ISV - Volunteer Projects in the Dominican Republic

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Program Update:

ISV will only be conducting programs for this coming summer, 2018 in the Dominican Republic.

About

The Dominican Republic is famous for its beautiful white sand beaches, vibrant culture and warm, friendly people - but as a volunteer with International Student Volunteers (ISV) you have the opportunity to delve deeper into this Caribbean culture and help improve the quality of life for the disadvantaged.

On ISV’s community development projects, you could be maintaining and developing local infrastructure, or working on children’s programs that include arts and crafts, music, recreation and health and education. Devote your time to enrich the lives of children and families in rural communities who have little access to quality education and employment.

As you volunteer in the Dominican Republic, your heart will be touched by the passion and spirit of the local people. For more details on how to make a difference, visit www.isvolunteers.org and sign up for the experience of a lifetime.

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Questions & Answers

I agree with Michelle, you don't have to BUT I highly and I mean HIGHLY recommend it. I wish I had taken a couple Spanish classes before my trip but I managed my way with the help of other leaders.
If you want the full experince of being in another country, do the 5-week program but if you don't then do the 2-week project!! I enjoyed the project and adventure more than I did with the Spanish cultural immersion week.

Reviews

98%
based on 55 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.7
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 46 - 55 of 55
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Jules
10/10

ISV - Dominican Republic 2013

Participating in the ISV program was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I went in thinking I was going leave a positive impact on the children, but it turned out that they were the ones who left a positive impact on me. ISV were incredibly helpful with organizing the entire trip, they kept in contact with me leading up to the date of departure, and they made sure that every day was worth every penny.

How can this program be improved?
Although no one during this program was harmed or injured, I felt that safety could be improved by an increase in staff, perhaps.
Yes, I recommend this program
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asumpter
10/10

Changed my life in the Dominican Republic

Every moment of everyday I think about last summer's volunteer experience in the Dominican Republic. It truly changed my life, and I plan to go back someday and see our the improvements we did at Blue Moon still there with the people.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Dan
10/10

Nothing Short of a Life-Changing Experience

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel with International Student Volunteers (ISV) to the Dominican Republic in 2005. ISV gave me a very unique experience where I was able to impact the lives of local families by volunteering and also travel around the Dominican Republic doing a bunch of different fun adventure activities.

When I arrived with ISV I immediately fell in love with the Dominican Republic. The well trained Tour and Project Leaders who guided my group of 20 students along the way, and the children that we were able to help on a daily basis, made this trip the most memorable of my life. ISV took us whitewater rafting, surfing, snorkeling, rappelling down waterfalls, cliff jumping, canyoning, windsurfing, and exploring the Dominican culture giving me the adventure of a lifetime. The organization and number of activities that were set up for me in just two weeks far exceeded my expectations.

As fun as the adventure tour was, the biggest impact that ISV had on me was during the 2 weeks I spent on my Volunteer Project at Crossroads. Seeing things I would have never imagined and the conditions that people have to live in was a very eye opening experience. I instantly fell in love with the place and people we were helping. Seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces as our old bus pulls up to their village on the dirt roads, with the kids chasing after us to greet us with hugs, climbing all over us as we arrived each morning still brings a smile to my face today. I was able to really connect with the people in the village. The families invited me in their new homes showed off their decorations and home with so much pride and joy. Seeing how grateful they were for what we were doing is one of the biggest rewards I have ever felt. I can’t thank ISV enough for giving me this amazing opportunity and organizing the trip of a lifetime.

We made little mission trips to poor villages giving toiletries, food, milk, and medical treatment for the sick just made me appreciate everything I have so much more. I'll never forget the time I had in the Dominican Republic and the people we were able to help. Their smiles and the joy they shared with me will last forever. As much as we gave to them, from our suitcases full of clothes to the shoes we had on our feet to the houses we helped build giving them running water and electricity for the first time, to teaching the children, it still felt like I was the one they were helping. It gave me a whole new outlook on life and made me appreciate everything I have so much more and gave me a whole new outlook on life.

I have been on other volunteer trips before and nothing comes close to comparing with experience that I had with ISV. ISV’s professionalism and organization in setting up such an amazing program is something I would recommend to anyone who is looking to travel. The friendships I made in the Dominican Republic, the lives I helped change, and the kids hanging all over me with smiles on their faces are things that will always be with me thanks to ISV.

Yes, I recommend this program
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cac104
10/10

Best Experience!!

This program was amazing! There was a clear schedule about our daily activities both when volunteering and on the adventure tour. I would have loved to stay and volunteer more because it was the most rewarding and fun part of the trip. I got to meet so many local community members and talk with them about their lives. It was a great feeling knowing that I was making a difference in their lives and that I was bettering their health and safety. To end the day, there was nothing better than the delicious cuisine. Everything I was served couldn't have been better! I stayed in bungalows with my fellow volunteers and the owners were amazing. There really are no words for how gracious and welcoming they were. They felt like family by the time I left and I still keep in touch with them and all the other travelers. After volunteering, the adventure tour began and it was so much fun! I did everything from jumping down waterfalls to horseback riding through the mountains. I would definitely, 100% recommend this program to people. Fundraising is the best idea to cut costs. It helps so much. ISV is a very organized, safe, and fun program. I would travel with them again in a heart beat.

Yes, I recommend this program
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HaileyR
9/10

Such a Great Experience

Volunteering in the Dominican Republic was absolutely amazing! The children were so cute and very willing to learn. We got to teach them English and play lots of games. We built a small village latrines that they were in desperate need of. The most challenging part was not knowing Spanish very well. I would recommend this trip to anyone!!

Yes, I recommend this program
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jham
10/10

Life Changing!

I loved my time in the D.R. with ISV. I met some people I am proud to call life long friends and did so while experiencing a new land. The whole experience was amazing in La Mina, and I cannot wait until I am old enough to send my future children there.

Yes, I recommend this program
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singoutbefree
10/10

An Illuminating Experience

I still remember the fateful day when an enthusiastic man with an Australian accent entered my math class and changed my life in under thirty seconds, or at least provided a catalyst for change. After looking at the ISV pamphlet I just knew that I had to go on one of these trips. The staff helped me decide on the Dominican Republic based on my interest in childhood education. The following summer I found myself riding a Safari truck, surrounded by friends, watching a rainbow of houses on stilts, a lush tropical forest, and waving locals, zoom by as we rode up a mountain to the place where we would spend many hours digging, shoveling and laying bricks. The neatest part about the construction project was the locals that helped us. At one point, an elderly woman asked to borrow my pick axe and proceeded to clear out more weeds than I had in the last half hour in thirty seconds. Her strength and character was inspiring. Later that week I found myself teaching a yoga lesson in Spanish to a group of beautiful children. When we asked the pre-schoolers who their role model was, they unanimously replied, "Yos", or God. To see the simple joy that I could bring through throwing a ball with a young child, or conversing to another about baseball, changed my heart forever. I witnessed a lunar rainbow and a million smiles that were equally illuminating while in the Dominican Republic. But what really made this trip life changing for me, was the friendships I formed with my fellow volunteers. It took but two weeks for me to fall in love with the country the culture, and a dozen people that I just met. I am a more educated, more compassionate person because of that trip, but most importantly, I was inspired to promote change through education and compassion.

Yes, I recommend this program
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RD2011
10/10

Republica Dominicana

I volunteered in the RD in the Summer of June 2011. It was the greatest experience I ever had. I got to live in the city for one week and improve on my Spanish as well as running a summer camp and doing construction for 2 weeks. It was incredible! The people are so friendly and volunteering with ISV will give you great memories.

Yes, I recommend this program
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ryezy11
9/10

Dominican Republic 2011

In June of 2011, I joined ISV for three weeks in the Dominican Republic. My first week was spent with a host family in Santiago. There I went to Spanish immersions program and learned about the Dominican culture. For the last two weeks, I stayed at Tubuaga an eco plantation outside of Puerto Plata. We ran a summer camp and did beautification projects in Caraballo. We got to interact with children that lived in the refuge camp that had absolutely nothing, but were the nicest most caring kids you will ever meet. Volunteering with ISV opened my eyes and realize how lucky I am to have what I have. I also got to meet amazing people from around North America that I will continue to communicate with.
If you want a life changing adventure, do ISV. Although you are there to volunteer, you do more than that. You experience the culture through traveling and going places where you interact with the locals. The accommodations are out of this world as well as the food. This is a wonderful way to travel because you aren't just hanging out at the resort all day. I think about those three weeks daily and know that it has made me a better person. I liked ISV so much that I'm volunteering with them again in Summer 2012.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Adam
10/10

The Trip of a Lifetime

I went on three trips to three countries and spent a total of 12 weeks abroad. I went to Ecuador (5 weeks), Dominican Republic (5 weeks) and Thailand (2 weeks). While in Ecuador and Dominican Republic, I spent a week getting Spanish lessons where I got to practice talking in Spanish while learning about the country. With the lessons, the teachers also provide dance lessons, salsa in Ecuador and meringue in the Dominican Republic, and cooking lessons to show off to volunteers’ friends back at home. While there, I stayed in local families in Quito, Ecuador and Santiago, Dominican Republic for the lessons.
Then, I traveled to my volunteer site. In Ecuador, I stayed in a local village in the Amazonian Jungle where my group helped teach English and helped take care of cocoa plants. The cocoa plants were used so the village could sell the cocoa bean and make money from that so the village did not have to rely on money from the oil companies who are destroying the rainforest.
For my Dominican Republic trip, I stayed a seminary (ISV has no religious affiliations) that was near the school and worksite. Half of the group went to the school and taught English and other fun stuff for educational summer camps while the other group was building a community center that was to be used by 17 communities. Then the groups switch the following day. The kids loved having us as much as the workers who watched over us during the build.
Lastly, I spent a couple weeks in Thailand where I spent the first week working at a school where we helped finished building a new classroom for the school and spent time playing with the kids. During this week, we learned about Thailand, the culture, the Thai language, and Buddhism. My group was even fortunate enough to witness Mother’s Day in Thailand which was extremely emotional for the Thai parents and kids as well as my group. The following week, I spent a week at the Elephant Nature Park where I helped the park take care of the elephants. Mainly our tasks were to clean pumpkins for the elephant’s lunch, get corn stalks for the elephant’s dinner, or clean up after the elephants that morning. Around lunch and dinner, volunteers and visitors were allowed to feed and bathe the elephants. Volunteers that are interested in veterinary could watch veterinarians apply medical care to the elephants.
Along with the volunteer project, most of the volunteers through ISV can do another two weeks touring the country. I extremely recommend this because one does more in two weeks with ISV and he or she can do in a lifetime. In Ecuador, I went rock climbing and mountain biking one day to climbing to the tropical glaciers on Cotopaxi, Ecuador’s most active volcano, to white water rafting to surfing on the beach and watching humpback whales. Ecuador has it all! I also went did the two weeks in the Dominican Republic where I did as more water activities than I thought was possible. From going surfing to jumping off waterfalls to white water rafting before exploring the colonial center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic it has everything you want in a tropical island.
I highly recommend this company which has allowed to me to travel and to see the world differently that a normal tourist would not see. While there, I got to make a difference to someone and made some great friends in the process. You will not be disappointed with ISV!

Yes, I recommend this program

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About ISV (International Student Volunteers)

ISV’s mission is to support sustainable development programs around the world through life changing student volunteer programs designed to positively impact our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.

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