Summer High School Programs in Dominican Republic with Rustic Pathways

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About

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

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 33 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 16 - 30 of 33
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Carmen
10/10

Life in the Bateyes

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Angela
8/10

Mountain Air - Good Experience Overall

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Ali
10/10

Mountain Air Service

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Jane
8/10

Rustic Pathways DR staff are amazing!

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

Yes, I recommend
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Michael
9/10

Dominican Rebublic: Mountain Air and Village Service

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Lilly
7/10

Fun Program

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.

Response from Rustic Pathways

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

No, I don't recommend
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Olivia
10/10

Mountain Air and Village Service

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Claire
10/10

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

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Gigi
10/10

This trip is life- changing !

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Erin
10/10

Best Cultural Experience

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Tara
10/10

Best trip ever!

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Emerson
10/10

An Amazing Experience

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.
Yes, I recommend
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L.
10/10

Life in the Bateyes

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.
Yes, I recommend
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madeline
9/10

Advanced Leadership Challenge

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Caitlyn
10/10

Dominican Repuclic

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.

Yes, I recommend

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