High School Volunteer Abroad in Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic is a destination famous for its beautiful white sand beaches, energetic culture, and friendly natives. Located on the island of Hispaniola – a part of the Caribbean - the Dominican has the 2nd largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. With all that the Dominican has to offer, any visitors are sure to fall in love with this beautiful country and its people.

As a high schooler, you can look at this as a chance to strengthen your Spanish skills, add to your international experience, gain self dependency before heading off to college, and add some impressive service learning hours to your college application. Volunteering overseas while still in high school is an excellent way to set you apart in college admissions.

Photo credit: benkucinski.

For high school students, most volunteer opportunities occur in the summer time and last a few weeks (though trips can span from 2 weeks to 2 months.) Since the time frame is much shorter, it's important to find a program that won't be too disturbed by the constant influx of volunteers.

English Tutoring: With limited access to every-day resources like books, pencils, and teachers, volunteers and supplies are helpful to the education system. However, since students have limited available time, and usually come during the summer, formal teaching isn't an option. Instead, student volunteers can tutor children and help teach them English, or any other subject needed, as a summer program. If living with a host family, there is also a great opportunity to tutor English.

Service Learning: Much of the Dominican is undergoing sustainability projects that involve public health, community development, eco service, and other community projects. Student volunteers are able to be fully immersed in the community while learning important transferable skills, like construction, gardening, and painting. The overall goal of these projects is to improve the general quality of life for the people in these communities as well as to build tangible skills that can be used for college applications or fulfill service learning requirements.

Marine Conservation: As an island, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the coral reefs and marine wildlife. As a student volunteer, you can work on a marine conservation project that could involve gathering data, observing marine animals, and getting your scuba diving certification! This is the perfect opportunity for students interested in biology.

For high school volunteers, the biggest hurdle to face is convincing their parents to let them have freedom. It is difficult for a parent to think of letting their child go to another country alone but they needn’t worry. Most programs offer amazing support systems - e.g. airport pickup, orientation, supervision, and volunteer support.

While vaccinations are a must before heading abroad, parents can always check with their physicians beforehand to get proper instruction. While the body learns to adjust to temporary life in a new country, parents should make sure their students pack anti-diarrheal pills and over-the-counter medicines so that their child is prepared for any situation.

Also, pickpocketing does happen in the Dominican. Educate your child on being aware of their surroundings and how to avoid those circumstances by keeping possessions close and not carrying around flashy items. This will leave children better prepared, and combined with the support from the staff, your child will be safe.

Financial Costs

Depending on the length of the trip, where the project is located, and what the program includes, the price of a trip to the Dominican could range anywhere between $1,500-$3,500. To lower the cost of volunteering in the Dominican, consider fundraising and applying for scholarships. There are several websites such as GoFundMe and CrowdRise that allow you to raise money for a personal cause.

Contributed by Kalee Fambrough

Showing 10 Programs

Dominican Republic
Rustic Pathways
Rustic Pathways programs in the Dominican Republic demonstrate our dedication to service. Programs like Life in the Bateyes,...
Dominican Republic
Amigos de las Americas
San Juan participants support campaigns to raise awareness about the rights of children. Our local partner agency, Plan Domin...
Dominican Republic
EF Educational Tours
Go beyond the classroom with EF service learning tours! Our program "Empowering Children in Cabarete, DR" gives students the...
Dominican Republic
CIEE Global Navigator
Santiago has streets lined with Spanish colonial architecture dating back to the 15th century and many shops and restaurants...
Dominican Republic
VISIONS Service Adventures
VISIONS offers teenagers opportunities for ambitious service work and cross-cultural immersion in the United States and abroa...
Dominican Republic
EF Educational Tours
Help us foster environmental awareness across the Dominican Republic! Our program gives high schoolers an amazing opportunity...
Dominican Republic
Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
Located only 12 km from the Haitian border, FIMRC's Project Restauracion offers the opportunity to work with populations both...
Dominican Republic
Putney Student Travel
Spend time in UNESCO World Heritage Sites around Santo Domingo then live in a welcoming host village. Take excursions to visi...
Dominican Republic
Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
Come join us in the Dominican republic to dive deep into environmental sustainability issues and develop leadership skills to...
Dominican Republic
Fundacion Aldeas de Paz
Enhance the lives of disadvantaged community members! Our aim is to empower children, youth and young adults with special nee...