Santo Domingo is a unique Caribbean city that boasts of a rich history while also excelling as a center of rapid economic growth. The capital of the Dominican Republic is often termed as the “First city of the New World” and is home to the first street, cathedral, university, and hospital in the Americas. The charming 16th Century Colonial Zone (La Zona Colonial) in Santo Domingo has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and at every corner of the city, art, culture, & architecture is thriving in full glory.
Lively and yet calm atmosphere, high economic growth and yet challenges of human development, fast-paced lifestyle and yet relaxed attitude, Santo Domingo is a city of many contradictions which you can understand only when you witness it first hand. Not only does Santo Domingo offer unique insights into Latin American culture, but this city is also rapidly developing as a center of academic excellence. Around 11 universities from the Dominican Republic rank among the top universities in the region, out of which 8 of them belong to Santo Domingo.
There are notably three types of study abroad programs in Santo Domingo.
Santo Domingo has 18 universities offering a range of courses. Your home university may already be offering a study abroad program in collaboration with some universities in Santo Domingo. From business and finance to liberal arts, the choices are endless.
Third-Party Program Providers
If your university does not offer a study abroad program in Santo Domingo, you can always opt for a third party program who will guide you in finding the perfect program, as well as organize everything for you. Going through a third party often has a lot of advantages as they organize accommodation in homestays, excursions and maximum local interaction to facilitate a complete cultural immersion.
Language Immersion Courses
Santo Domingo has numerous Spanish schools that offer language immersion programs. There are a variety of courses you can opt for like a standard course, DELE course, medical Spanish, and many more. You can choose group classes or private lessons depending on your preference. They arrange for accommodation and meals depending on which package you opt for. Students who opt for these programs not only become fluent Spanish speakers but they also get to explore the local culture, make new friends and form everlasting bonds by the time they return to their home country.
Santo Domingo is synonymous with history, culture, Spanish, and sports. If you are stepping into this vibrant and historic land, why not study liberal arts! Santo Domingo provides plenty of opportunities for students of Latin American studies and sports. After all, the city does boast of two homegrown baseball teams and what’s a better place to study Latin American heritage than at the “First city of the new world”!
Music & Dance
Merengue and Bachata both originated from the Dominican Republic, thus making Santo Domingo one of the best places to learn music and dance. There are several companies in Santo Domingo that nurture the budding talents of dancers and musicians. Take it one notch higher and join in the annual Merengue Festival of Santo Domingo and put your skills to test in the most authentic way possible.
If architecture is your passion, then strolling through the UNESCO heritage site of La Zona colonial and admiring the medieval and renaissance buildings will add a new dimension to your imagination. Be sure to visit the Catedral Santa María La Menor (America’s first cathedral), Alcázar de Colón (America’s first castle) and the Monasterio de San Francisco (ruins of the first monastery in the Americas).
If you are not into liberal arts, sports, dance, or architecture, Santo Domingo also offers Business courses as well as Biology and Ecology related courses in collaboration with foreign universities.
Do you absolutely need to speak Spanish to study in Santo Domingo? The answer depends on the course you choose. While most liberal arts programs may be taught in Spanish, Santo Domingo does offer business courses taught in English in collaboration with many American universities. Other programs that require Spanish usually mention the level of language requirement upfront.
When you are in Santo Domingo, whether you enroll in a language immersion program or not, you will get plenty of opportunities to learn Spanish.
Majority of the study abroad programs offer local homestays as accommodation and this provides the perfect opportunity for a student to learn Spanish as well as experience the day to day local life. Needless to say, to perfect your Spanish skills, opt for a course with a longer duration.
Santo Domingo is a place which appears extremely busy at first but once you really take a look at the people, you notice that there is a certain relaxed and laid back attitude among the locals. Life is fast-paced but no one is ever too busy to smile and say hello. The locals want to speak English to you as much as you want to speak Spanish to them. Thus, a cultural exchange is inevitable once you land in this Caribbean city. Go with an open mind and you will return with a heart full of memories.