By Rustic Pathways   Reviews (25)   94% Rating

Summer 2017: High School Programs Dominican Republic

By Rustic Pathways   Reviews (25)   94% Rating

Rustic Pathways programs in the Dominican Republic demonstrate our dedication to service. Programs like Life in the Bateyes, Summer Camp Leadership, and Introduction to Public Health offer students the opportunity to dive deep into social issues and make an impact in marginalized communities. Proximity the the United States also makes the DR a great location for first-time travelers looking to try service work while also enjoying Caribbean paradise.

"La Republica Dominicana is the home of merengue, bachata, the world’s best baseball players, stunning coasts, beautiful mountains, and my very large family. I thrive on exposing students to the intricacies of Dominican culture, as well as to the complex issues it faces, including wealth inequality, access to healthcare, and immigration. My goal is for every student to leave with a changed perspective.”
--Harry Alvarez, Dominican Republic Country Director

Locations
North America › Dominican Republic
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
Language
English
Housing
Guesthouse
Hotel
Hostel
Starting Price
0.00

Rating Values

  • Impact
    92%
  • Support
    95%
  • Fun
    86%
  • Value
    89%
  • Safety
    94%

Program Reviews (25)

Bridget
Female
15 years old
Powell, Ohio

2016 Mountain Air Service Trip

Overall 8

I went on a trip to Dominican Republic with Rustic Pathways. It was my first trip with any travel program and my 2nd time to the DR. Since it was a service trip, there were 3 days of service, and 9 days total. The actual service work was pretty hard, but many of my group members were hardly working. Therefore, if you are worried about community service, yes it will be physically demanding, but you work (kind of) at your own pace, so if you are a lazy butt, you probably won't get sore. Conversely, if you are vey motivated, then you will get sore, and you might get blisters (I did!) I am a 15 year old girl, 5'6? who's max push-up count is 10ish. I was able to cope with the work load and get a fair amount of work done. Basically, you just need proper motivation and strength is optional.

During the program, we worked on 2 projects; building an aqueduct and a black water treatment system. We swung pickaxes and used shovels to dig out a trench for the aqueduct. Then, after the pipes were glued down, we filled the trench back in. For the black water treatment system, since the trips before us had pretty much dug out, built, and filled in the treatment system, my trip/group just had to fill in the outside and rebury it, since it was underground. We used buckets and shovels to refill the surrounding area. Now, during any other program, the service projects might be different, but this was just my experience.

Because of traveling from the US to the DR, one must subtract 2 days for air travel. Basically, you are left with 7 actual days of stuff. The itinerary went something like this: JFK to the DR, Travel to home base (day of intro), Service day, Service day, Beach day, White-water rafting, Service day, Last day (travel back to capital and spend the night at an airport hotel), Fly back home. Every day had a sufficient amount of stuff per day, and there were plenty of 20min breaks throughout the whole day. I'd say there was a good balance between fun and work, but if you don't want to work, then choose an exploratory trip instead of a service based one.

The lodging was not 5 star hotel quality, but it was pretty good for a tourist ranch in the middle of a rural mountain community. We were able to have running water, a toilet, 2 sinks, and a shower for 5 girls. Not too jam packed. It was also good lodging at the airport hotel and the beach-side hotel. The food was good, but it's important to prepare the brain and the stomach for a change of food style and taste. We traveled on open sides trucks to our community service projects, which were pretty dirty. They were safe though. By the end of the day, if you worked hard, you were as dirty as the truck. The truck rides averaged out at 20-30min. When taking multiple hour trips, we would ride the local buses, which were very comfy and AIR-CONDITIONED!!!

Yes, there were bugs, and yes, they were big. I had 20+ Mosquito bites by the end of the trip, even with copious amounts of application throughout the day. Even with the Zika scare going on, I have not gotten sick, nor did I take any meds throughout the trip, or get any shots before hand. If your trip doesn't require them, then you probably don't need immunizations. However, it's your money, so spend it as you like. Rustic Pathways always provides "safe" water, and will never let you or force you to drink dirty water. There were numerous opportunities to get burnt and bitten, so we were told to and willingly applied sunscreen and bug spray at every available option.

Our program leaders were awesome. I'm not being cliche. They were seriously awesome. They were kind, good, fun people. They encouraged participation, but also didn't force anyone to do anything they didn't want to do. Peer pressure did that for them. I had 3 native Spanish speakers program leaders and 2 native USA citizen program leaders on my trip. If you are traveling to a foreign country, yes, the language WILL be a barrier. However, my program leaders were a great help, and translated at need. However, in the rural parts of the DR, almost no English is known. Be prepared to learn new words, and if you can speak some Spanish, be prepared to use it. I just finished Spanish 2, and even though the class is boring and I learn nothing, my minimal spanish was really useful.

A few tips:
-overpack. Overpack. OVERPACK. You will get dirty, and no, you don't need dresses and rompers. Also, bring work clothes and non-short shorts. They aren't kidding when they say the locals will think you're scandalous if you wear short shorts. There are few to no chances to wash your clothes, unless you hand wash them. If your packing list says 6-8 shirts, bring 12. Again, OVERPACK.
-bring lots of everything. Extra contacts, extra shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, you name it. Cuz you really don't want to be needing it and borrowing it from your mates.
-don't relying a debit card. There are virtually no options to pull money out of an ATM, so bring at least $100USD in cash. More, if you want to buy lots of gifts and snacks. The rustic people will exchange your USD into pesos when you get there, but BRING EXTRA. Always better to be safe than sorry. And besides, if you have extra pesos, you can always change them back. 45 pesos = 1 USD.
-you will get dirty. You will work hard. That's what you signed up for. Mentally prep yourself so you don't become a sissy. No one likes sissys.
-prepare your mind for travel. You will be going to a different place, with different customs, values, and cultures, languages, and food. Embrace the popping of your bubble, and get used to being outside of your comfort zone. You will enjoy yourself more if you go for it. YOLO, and all that crap. Don't leave with any regrets. And lastly, it is always easier to ask for forgiveness from your program leaders than permission.

And yup, I think I touched on everything.

Hana
Female
14 years old
Ossining

Rustic Pathways- Dominican Republic

Overall 10

I went on the Marine Life and Coastal Restoration trip in the Dominican Republic this summer and it was magnificent! I had never traveled with Rustic Pathways before nor, have I spent this much time away from home before. I had a great group and the staff members were amazing. They made me feel right at home and I never got homesick once! The country is beautiful and Rustic Pathways helped me to see that because unlike going on a family vacation where you stay in a resort, Rustic had us stay directly within the small town so that we could be amerced in the culture. Some of my best memories from the trip revolve around one of my staff members. She was a native Dominican so she was able to give us the inside scoop about the country. We had culture nights and personal tours with her and it was great. One of the best parts was when she was teaching use some of the traditional dances including the merengue and the boys had to dance it with her. (It was hilarious!) Memories and experiences like this you can't get by going to a resort and that is why Rustic Pathways is so amazingly unique. I'm so happy with my decision to do one of their trips and if I could I would do it over again. I am definitely doing one of their trips next summer!

Leigh
Female
Other

Dominican Passion

Overall 9

My service trip to the Dominican Republic, the island of arroz con pollo, fresh-squeezed chinola juice, smiling citizens, and aqua-tinted ocean, comprised of countless new experiences for me. I flew on an airplane independently to a different country, met locals and new friends, and I spent my July days in the lush mountains and salty ocean that the island had to offer.
As I look back, one of my first experiences foreshadowed my entire trip. When I sat down for my first meal there was an assortment of fresh tropical fruits including a chinola, which is the Dominican Spanish term for a passion fruit. My first impression of the round, exotic fruit that I had never tried before with waxy, yellow skin and bright yellow, gelatinous pulp with flecks of black seeds was skepticism. My natural instinct was to assess the flavor before I even tried the fruit. Instead of simply not trying the unique looking fruit based on the unappetizing appearance, I decided that I would try eating it. The chinola ended up being tangy and delicious, therefore becoming my absolute favorite fruit. Whenever I had an opportunity to sip chinola juice or eat an icy chinola popsicle while on the trip, I would eagerly take it.
The process that it took for me to try my new favorite fruit, chinola, proved to directly relate to and symbolize my Dominican Republic trip. Before I boarded the plane to the Santo Domingo airport, I was apprehensive and skeptical about stepping out of my comfort zone and attending a trip to a foreign country. Although, the result of my decision to participate in the service program ended up being beneficial since the Dominican Republic ended up becoming one of my favorite places. The moral of my trip and story is to step out of your comfort zone, and you will discover your favorite things in the entire world.

How can this program be improved?
Despite the spectacular trip I endured while in the Dominican Republic, the only improvement that could have been made was the duration of the trip. I believe that next time I attend a program that travels overseas, I would prefer to have a longer duration of time experiencing and immersing myself into the culture and atmosphere.d
Samantha
Female
17 years old
Florida
Other

Most amazing trip!

Overall 10

My trip to the DR with Rustic last summer was so incredible. By far the best week of my life. I met so many amazing people, did some great community service and had the best time ever! Thank you so much to Rustic and I highly recommend going to the DR with rustic! I loved it so much I am going back next summer on a different program :)

How can this program be improved?
Longer trip!
Cory
Female
41 years old
Rockwall, Texas
Other

Wonderful company

Overall 10

My daughter went to the Dominican Republic with Rustic Pathways and we could not have been more happy. She loved it and I felt like she was in good hands. Would totally recommend this company to anyone interested in sending their child on a trip abroad.

Jess
Female
18 years old
Hong Kong

DR Public Heath

Overall 9

Overall this program was amazing. The staff was very aware of safety while at the same time letting us explore. In all honesty, the DR ended up not being my favorite place. But my experience with Rustic Pathways was near flawless. I didn't sign up for the trip with friends, I choose to go alone and I was so glad that I did. The program was set up in a way that everyone got to know each other quickly and deeply. I met some great people on my trip.

I found the service on this trip to have been very meaningful. Rustic really emphasized the importance of making a lasting difference, instead of participating in voluntourism.

I'm signed up for another one of their Australia programs in summer 2016, because I love how Rustic runs them.

Abigail
Female
17 years old
Lexington
Other

Intro to Public Health-DR was amazing

Overall 10

My experience with rustic pathways was great. I was apart of the Intro to Public Health trip with around 15-16 kids and 4 counselors. All of us bonded immediately even the counselors and we all got along extremely well, even though most of us didn't know each other before. The first days of the trip were spent in Santo Domingo touring hospitals and listening to NGO's privately speak to us which was so interesting. Then we went to Hator Mayor and spent the majority of the time there traveling 45 minutes each day to Batey Botecito to do community service. There we were able to bond with the kids and adults while building latrines and cement floors and talking in Spanish. After two days of service we took a beach break and then 3 days of Wilderness First Aid Classes that prepared us to create health lessons for the kids in Botecito. The next two days we hosted workshops for the kids teaching them hand washing, wound care, trash clean up and built them a DIY sink. It was very life changing and i would love to go back again. The way of life in the bateys is so different from my life at home and opened up my eyes. After all community service (30 hours) was completed we took a ferry to Samana and hiked to El Limon Cascada which was beautiful and then the next day we spent time at an island beach. The flight from JFK is not bad at all and is a great way to meet new people.

How can this program be improved?
I did not like the Ferry ride, it was uncomfortable and hot, but once we saw land it was pretty and interesting to see.
Carmen
Female
17 years old
Colorado

Life in the Bateyes

Overall 10

This was the best two weeks of my life. I met some amazing people and the experience was so eye opening. The leaders were super friendly and it being my first trip like that and going alone I felt very comfortable. I felt safe and I felt I made an impact on the people that we met there. The service was hard so be prepared to work but it's worth it.The friends I met I still talk to every day. I would 100% recommend to anyone who loves helping people.

How can this program be improved?
I think the packing list let me come a bit underprepared.
Angela
Female
18 years old
New Jersey

Mountain Air - Good Experience Overall

Overall 8

Mountain Air and Village Service in the DR was an overall good experience. It's a pretty basic and introductory program so it's perfect for first time travelers and for people who just want to get their feet wet. The councelors were really cool and gave us a lot of freedom. The only part of the program I wasn't crazy about was the fact that some of the people can be very exclusive and cliquey really fast. Obviously this depends on the people on each program, although since it is a very introductory program, a lot of students' parents made them go so they may not be the most passionate people that want to get to know you. This varys because there were plenty of cool people on my trip as well. Otherwise, it's a good time and a good experience to have. It would help to know a little bit of Spanish beforehand but you don't need to. I came in knowing nothing and learned as I went but learned so much. I would recommend this program to anyone.

Ali
Female
37 years old
Chicago
Other

Mountain Air Service

Overall 10

I had been impressed with the experience from our initial decision to send our daughter. She was signing up with a friend who had previously been on a Rustic pathways trip. Me, being the nervous mother, packed many items to insure that they would be comfortable. Aleve, pepto bismal, tums, etc. However, four days in to the trip my daughter started to have an allergic reaction on her face that she occasionally gets during seasonal allergies. I didn't think to pack that medicine. I was able to text my daughter the name of the prescription and they had it for her within an hour. It would have taken me longer to get that prescription here. I was very impressed.

How can this program be improved?
Tell the girls to bring a pair of leggings to cover their entire legs for walking in the tall grass. Packing and not knowing exactly the activity didn't prepare my daughter to have her legs protected from the bugs and poison ivy type leaves. We were at the dr as soon as she returned.
Jane
Female
53 years old
Baltimore, MD

Rustic Pathways DR staff are amazing!

Overall 8

My daughter went on the Marine Life and Coastal Restoration trip in the Dominican Republic with Rustic Pathways this summer. She loves travel and service trips and the entire 'rustic' experience. Unfortunately she broke her thumb the week before and went on the trip with a waterproof cast, some pain and not a little anxiety. Although she was thrilled to still be allowed to do the trip, in the end she was not able to participate in the water activities, and was not really able to relax and enjoy herself, so she came home a week early.
I am writing because I wanted to remark on the DR staff members. I cannot thank Alexa, Nicole, Ben and Harry enough for everything they did. Alexa and Nicola took great care of Annie during the trip with her broken thumb and cast, and pain and anxiety. They are caring, warm, patient and insightful, and were wonderful to her and with her. Ben took her to the clinic to have her cast removed, after many conversations with us both, and then helped book her on a flight home. Harry drove her to the airport and made sure she got safely through security. I know they were both busy with other trips and students, but they still went out of their way to help us both. I was especially appreciative of their help and availability all the rest of that day when Annie's flight was delayed, and then delayed again, beyond the time of her Miami connecting flight, and I could not get in touch with her to talk to her about it. Harry and Ben both remained calm and assured me that they would get in touch with her and that all would be well, which it was.
So I highly recommend the Rustic Pathways trips because the staff are amazing, and they continued to be wonderful and helpful and calm even when things were not going as planned.
Sincerely,
Jane

Michael
Male
18 years old
Seattle, Washington

Dominican Rebublic: Mountain Air and Village Service

Overall 9

Even though I was the only freshmen with people that I didn't know, I still felt welcome. The people that go on trips like these are always nice and willing to make friends. Also, the instructors were just as nice. The trip itself was half fun and half work which for me was the right amount. Before going to the Dominican Republic, you should learn just a little spanish so you aren't lost all the time... Overall, this was a great experience for me.

How can this program be improved?
I would make the hours when shopping at the market a lot longer.
Lilly
Female
23 years old
Washington, DC

Fun Program

Overall 7

My experience with this program was pretty good. I was very exited to go one this trip however, I did not know much about it! I was disappointed to some degree because I was very exited to speak lots of Spanish, talk to tons of locals and learn about the government of this country but that was pretty limited.

Provider Response

Lilly, I regret that you did not have a stellar experience in the Dominican Republic. We work our hardest to offer the best possible experience, but know there's always room for improvement. I'm not sure what program you participated in but would recommend that you join our Life in the Bateyes program in the future. On this program you get an in-depth look at current social issues facing Haitian-Dominicans and the history of government policies and social prejudices against Haitians in the DR. Thank your for sharing your feedback. Over the years feedback like yours has helped us improve our programs, and we will take this opportunity to continue to do so. If you'd like to discuss your experience more, and offer us more feedback I'd be more than willing to speak with you on the phone. You can reach me at [email protected] or via phone at 440 487 7104.

Best,
Harry Alvarez
Dominican Republic Country Director

Olivia
Female
18 years old
New Jersey

Mountain Air and Village Service

Overall 10

This trip was a life changing experience. The staff was amazing and I still stay in touch with some of them. Together as a group we dug trenches and laid piping for the town to have an aqueduct. This was hard work, but the staff made it fun the whole time and allowed us to take numerous breaks making it bearable. It was amazing to see how thankful the community was and how much work they put into our project. The next day we were the leaders of running a camp for the kids. This was hard because the counselors stepped back and gave all the responsibility to us. This was amazing because you form a bond like no other with these kids. Not being able to speak the language you are forced to communicate in different ways. One of the little girls did my hair and put flowers into it, something that wouldn't usually happen in the United States. After long days of service we would have free time which was so fun and helped us build friendships, playing cards and banagrams after a long day of working in the dirt was so fun. The trip was the perfect balance between learning about the Dominican Republic culture and helping a community in need. The sights we saw such as beaches and waterfalls were one's I will never forget. The counselors taught us history of the DR and taught us their traditional dances that we were able to perform the last night when we had a going away type party. Everyone's ability to give up technology even when we were in areas that it was available made the experience so rewarding. This is an experience that I will never forget, and the friendships I made were amazing. I still stay in touch with over half of the people from my group.

How can this program be improved?
I wish we could have done more service on the trip. Though we did around 30 hours of community service, the 9 day trip could've allowed for more service work.
Claire
Female
18 years old
San Jose, California

Life on the Bateyes- Best thing that has ever happened to me

Overall 10

To say the least, this trip has been amazing. Not only did this trip incorporate the tourism side of the country, we also got to see the poorest areas of all-- the bateyes, where not many people get to visit. Going to both the agricultural and tourist areas of the country, we are able to really see the country, not only its beaches and waves but also its poverty. I got to learn more about the Dominican government, the sugar cane companies, and the hardships of the Haitian immigrants. This has really been an eye-opening experience for me, and I'm sure, the others in the group. 3 of us are even considering going on this same trip AGAIN next year. Aside from being in the impoverished bateyes, we also went around as a regular tourist would at the beautiful beaches, caves, and historical sites, so if you are interested in doing lots of community service, learning about Dominican culture, and also swimming in unbelievably beautiful beaches and caves, this trip is for you.

Gigi
Female
18 years old
Newport Beach, California

This trip is life- changing !

Overall 10

If you want a fun, life- changing experience during your summer rather than sitting home on instagram (come on, we all know you do that;) ) then going on a rustic pathways trip is definitely for you! I participated in the Advanced Leadership Program and I am proud to say I came back a different, better person. The experience and bond I had with the little kids during the camp we ran was truly indescribable. As much as this trip was fun, it was also one of the hardest, most rewarding things I've ever done. Everyone on the trip got along well and I know I've made life long friends!

How can this program be improved?
Sometimes a lot of the girls felt as though there wasn't enough food to go around.
Erin
Female
18 years old
Chicago, Illinois

Best Cultural Experience

Overall 10

While in the Dominican Republic, I truly got to experience how the locals live and why us going there can impact their lives. Learning about what they have to deal with daily was opened my eyes to the fact that in the U.S., people have very easy and simple lives. When our running water is shut off, even if only for a few minutes, we act like it's the end off the world. In the DR the running water is not drinkable, you can't flush toliet paper. Things like this we take granted for everyday and it's amazing to know that the people there are grateful for what they have, even though they could complain about they have to go through.

Tara
Female
18 years old
New York
University of Connecticut

Best trip ever!

Overall 10

I was nervous at first to travel by myself. But after my trip I realized that I have made life long friends and memories. I know that I made a difference through all the hard work we performed and I cannot thank Rustic Pathways enough for the most AMAZING experience!

How can this program be improved?
Maybe to spend more time with children.
Emerson
Female
18 years old
North Carolina

An Amazing Experience

Overall 10

There is nothing negative I have to say about my Rustic Pathways trip to the Dominican Republic. I met countless number of people who greeted me with opened arms and big smiles. We did adventurous activities that the entire group really enjoyed. And we also did community service that gave me a different understanding of how the people really lived like in the Dominican Republic. I would recommend Island Living and Eco-Service to anyone.

How can this program be improved?
We never really got a chance to feel at home in our base because of traveling so much. Although it was good to see the different parts of the Dominican Republic, two places would been enough. Four was pushing it to where we were sick and tired of being in the busses and cars.
L.
Female
18 years old
Aix-en Provence, France

Life in the Bateyes

Overall 10

This two week program really changed the way I look at our world. Through our work in the community and the Bateyes, I realised how fortunate we are to have basic necessities such as a passport or running water.
The program taught me that there are people who cannot leave the sugar plantations because they do not own any documentation, which enables the plantation owners to exploit their people in a horrific manner. Through the service and the discussions we had with a local lawyer I learnt a lot about social responsibility.

The service itself was mostly physical labour, we were building a wall around a community centre and put cement floors in the houses of locals. Although this was very challenging, there is no better feeling than coming back after a day of hard work and realising what you have achieved. Besides, we were interacting a lot with the local children, who are incredibly grateful and welcoming.

The accommodations were a little bit rustic for the first week without air-conditioning, very few showers and of course no WiFi but this only improved my experience. The last part of the second week is spent in a resort, where you get to see the touristic and paradise-like side of the Dominican Republic, which is great because the contrast really makes you reflect on the previous two weeks.

The staff was always helpful and very nice and the security standards were high, as in any of the Rustic Pathways programs.

This was my second trip with Rustic and I would really recommend it to anybody who wants to experience this entirely different part of our world.

How can this program be improved?
A few more tools for the students, who were working on the wall would have been useful, since there was a lot of waiting for others to finish. But that was really a minor issue.
madeline
Female
18 years old
Florida

Advanced Leadership Challenge

Overall 9

We spent the first few days preparing for the camp. We did team bonding activities such as rafting, hiking, and camping. When the first day of camp arrived, we were faced with a very hyper group of 30 kids. These kids were ages 5-12. At times, they didnt listen to the instructions or wouldnt want to participate, but that is common for all camps. It was amazing seeing these kids get to experience new opportunities. For example, when they saw a shower for the first time all their faces lit up and they were all screaming of joy. We visited their town which really made me appreciate everything I had. After 6 exhausting days of camp, we relaxed on the beach. We took a catamaran out and went to many cool snorkeling spots and beaches. It was an amazing trip.

How can this program be improved?
The only part I didn't like, being an unathletic girl, was the hike.
Caitlyn
Female
18 years old
Collegeville, Pennsylvania

Dominican Repuclic

Overall 10

Truly amazing experience, wouldn't replace it for anything. It made me more aware of how I want community service to be a bigger part of my life. The people are so kind there, and it made me realize how fortunate I am. The rustic pathways staff was very friendly and welcoming; I always felt safe and knew I could talk to them about anything.

ayemariee
Female
18 years old
Darlington, PA

How "Life in the Bateyes" changed my life

Overall 9

Going to the Dominican Republic last summer truly, as cliché as it sounds, changed my life. Before I was so self conscious of what I did not have (for various reasons), but now I feel ashamed that I used to feel that way. Not until I stepped inside of Batey Margarita, did I know how many people in our world are suffering. I am lucky enough to be blessed with an abundant amount of resources that I overlooked and abused and I wish I would have realized earlier that I could do something more productive with all of the opportunities and people around me. In the Bateyes I visited, the struggle for survival is real. Starvation, malnutrition, and diseases are daily realities for these people. My experience truly changed my life, and my way of thinking.
I cannot describe a typical day because each day was so unique and astounding. My time in the Dominican Republic was extraordinary, but I do have one story about a young boy who I will never forget. My third day in the Dominican Republic, our group went to a small community center in Batey Cachena, where I met this young boy, named Ricardo (spelling is probably wrong).
What caught my attention was that he sat alone in a small corner of the small building while all of the other children were playing, dancing, and coloring. So I walked up to him with my stickers, crayons, and coloring books in hand. I introduced myself and as soon as I did, he just smiled, gapped tooth and all. I lifted up the sticker sheet and asked him if he wanted a sticker. He stared at me with a confused look, so I pulled one off and stuck it to his forehead. Immediately he began giggling and showing it off to all the other boys. Later in the afternoon, I found out that he did not know how to count. So we sat down together for the rest of the day, and I stuck stickers all over his arms, face, hands, and legs, making him count almost to twenty, which was a vast improvement. Initially he could not count to four!

Many of my peers think that community service is just something school officials force us to do as a graduation requirement. However, for me, community service is a way of giving back and I do it because I want to. I knew that my time in the Dominican Republic would not always be easy, because it was very demanding. The physical labor was draining, and the mental fatigue I experienced when I saw how poor Batey inhabitants’ living-conditions was crushing! However, the most demanding challenge was to develop the ability to connect with people who were completely foreign to me, but I conquered that and now have strong relationships with many of the locals that I met.

My experience in the Dominican Republic has led me to believe that community service is essential to a more empathic individual. Community service is not a choice: community service is a moral necessity! My short adventure has made me want to do more for those communities that I visited. I know I can make a difference in the Bateyes, and I yearn for an opportunity to do so.

Because of my time in the Dominican Republic, I was given a chance to explore myself as an individual, but without my support system, I would have never been given the opportunity to participate in this program. I want the people living in Bateyes to feel the same way as I do, to feel like they have a support system, and realize that there are people out there to help them. Like how I know there are people out there to help me.

I recommend this program to every single person I meet!!

How can this program be improved?
I think our group was too big, which allowed people to get too comfortable with our group, and not interact with the locals as much.
LBF
Female
18 years old
Bethesda, MD

Amazing!

Overall 10

I couldn't have asked for a better trip. Being able to interact with the community members and working with them to improve the conditions there was by far my favorite part. I love the staff, the program, and the people of the Dominican Republic.

Katie
Female
18 years old
Cumberland, Maine

La Jagua

Overall 9

I really enjoyed being in the village of La Jagua because it was a life I hadn't experienced before. I really wanted to help build the aqueduct and I did, but I would've liked to work on it a little more. I did love the dance classes but I was expecting to be able to do a little more work when I signed up for the trip. I loved the expeditions to Rancho Baiguate and also white water rafting. The staff was awesome! The living arrangements were ideal and I loved having a local cooking all of our meals because it was truly part of the cultural experience. Overall, it was a great experience.

How can this program be improved?
I would've liked to see a little bit more of Santo Domingo but maybe we didn't because of the weather. That's about it!

About The Provider

Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on purposeful community service projects, and expand your worldview with Rustic Pathways.

Whether you are looking for summer volunteer and travel programs, or gap year programs, Rustic Pathways is a great place to start!

Community Photos:

Rustic Pathways | Dominican Republic

Staff Interviews