Summer and Spring Break Volunteer Programs in the Dominican Republic

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A full spectrum of Chinese adventure awaits, as complex as the country itself. Hike the Great Wall of China and experience Mandarin immersion and language classes on our China: Mandarin Service Adventure program!

About

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.
• Caribbean 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.
• International Development Initiative: Examine the management structure and impact of NGOs.

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

Reviews

99%
based on 32 reviews
  • Growth 9.8
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.6
  • Safety 9.9
  • Program Selection 9
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 9
  • Value 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 32
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Rebekah
10/10

21 Days of Pure Bliss

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Ilana
10/10

My GLA Experience in the Dominican Republic

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Melanie
10/10

21 happiest days of my life

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

Yes, I recommend
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Maya
10/10

All Around Amazing Experience

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Hannah
10/10

Best trip I've ever been on!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Elizabeth
10/10

Couldn't have asked for a better experience!

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!

Yes, I recommend
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Abby
10/10

Best service trip ever!

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Alanna
10/10

My Dominican Experience

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Samantha
10/10

Beachside Service Adventure 2014

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Emma
10/10

Best Experience of My Life!!!

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Lily
10/10

Service Trips Change Lives

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Laiba
10/10

Dominican Republic Beachside Service Adventure

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Oliver
10/10

Eye-opening & Inspirational Opportunity

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Taylor
9/10

My Life Changing Experience :)

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Michael
10/10

Unique, Fun, Life Changing

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.
Yes, I recommend

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Meet the Alumni

About Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

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...