Summer High School Programs in Dominican Republic with Rustic Pathways

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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


based on 33 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 31 - 33 of 33
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How "Life in the Bateyes" changed my life

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.
Yes, I recommend
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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.

Yes, I recommend
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La Jagua

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!
Yes, I recommend


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About Rustic Pathways

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...