Service Learning in the Dominican Republic

Student with painting
Rosita and students
waterfall group photo

Tentative Dates: May 11 - 19, 2018

MGT 3954 or MGT 5954 Study Abroad

3 Credit Hours


The program in the Dominican Republic is 9 days long. It also includes class meetings every other week during spring semester. These classes cover culture, history, economic development, and small business.

Spanish proficiency is not required, but there will be many opportunities to practice Spanish, French or Creole.

The service learning project will give students a chance to help Haitian immigrants and their small businesses in the Dominican Republic, in Puerto Plata on the north coast.

The Dominican Republic borders the country of Haiti. Both countries are developing economies, but Haiti is the poorer of the two. Thus the DR receives many Haitian immigrants. We will work with Project Esperanza (Hope) which helps these immigrants develop small businesses. We will help these businesses to improve their access to markets, web presence and overall operations.

We will also visit cultural and recreational sites in the Dominican Republic.

Here is a video made by 2 Hokies who volunteered with Project Esperanza in Puerto Plata during Spring Break 2014.


Students will stay in a hostel type setting in Puerto Plata. Meals will be served at the hostel. The hostel is close to downtown and beaches.

The faculty leader is Reed Kennedy, who teaches in the Management Department. He has led numerous study abroad programs in 4 continents. Fluent in Spanish, he lived in Latin America for 4 years. He has been to this area of the Dominican Republic multiple times. His main career was in hospital administration, and his programs have a leadership focus.

Undergraduate students will receive 3 credits in MGT 3954, and graduate students in MGT 5954.

This is a spring semester course, so students do not have to pay additional tuition if already taking 12 credits. The course meets every other week during the semester for 2 hours at a time that works for all students.  Remember, if you will be taking more than 19 credits including this course, you will need to request permission to take a Course Overload.  The experiential portion of the class will take place in May as the semester ends, and you will receive your final grade after all work is completed and graded.

MGT 3954 can also be substituted for the Area 7 requirement. These credits count as elective credits. MGT 3954 can be one of the elective courses for the Pamplin International Business Minor.

Students must keep a journal and write reports during the program. Participation in all activities of the program is required. Your grade will be reduce one full letter grade if you miss an activity.

The program fee is $1,550. A $500 deposit is required once you are accepted into the program. You will get an email about paying the program fee. The program fee includes roundtrip airfare from Roanoke or Charlotte to Puerto Plata, lodging, meals, local transportation.

Deadline for Applications: November 1st. Apply Early!! Acceptance is on a first come basis.

The balance of the program fee is due on November 10th.

Cost In-state Out-of-state
Program Fees $1,550 $1,550
Tuition & Fees** Included in Spring Semester Included in Spring Semester
Meals not included $50 $50
Lodging Included Included
Airfare Included Included
Group Travel Included Included
Passport $135 $135
Baggage and Visa fees $65 $65
Personal & Other Expenses $100 $100
Total Estimated Costs: $1,900

**Tuition is included in Spring semester for VT students.


Virginia Tech reserves the right to make cancellations, date and cost adjustments, and other necessary changes in the program. Prices may change due to global economic conditions.

Financial Aid

Your financial aid eligibility might apply to this program. You must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the University FInancial Aid Office. In addition, you must submit the study abroad cost documentation form to the study abroad office at the International Affairs building, 526 Prices Fork Road, room 131. The form can be found on the Education Abroad Financial Aid page.

Acceptance is on a first-come-first-served basis. There are 20 seats available for the program. This program is open to any Virginia Tech students.

Application Deadline November 1, 2017

A $500 deposit is required upon acceptance into the program. You may make the payment to your student account, then call the Bursar’s office at 540-231-6277 and designate the payment for your Study Abroad trip.

Go to the VT Education Abroad site and complete the application process. Click the "Apply Now" button and follow the instructions. There are a couple steps in the process. Be sure to complete Online Submissions, Material Submissions, Signature Documents.

Click here to Apply - then click on the "Apply Now" button

We will travel as a group to and from Puerto Plata, The Dominican Republic.

Each student must have a valid passport from their home country. You can apply for a passport in Squires Student Center.

You should insure that you have the proper vaccinations for this program. This can be done through the University’s recommended travel clinic (Intravene), a county health department, or your family physician. Your family physician usually does not have the more specialized vaccines and should refer you to the county health department. You can see a list of recommended vaccinations and other health information at the CDC travel website.

These sites have additional information:

The weather is tropical, highs in the 80s and lows in the 70s. Plan your clothes accordingly.

There are stores for most personal products in town.

The beach is about a 10 minutes drive away.

Electric Applicances

The Dominican Republic uses 110 volt, 60 HZ electricity like the USA. But there can be power surges and low-voltages so bring surge protection for valuable electronics.

Packing List

The brochure is located below.

Going to the DR was the most rewarding experiences I could have asked to have. Living among locals, in poverty, for nine days taught me so much about the culture of the country, and the perspectives of real people. Watching poverty on television, and actually experiencing it are two different things. I look forward to going back, and seeing old friends I made during my time there.
                                                                                                Diamond Lee, Biochemistry


I couldn't imagine what my freshman year would have been like without this unforgettable trip. I met so many people and made so many lifelong connections, including the VT students as well as the amazing people in the DR. I highly recommend this trip to anyone adventurous who likes to make a difference in the world. The Dominican Republic has so much to offer and seeing how much of an impact we left in just a week was a feeling I will cherish forever.
                                                                                                Simone Race, Business


Our trip was unforgettable. We gained invaluable business experience and social skills while also gaining a new perspective on society that no book can describe.
                                                                                                Will Humble, Finance