon arrival.

Questions & Answers

No! I signed up alone and had never met any of the people that were going to be in the same group as me. If you want you can sign up to go with someone you know but personally I think it makes the trip more fun to go alone because then you get to meet new people.
During my trip, they ensured safety by having mentors and group leaders supervise students. They also had students travel in groups for things like the bathroom. We were almost always under the supervision of the staff and when we weren't, we were in groups. Safety pertaining to the program was not an issue when I went abroad this summer. I hope this helped!
Hi Yvonne, GLA has listed $1,799 for 1 week or $4,699 for 3 weeks

Program Reviews

  • Growth
    98%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    92%
  • Housing
    96%
  • Safety
    99%

Program Reviews (29)

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Emma
Female
16 years old
Walcott, Iowa
Other

Global Health Initiative

10/10

This program is perfect for any high schoolers who have a passion for travel and medicine. I highly recommend taking this trip if you are interested in medicine because Global Leadership Adventures allows you to work with nurses and doctors, as well as take vitals and provide pharmaceutical assistance to the patients. The program gives you an immersive experience that teaches students what medicine is like outside of the United States. The program will also allow you to realize whether or not medicine and public health are the right career paths for you. Outside of service, the lectures taught by GLA staff are phenomenal. You will learn about the economic, political and social cultures of the country, including the state of the country's public health system. As for home base life, the hotel that I stayed in was gorgeous and the food was delicious. GLA staff did a marvelous job of insuring that students feel safe and included in the group at all times. 11/10!

How can this program be improved?

I just wish I could have stayed longer!

AJ
Male

Absolutely Perfect

10/10

This program has taught me so much! I have been on two trips with GLA and they have had such a huge impact on me and my veiw of the world. It is such a transformative experience and it is so much fun!! I cannot think of a better way to spend my summer than with fellow teenagers having an adventure in a new country and volunteering. Thank you so much for the great experince GLA!! I wouldn't change I thing and I am so happy with the friends I made and the things I did abroad.
-AJ

How can this program be improved?

Not at all.

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Lola
Female
17 years old
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Other

Global Health Initiative in Dominican Republic

10/10

This trip left me totally inspired and motivated. I have a new love for Dominican and the people there, it is just gorgeous. We spent a lot of time in the communities setting up pop-up clinics, and helping with the construction of labs and clinics. It sparked my interest in nursing and I was able to learn a lot from shadowing the doctors there and taking notes.
What I liked was that it was away from all the tourism, you got to see more of the raw, real Dominican. I have a friend that went on vacation to Dominican, and our trips turned out to be very different. I was happy I got to see the real thing, and learn about the struggles the communities face. It is also interesting to actually be there and not fully relying on different forms of media to tell you what its like. You get to actually be there!
I do wish that I had practised more spanish before the trip. Although I was able to still communicate through motions and pointing, it would be totally different if I could actually speak that language. It was an overall amazing experience.

How can this program be improved?

More clinic days would be nice.

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Dana
Female
46 years old
MI
Ohio State University

Dominican Republic 10-Day Beachside Service Adventure 2016

10/10

My name is Grace Lee and I was fortunate enough to have gone on the 10-Day Beachside Service Adventure in the Dominican Republic with Global Leadership Adventures, this past summer. I was a 15 year old and had just finished my freshman year of high school when I embarked on an experience that would change my life forever. Before, the DR I had never traveled internationally alone and had no idea what to expect. To calm many of your nerves, regardless of what your parents tell you about traveling internationally, it is something you figure out on your own. Luckily, when you sign up for your Global Leadership Adventures' program they provide you with a list of all the other kids in your program with their address, phone number, email, and most importantly their flights information. This allows you and your family to coordinate flights with the other kids on your trip, which is very helpful if you are uneasy about traveling solo. Global Leadership Adventures also sends you a shirt, an information booklet about your program, and a sticker before your trip. You wear the shirts on the day of travel, so you can find other kids from your program in the airport and your mentors once you arrive in the country. Also Global Leadership Adventures is very helpful and will provide clear answers to any questions or clarification one may have. Global Leadership Adventures is an amazing organization and I highly recommend it to any teen interested in volunteering abroad.

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Ellie
Female
16 years old
bolton

The Best Time of My Life

10/10

At first i was scared to go on a Global Leadership Adventure trip, knowing that i didn't know anyone going and would probably be one of the youngest ones on the trip. Looking back, if I were to not go on the trip because I was too scared or nervous, I would have hated myself for it. My trip was the best thing I've done in my life and literally changed my life. The people down in the DR are the most welcoming and friendly you will find, with great support of the staff. I made life long friendships with people from ALL over the world. This trip was one for the books and it will never be forgotten! I encourage everyone do a GLA trip!

Julia
Female
16 years old
Suwanee, Georgia

Ten Day Beach Side Service in the Dominican Republic with Global Leadership Adventures

10/10

On my service trip to the Dominican Republic we built a house out of recycled bottles for a family of nine. We spent five days working very hard on the house. Even though the family could not speak English we were able to grow close to them. It was a very humbling experience working on this house. The house was the size of a small living room and had only two rooms and then a bathroom. Nine people were going to live in this house and they thought it was a mansion compared to what they were living in. One day myself and another girl in my group were able to cook with the mother in the house and her mother. Even though they did not have a lot they were the happiest people I have ever met. Luckily for me the girl in my group that cooked with me could speak fluent English, so she was able to translate for me. They told us how thankful they were and showed us so much love. I think every teenager should experience the feeling of knowing you are doing something good for another person and to feel like they can make a change.

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Catherine
Female
18 years old

14 Day Global Health Initiative

10/10

The trip with Global Leadership Adventures is so worth it. When I went, we usually woke up, ate breakfast, and then went to our activity of the day (usually walking which made it more fun). We got to do service activities like building a house out of recycled plastic water bottles (!!!) or visiting a Haitian batey which was so eye opening. Even though some activities may be emotionally or physically harder than others, the people around you is what it makes it all worth while. Everyone in my group got along and we still talk. Then there's the recreational activities like zipping which is beautiful. And even though the price of the trip may be a little much, there's tons of different ways to fundraise and the trip will definitely be worth the cost. For activities we usually wore athletic shorts and a t-shirt or tank, but in the communities we wore long pants (about 3 days where you need to wear long pants). Oh and do not forgot mentors. Your mentors are the greatest people and they will teach you so much on this trip, GLA mentors are undoubtably amazing. Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you choose to go on this trip!

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Julia
Female
18 years old
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Global Health Initiative (Dominican Republic): Global Leadership Adventures

10/10

After a long day of building houses out of recycled soda bottles and a lecture about the possible negative effects of foreign aid, my group mates and I retreated to the patio around the pool. On the rural coast of the Dominican Republic there were few lights to mask the beauty of the night sky. As we laid on the ground outside our lovely huts we were able to see shooting stars and share our dreams and aspirations. Under a blanket of clear constellations I was able to learn so much about myself and make life long friends.

After our bonding under the stars, we retreated to our lovely mosquito netted bunks and fell asleep to the calming sound of the ocean and the quiet clicking go bugs.

How can this program be improved?

This program could be improved by providing a more accurate itinerary of the trip.

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Teah
Female
18 years old
Boston

Such an amazing experience

10/10

Going to the Dominican Republic with Global Leadership Adventures (GLA) was truly an amazing experience. During the Spring Break trip, you visit several communities in the area. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone. I was about to really understand the issues people are dealing. Even though I don't speak Spanish, I was able to still connect with several of the kids in the community. That was highlight of my trip. If you have a passion for traveling and experiencing other cultures, I highly recommend going on a GLA program.

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Clara
Female
17 years old
Brookline

21-day Sustainability Program in the DR

9/10

Going to the Dominican Republic for three weeks was completely life changing. Not only were were the experiences I had so memorable, but I was able to create great friendships to last much longer than the program. We were exposed to things completely different from everything at home, and had to adapt to an entirely new way of life for 3 weeks. Getting used to not having wifi and taking cold showers was much easier than I imagined, and easily the least of what I was thinking about. I was more preoccupied with listening to the lectures and thinking about the work we had done during the day. It made me more myself than ever and allowed me to take a break from the superficiality that is easy to get caught up in at home. Overall, going on this trip was refreshing and allowed me to come back with new perspectives and knowledge of the world.

How can this program be improved?

I think it could be improved by allowing students to have a little bit more freedom. But other than that, everything was good.

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May
Female
17 years old
Wilmette

A Worthwhile Experience

10/10

Over the summer, I went on the 21-day GLA Dominican Republic: Building a Sustainable World trip. It was a great experience and I had an amazing time. From meeting the locals to talking about how we impact our environment, I was able to learn a lot of new things while getting to know some pretty exceptional people. I thought that 7elements and GLA did a great job integrating an educational factor to the trip and that it was a perfect mix of service and fun.

The lodging was beautiful and it was really close to the beach, so we were able to go to go the beach after long days of building basketball courts or constructing green houses. The work hours were really fun and interesting because of all the exposure to the Dominican culture and lifestyle.

My favorite experiences were the service hours we completed because I really felt like we made a difference. Turning cement for hours can be vigorous, however, the outcome was more than worth it. We were able to help establish a water filter/tank for a local batey. A batey is a community made of both Dominicans and Haitians and they are usually very segregated because of all the political issues the countries have had with one another. It was great seeing our progress, especially after witnessing the quality of the water the community uses on a daily basis.

Other than the service, I loved all of the excursions that were offered. We were able to go cliff jumping into lagoons, hike mountains, snorkel, sightsee in Santo Domingo, go to waterfalls and beaches, tour a water filter factory, go to a Haitian market, and go on a cable car. There was always something to do or see, so you could never be bored. Every excursion helped get you out of your comfort zone and brought you closer to the people around you. Whether it was jumping from the 30 ft. cliff or struggling through the Haitian market, you knew you had people behind you.

This program made me reflect on my life, figure out what I am passionate about and discover what I want to accomplish in the future. It’s one thing to see the conditions that these people live in and it’s another thing to witness them. There are no words to describe the feeling of entering the Haitian side of the batey, where barely any of the kids were clothed and families of 5+ lived in windowless, 1-room houses, and have all of the kids run to play with you.

Overall, I had an amazing time on my trip and I think that it helped me grow as a person. It’s revitalizing to experience these moments and to learn about how we can help one another on a local and global level. I hope that I can use what the program taught me and help make our world a better place. For all of these things that I was able to learn and experience, I would absolutely recommend this trip to other kids who want to broaden their horizons and who genuinely love to help others.

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Jt
Male
23 years old
State College, PA
Pennsylvania State University

Three Years Later

10/10

I took this trip after my Freshman year in college. Now I am a graduating senior and I look back to think about how much this trip has truly changed my life. You learn so much from the families you come in contact with and it has shaped where I see my career going in the future. I would go back in a heart beat!

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Rebekah
Female
19 years old
Nassau, the Bahamas
Drexel University

21 Days of Pure Bliss

10/10

When I embarked on my trip to the Dominican Republic through GLA, I had no idea what was in store for me. I thought it’d open my eyes to the world and the different conditions people live in, but I didn’t realize how incredibly my entire perspective on life would be affected.
Between the community members I interacted with, the mentors helping us process it all, and the other kids on the trip, I was inspired. I realized I have so much compared to some people, and that I have the ability to make an impact in the world. I realized there are other people like me, who need to make a difference to feel satisfied with their lives. I learned life lessons from people who have experienced life much differently than me. The mentors were truly some of the most inspiring people I have ever met, and in my other peers I could see the potential to do so much good in the world.
The trip was a good mix of service work and adventures through the beautiful island. We took a weekend trip to Santo Domingo, went in the mountains, hiked to a waterfall, and went to a Haitian market. Throughout all of the adventures, I was grateful to be surrounded by supportive people, who didn’t pressure me into anything, but encouraged me to do what they knew I was capable of. I was grateful to be able to appreciate the peacefulness of nature, the loud market, the bustling city, and the beautiful mountains. Being able to immerse in a culture so unlike my own in such a safe way is something I’m forever grateful of.
On this trip, I met little kids who live in the worst conditions imaginable, and yet have the most beautiful laughs that they show off often. I jumped off a cliff and I hiked my first mountain, and was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I got when I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. I helped to create cement floors and build community centers. I felt humble, excited, inspired... and now I feel changed. After returning home, I realize this trip changed the way I look at others, the world, and most importantly, myself. I am stronger than I think I am, and this trip helped me to realize that. I have learned that we all have the ability to change the world...we all can "be the change." I am so grateful to have had the chance to do this, and I would do it all over again if I could.

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Ilana
Female
19 years old
New Jersey

My GLA Experience in the Dominican Republic

10/10

If you're looking for a way to volunteer while having a great time and making new friends, Global Leadership Adventures is the way to go! I had the best experience with them and learned a lot while having fun. I went to the Dominican Republic (Beach Adventure) for 10 days. I made a lot of wonderful new friends there, some of whom I'm still in touch with 7 months later. During the trip, we built bottle schools and played with the children there. That was exhausting... however, we were not even 2 minutes walking distance from the beach and could relax there on any given night. I had an amazing, eye-opening experience there and I would 100% recommend this trip!

How can this program be improved?

There is only one thing i would change about this program. I wish the rooms could've been a bit better suited for the enviroment, maybe they could add fans and more netting to keep bugs out.

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Melanie
Female
19 years old
United States

21 happiest days of my life

10/10

My parents were so skeptical when I first told them about this trip. My dad had this horrible imagine in his head of his daughter being sent off to a dangerous, far away country. We even wondered if the trip was a scam. Now, I can't help but laugh at all of this, 6 months after my trip.

I went on the 21 day trip and I honestly believe it's the only and best way to do this program. It will be worth every penny. If I had gone for one of the shorter trips it would have been the worst decision ever because after 21 days, leaving was still the hardest thing I've done in my life. It felt like there was still so much to learn and do.

It feels so weird writing this review. I remember reading a bunch of these when I was researching the program and thinking they must be exaggerating when they said "it was the best experience of my life". But now I find myself thinking about the Dominican every single day, and working on a project to go back this 2015 summer because it honestly changed my life. The program goes WAY beyond just teaching you about sustainability. They teach you about defining your own success, they teach you about doing what makes you happy and doing whats right. You learn how to stick up for those that were born into less privileged situations than you were. You learn how to be happy and for the first time in your life you care about the true simple things in life. When I arrived in California after my trip I found that my house seemed 20 times bigger and filled with luxury. I was grateful for having clean water to drink, I was grateful for eating 3 times a day, I was grateful for my beautiful room that was so well built and warm, I was grateful for having shoes to wear and a warm shower and a free education.

When I got back I promised myself that I would write a review on the program and make myself available to anyone who has questions because I know that the people that I was able to get in contact with were the best help I got. Theres just something reassuring about talking to a real person who's been through the program so I'm here for any of you, please contact my facebook and message me.

Sincerely
Melanie

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Maya
Female
19 years old
New York, New York

All Around Amazing Experience

10/10

I did a 10 day trip this summer and it was definitely one of, if not the, best experiences of my life. From the unbelievably important work we were doing to the crazy adventurous things we did, I had a great time. We helped build the biggest bottle school in the world, planted hundreds of trees, interacted with the local communities, went zip-lining and cliff jumping into gorgeous waters and so much more. I wouldn't change anything about my time down there except for making it longer. I think it's an essential experience for us young people to go out and experience other, less privileged lifestyles and get a real sense of what's going on in the world first-hand and I don't think there's a better way to do that than with Global Leadership Adventures. I'm attaching a picture of me on my trip when we went to an extremely poor village to establish relationships with the people there in order for future GLA groups to help them effectively.

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Hannah
Female
19 years old
Boston, Mass

Best trip I've ever been on!

10/10

I had so much fun on this program it was very enlightening and inspiring. I never once felt unsafe during this program. I would honestly recommend it to anyone. I felt independent doing this program. I felt like I really made a difference in the communities that we helped by building the bottle schools and picking up the trash at La Grua. It was an adventure packed trip that was still able to teach me a lot of lessons.

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Elizabeth
Female
19 years old
Boston,MA

Couldn't have asked for a better experience!

10/10

Over the course of my ten day trip in the Dominican Republic I met many new friends (both native and volunteers,) learned about sustainability, all while feeling completely safe and taken care of! I would recommend this program to anyone between ages of an incoming freshman to an outgoing senior. This program taught me all about how other people live and I am forever thankful to my parents for sending me on the trip and the staff members for creating such a great experience! Go to experiencegla.com to book your trip now!

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Abby
Female
19 years old
Boston, MA

Best service trip ever!

10/10

Global Leadership Adventures is an amazing program! The 10 days of the Beachside Service Adventure trip were the best 10 days of my life! The service was humbling, the locals very welcoming, and the environment very safe. I loved getting to know the local schoolchildren while we were building the bottle schools, and getting to tour the villages! The staff was fantastic. I was a little nervous going in because I had never been away for so long before, but I felt secure and comfortable the entire time I was there. I met some of my best friends on this trip by bonding over the life changing experience! I recommend Global Leadership Adventures' programs to anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.

How can this program be improved?

One possible improvement could be a smaller group size. When there are too many people trying to do a few jobs, it can get a bit cramped. The group may be more productive if there are less members.

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Alanna
Female
19 years old
Los Angeles, California

My Dominican Experience

10/10

This past summer, I went to the Dominican Republic with Global Leadership Adventures. I can honestly say I couldn't be happier with my decision to go abroad with this amazing program. It was such a life changing experience and I owe it all to GLA. I will never forget my trip and the life long friends I made. I learned so much about the lives of the people there and how much of an affect we have on them. It was educational and fun and I couldn't think of a better way to see such a beautiful country. The locals were so welcoming and helpful. Overall, this is such a great program and I couldn't thank GLA enough for all they did for me.

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Samantha
Female
19 years old
United States

Beachside Service Adventure 2014

10/10

I spent 10 days volunteering in Haitian and Dominican communities in the Dominican Republic. It was a fantastic experience that I would recommend to anyone in high school. I learned so much about sustainability, politics, and the environment, and am inspired to make a lasting positive impact on this country.

How can this program be improved?

I wish I were in the country longer! All the people I met were absolutely lovely and I wish I had more time to spend with them. Also, more vegetarian options for Home Base meals would be nice.

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Emma
Female
19 years old
Basking Ridge, New Jersey

Best Experience of My Life!!!

10/10

I went on the Dominican Republic Beach Side Service Adventure trip and I can truthfully say that my life has been changed for the better. My time in the DR taught me the importance of global awareness and how what we do can affect others so profoundly. I feel so blessed to have gotten to be a part of the bottle school construction. We built the largest bottle school in the world in Caraballo- a Haitian and Dominican community. The school has 6 classrooms! We also built a bottle clinic in Las Canas and picked up trash in La Grua. What stuck out to me was all the smiles on the local kids' faces. When our bus pulled up to our work site, they would all come running and grab our hands and we would play with them and they helped us with the work. The kids were always excited to see us and their happiness was contagious, making all of us happy to do the work. There was this one little boy in Las Canas, his name was Juan, and he insisted on helping me spread cement. And when we needed a break, we would hit around a baseball for a little bit. I'll never forget the people I met because they were the greatest people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. While the work was fun, it was also hard- so we were rewarded with two off days. The first one we went to Dudu Lagoon where we jumped into a fresh water lagoon that was freezing cold. If you didn't want to jump you could zipline in which is preferable for people like me who are afraid of heights. The second day, we went snorkeling and shopping in Sosua. That was great because I had the chance to buy my family and friends some Dominican souvenirs and also practice some bartering. While I enjoyed the relaxation, I mostly wanted to be at the work sites. That was one thing I would change for the program- more time at the work sites. This program taught me the importance of hard work and also the importance of kindness. Thanks to my experience, I want to continue working abroad doing things like this. Global Leadership Adventures is the perfect experience for teen service and adventure and I really recommend it to everyone in high school!

How can this program be improved?

More time at the work sites.

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Lily
Female
19 years old
New Jersey

Service Trips Change Lives

10/10

Last August, I had the opportunity to go the Dominican Republic on a 10 day service trip with Global Leadership Adventures. It was without a doubt inspiring, life changing, and amazing in every way. But there is so much more to the program than just that. I describe it as life changing, but it wasn't just my life that experienced alterations. By doing meaningful service in impoverished communities and changing someone else's life, I know that I made a difference.

My program was a balance of service and adventure. For the service aspect, I got to work on what will be the largest bottle house in the world once it's completed. Built from thrown away plastic bottles, the sustainable 6-room house will serve as a medical facility and a school, among other things. We met the doctor who is going to be utilizing the space for a clinic. He had such a passion about the work that he does. It made me so grateful to be a member of the team, and helped me to visualize the immediate impact my work would have.

I strongly recommend this trip to any teen. If you are considering going on a trip, do not hesitate. Yes, you will have to jump outside your comfort zone, but you will learn to love it after just one day. Go on a service trip to change the lives of others for the better, and your life will change as a result.

How can this program be improved?

The lodging was very bare-bones, which I became used to but wasn't expecting. The shock of that in addition to taking my first independent flight was slightly overwhelming, but again, the living conditions are something you become familiar with very quickly.

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Laiba
Female
19 years old
Mcallen, Texas

Dominican Republic Beachside Service Adventure

10/10

During my transformational service trip in the Dominican Republic, I experienced aspects of poverty that I have never seen before. Members of my volunteer group and I were told that we were going to be completing various tasks involving manual labor as part of several service projects that would help alleviate some of the symptoms of poverty seen in two villages and a Haitian Refugee camp in the Dominican Republic. I was introduced to many Dominican and Haitian children and was completely immersed into their culture. I made many new friends and felt that the impoverished communities that I had been working with provided me with the greatest gifts that I could ever ask for: awareness, empathy, and a drive to make a difference.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly, I would not change a thing.

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Oliver
Male
19 years old
Denver, Colorado

Eye-opening & Inspirational Opportunity

10/10

I didn't really know what to expect when going on my GLA trip to the Dominican Republic but I came back much more motivated and excited than when I had left. That's what is special about the GLA program in the DR. You experience social, environmental, and economic problems firsthand and return enlightened with a sense of empowerment of how to address sustainability issues at home.

The lodging is quite authentic, being housed in structures built with traditional materials open to the outside. The pool and the beach are nearby, perfect for a much-needed cool down after a hard day's work. The food, which consists almost entirely of chicken, rice, and beans, along with the island's fresh fruit, is simple yet delicious. There is plenty of fun to be had snorkeling, hiking up Brison, zip-lining into a giant pit of water, and just spending time at the beach. Of course there is still lots of work which I found the most rewarding. We worked on building bottle schools, creating a trail for an eco-tourism venue, digging a huge trench to reroute a river in order to prevent flooding, constructing an aquaponics system, participating in a reforestation project, clearing invasive species, and simply cleaning up the beach. We also visited Dajabon, a town on the Haitian border; we stayed in Jarabocoa, a town in the mountains; we also ventured to the 500-year-old capital, Santo Domingo. All of these excursions were fascinating new experiences.

My favorite part of the trip was time spent in Ascensión, a Haitian refugee village where we worked on building a bottle school. We saw actual poverty firsthand, where the villagers were cut off from outside recourses, live without the basic necessities that citizenship provides, and often eat only once every other day. This is what inspired me to go home and continue to try to make a difference, and helped determine what I want to do with my life. I would recommend going to the DR with GLA to anyone.

How can this program be improved?

Be prepared to live pretty rough for a few weeks but that's a good thing. Plenty of spiders as well as getting covered in dirt and sweat. If I could change one thing I'd want to spend more time working or experiencing issues firsthand rather than having fun as a tourist.

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Taylor
Female
19 years old
New Hampshire

My Life Changing Experience :)

9/10

Travellig to the DR with GLA really changed my life and i would not be the same person i am today if i had not attended. It brought perspective to me on how lucky and fortunate our country is. But most of all i learned the really meaning of happiness and how be not having certain advantages and technology, the community was more close knit. I will be returning on my own time and hopefully with GLA. I highly recommened this trip to anyone, but ecspecially to first time travellers. it was not too far, but just enough to feel independent.

How can this program be improved?

I would have to say that our days were quite extended and exhausting, but in the end it turned out to be worth it. Even if you dislike one job, you are more than likely to enjoy another.

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Michael
Male
19 years old
Portland, Oregon

Unique, Fun, Life Changing

10/10

I have had the opportunity and privilege of going to the Dominican Republic with Global Leadership Adventures in the summers of 2012 and 2013. I am also a current 2013 ambassador for the program (I advocate for the program). Like many other alumni can attest to, it was a very unique, fun, and life changing experience. If you (potential participant) or your child (for parents) are interested in this program, I cannot speak highly enough about the staff and experience. The staff consists of the program director, mentors, and a few alumni conducting research or projects in the Dominican Republic. Though the program puts teens in some environments that, honestly, can be quite uncomfortable given that the Dominican Republic is a developing country, at no point during both of my trips did I feel unsafe or in any sort of danger. I based my college essay off of a visit to the Haitian refugee camp and I admit that I was uncomfortable at first but I like many others from both groups I went with think that it was the highlight of the trip.

Global Leadership Adventures balances service and fun very well. While service is an emphasis on all Global Leadership Adventure programs, it is well understood that teenagers like to have some downtime. On the Dominican Republic trips the programs take the groups to tourist beaches including a day of snorkeling. The home base is just a stones throw away from the beach as well. The program also takes groups to an eco-park where there are sports, swimming, and a zipline that participants go over before dropping into a lagoon.

The home base is located in Las Cañas, a small town outside Puerto Plata. The participants stay in rooms that accommodate about 7 people and have showers, sinks, and bug nets over the bed. There is always purified drinking water and the food is cooked by a Dominican family that has been working with the Dominican Republic program for a few years so the food is always safe to eat. There is also a pool in each part of the home base (two pools).

Global Leadership Adventures has a high emphasis on safety and makes sure participants are supervised or otherwise with at least one other participant at all times. Again I cannot speak highly enough about the Dominican Republic program and Global Leadership Adventures. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or go to "experiencegla.com." There is also a lot of information on the Global Leadership Adventures Facebook page as well as specific GLA country pages.

How can this program be improved?

The home base should not be mistaken for a hotel. Participants will have encounters with spiders around the room but I found that it was a pretty funny experience.

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Deepti97
Female
19 years old
Boca Raton, Florida

Fantastic!

10/10

I attended GLA’s 21-day Building a Sustainable World trip to the Dominican Republic this past summer. I can state without reservation that those 21 days singlehandedly altered my perspective both on global issues—poverty, international relations, and our population’s relationship with the environment—and on what I want to do with my life.

From my experience, what I imagine sets GLA apart is the experience, knowledge, and passion of the staff (two program directors and several counselors), who are inspiring, to say the least. I felt absolutely comfortable throughout my stay. Maintenance and food are handled by a couple of families who live in the surrounding, relatively impoverished community of Las Canas and have worked with GLA for a while. The food was simple, delicious, and healthy; our home base was rustic but clean, cozy, and safe.

Our service centered on three main sites: Ascension, a Haitian refugee village, home to extreme poverty and political difficulty (the refugees in the village are stateless and cannot leave their community whatsoever), where we helped on the foundation for a bottle school; Las Canas, where different groups worked on assorted projects, like rerouting a river, paving a gravel trail, and digging for an aquaponics project; and La Boca, where we helped on the construction of a bottle school. The service was concrete and fulfilling; I think we were genuinely useful during the hours that we worked.

Educational activities included trips to historic Santo Domingo, an eco-institute in the mountain town of Jarabacoa, and the shocking market and Haitian border at Dajabon, which I don’t think I’ll ever forget. These experiences, combined with the service, the documentaries on the environment and other world issues that we watched, and our lecture-discussions, truly changed me, for the better. :) We also got to enjoy snorkeling, ziplining, the Dominican Republic’s spectacular beaches, and plenty of fun!

The other kids on the trip were amazing. It’s hard not to become close over 21 days! It was awesome to meet kids from all over the country, as well as England. Reading reviews on other websites for similar trips before I went on my own, I wondered if our trip would be filled with “snobby” kids who didn’t care or didn’t want to work, as some reviews described; thankfully, it wasn’t at all.

Some notes: It isn’t necessary to speak any Spanish for the trip, though it’s definitely a good idea to brush up on some words before you go. It also isn’t required that you know much about environmental problems or sustainability before you go—I didn’t, but I learned so much on the trip; I’m now inspired to learn more on my own. That said, you do need an open mind and a strong willingness to work hard. Another recommendation: it’s a great idea to keep a journal during your trip, because you’ll see and experience so much.

I can’t stress how strongly I recommend GLA—my experience this past summer was fantastic!

How can this program be improved?

I loved my trip, but if I had to change something: I would have loved to spend even more time at the service sites, and I would have loved to have spent more time touring Santo Domingo.

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Molli
Female
19 years old
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Life changing experience

10/10

I highly recommend this trip to anyone who loves kids, adventure, and the beach! Puerto Plata is a beautiful place to spend your volunteer experience at. I went on the beachside service adventure for 10 days. I accomplished so much in 10 days!

The highlights of my trip was spending my time building a bottle school for the children of this village, jumping off a waterfall, meeting wonderful people, and hiking for 3 hours straight! Everything was so worthwhile and amazing.

The food you will eat on the trip really allows you get the feeling for the culture! It basically is rice, beans, chicken, and fruit everyday! It's so delicious!

You will meet people from all over the country and learn so many things on your journey. You will learn anything from how to mix cement in the scorching heat with a shovel to how to negotiate a price on something from the local stores.

This place is seriously worthwhile and if anybody has any questions about the trip, please email me at [email protected]

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With a history and heritage in global education, Global Leadership Adventures packs our itineraries with leadership development, volunteering and the delight of taking learning off the beaten path. Our unique program design produces what many students call a life-changing experience, not just a spring break

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