About Santiago

With a population of nearly 700,000, Santiago de los Caballeros was founded in 1504 and is the second largest city in the Dominican Republic. It is located in the northwest portion of the country, surrounded by mountains and accessible to the Atlantic coast. Santiago serves as the provincial capital and is the commercial and cultural center of the fertile Cibao Valley. Despite its status as the second largest city in the country, Santiago retains its regional, "small-town" feel that will encourage students to immerse themselves in the dynamic culture of this Caribbean nation.

The Program

The Dominican Republic program, sponsored by a consortium of schools (Colgate University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, LeMoyne College and the University of Illinois at Chicago), is designed to offer students interested in Latin America and the Hispanic Caribbean the opportunity to study a vibrant multicultural society from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will attend classes at Pontifica Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), recognized as among the finest academic institutions in the Caribbean, and will reside with local families for a full cultural and linguistic immersion experience.


The academic program will be conducted in Spanish. There are two required courses, including a language course and a director’s seminar on an aspect of the Hispanic Caribbean. Students will also choose two electives offered in the humanities, social sciences or area studies at PUCMM. It is strongly recommended that students take the community service or social themes course with community service placement as one elective.

Workshop in Spanish Conversation
Students will develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in a course that is assigned based upon the student’s Spanish proficiency. The class will meet five hours each week. Students who are at a very high level of Spanish (native or near-native proficiency) may be exempt from the Spanish language course and will substitute another elective.

Director’s Course
All students will take a seminar (taught in Spanish) led by the program director that relates to some aspect of Hispanic Caribbean life and culture, the region or society. This course will provide students the opportunity to share an academic experience with each other and the director. Examples from recent programs include Cuban Literature in the 20th Century, Latin American Women Writers, and Gender and Society in the Hispanic Caribbean.  

(recommended elective) Community Service: Theory and Practicum 
The course will consist of a practicum and theoretical aspects of community service. Service opportunities are typically in public health, education, and community organizations. There will be regular required meetings with the resident director each month during the program to discuss the students’ experiences working in the community. 
Elective courses
TThe elective courses on offer include: “Afro-Caribbean Cultures”, “Culture and Society Through the Cinema”, “Dominican Social Themes”, “Introduction to Dominican Folklore”, “Short Story of the Spanish Caribbean,” “Current Social Problems of the Dominican Republic,” “History of the Caribbean,” “Literature of Women in Latin American and in the Caribbean,” and “Dominican-Haitian Relations”. For very advanced students regular courses at PUCMM may be possible. Students can also enroll in the ESL/EFL training course taught at the Dominican/American Institute as an elective. For PUCMM, the listings of ALL course offerings with local students can be found at: /
For courses taught in Spanish but specifically for foreign students go to:

Academic Focus

This program is applicable for those studying Spanish language, Latin American and Caribbean studies and Women’s Studies, as well as other academic fields.


This program is open to all sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and who have demonstrated competence in Spanish, preferably at the 300 (third year) level. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.


Students will live with a family in Santiago de los Caballeros. The homestay provides students a perspective into Dominican family life and the opportunity for daily practice of the language. During the excursions students will be housed in hotels and hostels.


Students will visit the city of Santo Domingo (the first urban center in the Americas established under Spanish colonial rule) for a colloquium involving lectures by prominent scholars who live in the capital and will participate in a number of cultural activities including visits to museums and historic sites. Excursions to other parts of the island such as Jarabacoa, a site in the mountains, La Isabela, the first settlement established by Columbus in the Americas, Montecristi, a traditional town with century-old homes, and Samaná, a resort town on the northwestern coast, will expose students to the history, contemporary socio-economic conditions, and vivid beauty of the Dominican Republic.

Going Abroad With the CGE

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition, room and board, and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, housing, board, and all course-related expenses, including excursions. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, immunizations and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $500-$650 from the East Coast and books at $200, while visas and immunizations are another $200. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1000. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.


  • This program is offered every spring semester.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office at a selected date in March.
  • For specific date contact the CGE.

NOTE: The information contained in this brochure is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.



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