This program is only for incoming WMU Freshmen that are starting their first semester in fall 2018.
Experience economics and society first hand in the Dominican Republic this summer!
Students must be at least 18 years old by the first date of travel for the program.
We will be traveling throughout the Dominican Republic to gain insights into rural and urban, inland and coastal, mountainous and border areas. Throughout our travels we will be focusing on the migration of Haitians into the Dominican Republic and of Dominicans to the United States and Europe. We will explore the reasons for these flows while gaining insights into Dominican history and its culture.
During our stay we will observe and analyze the three Dominican engines of economic growth, 1) tourism, 2) manufacturing in free trade zones and 3) resource extraction. The culture and essence of the Dominican people will be introduced through literature and art. Our everyday activities will reveal the Dominican legal structure and the legacies of its rich and eventful history.
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Location & Related Considerations
We will be exploring three separate areas of the Dominican Republic:
- the capital city of Santo Domingo,
- the northwestern border region (Monti Cristi and Dajabón)
- areas along the coast, east of Santo Domingo (Boca Chica and San Pedro de Macorís).
Santo Domingo is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. It is the site of the first university, cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress in the New World. The city's Colonial Zone has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The island of Hispaniola is made up of two countries with Haiti located on the west end and the Dominican Republic occupying the eastern two-thirds of the island. Our visit to the border area will concentrate on the northwestern border edge of the DR in the city of Dajabón. Dajabón n is the location of the main binational market where an important interchange of commerce takes place.
Boca Chica and San Pedro de Macorís
While less important as a beach tourist destination relative to its heyday in the 1950s, Boca Chica continues to attract significant tourism. A little further east lies San Pedro de Macorís, the birth city of many famous Dominican-origin baseball players.
The Dominican Republic is located in the tropics. In August it is particularly hot and you will need to be mindful that you drink plenty of water, that you cover up against the harsh sun and that you protect yourself against mosquitoes.
Accommodation for Disabilities/Special Needs:
Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact Disability Services for Students at (269) 387-2116 ahead of their term abroad. A disability determination must be made by this office before any accommodations are provided by the study abroad course's instructor. For more information, visit WMU Disability Services for Students
Safety and Security:
Students are expected to research their country of destination to learn more about issues related to safety, security, and physical and mental health. For general information about the Dominican Republic, consult The CIA's World Factbook
and the U.S. State Department
. If the state department has designated any travel destination as level 3 or higher, or if the travel destination(s) contain regions designated level 3 or higher, participants must sign a WMU travel waiver prior to travel.
For specific information related to safety and security, consult OSAC
(United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security). For advice concerning health issues and related concerns, consult Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
. Finally, once students receive a message that they have been enrolled, they can also use resources provided by WMU's International Health and Emergency Insurance provider, GeoBlue
The following general comments are derived from OSAC: The most common type of crime is drive-by robberies (1-2 (usually male) assailants on a motorcycle, scooter, or even a bicycle). The assailant typically drives up to the potential victim and grabs anything in arm's reach. Often, they stop, one disembarks, and points a handgun at the victim, demanding valuables. Although armed assaults are more frequent during hours of darkness and when victims travel by foot, they can occur while the victim is in a vehicle stopped at a traffic light and often during the day. To avoid becoming a victim of a drive-by robbery, try to avoid outwardly displaying any items of value. Be alert for motorcycles and scooters. If someone approaches, duck into a store or move out of the way. Note that assailants may circle around and try again.
Infrastructure measures, construction safety standards, licensing, and regulatory procedures vary by country. Try to avoid travel in unsafe vehicles on unsafe roads, and exercise caution when using stairways, ramps, and handrails. Take extra precaution when hiking in areas with poor trail geography and infrastructure, especially if guardrails and other safety features are missing or dilapidated. Bring and use bug spray to help protect against insect-borne illnesses, especially from mosquitos and ticks. Protests occur frequently on university campuses and in public spaces; avoid these protests and refrain from engaging with (including photographing) the demonstrations. In addition to consulting the above-mentioned governmental agencies, review the WMU website, especially the section entitled “Health and Safety Abroad
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Good academic standing.
Open to all majors.
There is no need to know Spanish. If you have had Spanish instruction, you will have an opportunity to practice. But Spanish is not required.
Course Objectives: In this class you will gain familiarity and proficiency with concepts and tools used to gauge and promote the economic well-being of individuals within an economy. The Dominican Republic will serve as a case study. The interaction of the economy with social realities will present itself as an ongoing theme as will the relations of the economy with one poor neighbor (Haiti) and one rich neighbor (U.S.) About one-tenth of the Dominican population lives in the U.S., while up to one-tenth of the population residing in the Dominican Republic is Haitian or Haitian-descendent. What are the origins of these migratory flows? How does the mix of immigration and emigration play out in the economic, social and political spheres?
Participants will earn the 3 WMU course GIST 3500, Topics in Global Studies: Social and Economic Issues in Dominican Republic. Students are responsible for contacting academic advisors in their intended degree program(s) to determine if and how this course contributes toward graduate requirements.
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Cost & Financial Aid
Commitment Fee: $410 -
This is a non-refundable fee that acts as a deposit toward the program fee.
Students eligible for federal or state financial aid may use their awards for studying abroad. After a student has been accepted to the program, he/she must complete required paperwork with WMU Financial Aid
to apply financial aid to the program costs. It is the student's responsibility to complete the paperwork prior to departure and to maintain compliance with financial aid regulations while studying abroad (i.e., remain enrolled full-time). *Non-WMU students must apply for financial aid through their home university.
Please note: Disbursement of financial aid may not coincide with the start date of the program abroad so plan ahead. Some out-of-pocket costs may occur prior to financial aid disbursement for the semester, such as the commitment fee, passport, airfare, immunizations, visa or residence permit fees (if applicable). These costs vary by program and WMU Study Abroad Specialists are available to answer questions about the program budget.
Program fees are subject to adjustment due to changes in actual exchange rates or other factors. In addition, programs may be modified or cancelled in the event of insufficient enrollment. Program dates are subject to slight adjustment by the home/host university.
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Students will be housed at hotels, with 2 to 3 persons per room.
June1, 2018 Orientation 2:30-4:00 May combine with your overall WMU orientation. This pre-trip orientation meeting is mandatory.
August 7, 2018 Travel to Santo Domingo
August 8, 2018 Colonial City tour; Visit with Movimiento Social Cultural de los Trabajadores Haitianos (MOSCTHA).
August 9, 2018 Travel to the northwestern border area (Monte Cristi); On the way stop in the city of Santiago to visit a cultural center (Centro León).
August 10, 2018 Spend day at Dajabón market; Visit with Alerta Joven, a program to help disadvantaged youth. Visit with the Free Trade Zone to understand policies intended to integrate the DR with the world trading system.
August 11, 2018 Beach day at Cayo Arena and Punta Rucia on the north coast of the DR. (Educational purpose is to motivate discussion of tourism as a promoter of economic growth)
August 12, 2018 Travel to Boca Chica; stop at Agora Mall
August 13, 2018 Visit to Batey Gathier – Haitian community and Caminante, a child rescue organization.
August 14, 2018 Ingenio Cristobal Colon (sugar mill) and the Free Trade Zone of San Pedro de Macoris
August 15, 2018 Travel to U.S.
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Dr. Susan Pozo, Faculty Director
Tel: (269) 387-5553
Study Abroad Specialist:
Study Abroad Specialist
Phone: (269) 387-5890
Location: 3306 Faunce
Demographic Information (external links)
Country Specific Information - Dominican Republic
Culture Gram - Dominican Republic
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