The Academic Service Learning program in Social Work is made up to two full weeks designed to give you a multifaceted picture of the social services system in the Dominican Republic, and then put that new knowledge to use in a local community through service learning. Plus, you’ll be able to experience Dominican culture firsthand, by eating local foods, exploring beautiful tropical beaches, and building unique friendships with local teachers and kids.
The first week is composed of a series of workshops, classes, and field trips guided by local experts in social work, such as experienced social service providers. Through visits to both private and public elementary schools, public and private health clinics, a children's home, and a center for children with developmental disabilities, you’ll see firsthand the reality of the Dominican social services system, and come to understand the challenges that a social workers faces in the developing world context. The topics covered include:
• Dominican Culture and Subculture
• Dominican History and its Impact on Today
• Development Issues and the Provision of Social Services in the DR
• Case Studies in Social Justice
• Youth at Risk in the Dominican Republic
• Human Rights, Challenges, and the Role of Women in the DR
• Tour of the Colonial Zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Your group can also choose to add in optional Spanish classes to your schedule.
In your second week, you’ll use what you learned the previous work and put it to work as part of a dynamic service project in a Dominican community. You’ll work directly with the local people, doing activities such as working with individuals living with HIV and their families, supporting a women's cooperative, interacting with school children and improving the physical infrastructure through the construction of latrines, gardens or a community center.
All the work that CSA volunteers and students take part in is a piece of a larger initiative, ensuring that that time you invest in the community will be sustainable and have a long-term impact.
And relaxation! You will have lots of lots of fun and adventure in your two weeks. Dance classes, visits to the historical center, see a professional baseball game or throw a few pitches yourself, swim in a lazy river with local kids, horseback ride on a cacao plantation, or wander down a tropical island beach are all things you might get to do during your trip.
The Dominican Republic has much beauty, both cultural and natural, to explore. So come, eat a tree-ripe mango, cheer at a wild baseball game, and soak in the gorgeous sunshine!
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