Study abroad with Penn State—in the Dominican Republic
As a student in the embedded course, Plants, People, and Places in the Dominican Republic, you will learn about Latin American culture as well as the functional, aesthetic, and economic uses of plants across cultures and time.
Through classroom study, you will explore how fundamental aspects of modern Western culture evolved after 1492 when plants, people, animals, and diseases moved between Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean Islands during the Columbian exchange.
During fall break, you will travel to the Dominican Republic for an immersive cultural experience. You will explore Santo Domingo, the capital city, which hails as the most modern and dynamic metropolis in the Caribbean. La Capital, as it is affectionately called, epitomizes the pulse of Dominican culture, where the old and the new converge—from centuries old architecture and history to art galleries, an electric nightlife, and a booming gastronomy scene.
While in Santo Domingo, you will visit the Colonial City, the first European settlement of the Americas and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historic neighborhood consists of a pedestrian-friendly maze of narrow streets brimming with 16th to early 20th century architectural wonders.
You will also be challenged to collect information for a project on a specific plant (sugar, coffee, tobacco, or chocolate) that was cultivated as a cash crop by the European powers that colonized the Caribbean Islands.
Travel Itinerary (subject to change)
- Day 1 Depart for the Dominican Republic
- Tour Santo Domingo Colonial Zone
- Day 2 Santo Domingo
- Tour Alcázar de Colón, Catedral Santa Maria la Menor, and Los Tres Ojos Park
- Take the Kahkow Experience to see how the cacao tree is harvested and turned into chocolate
- Visit Museo de las Hermanas Mirabal, based on In the Time of the Butterflies, a movie and book by Julia Alvarez
- Day 3 Santiago via San Cristobal
- Tour Pomier Caves Anthropological Reserve and see 2000-year-old Taino cave art
- Tour Santiago
- Take a cooking lesson and learn to create traditional Dominican foods
- Day 4 Santiago
- Visit León Jimenez Cultural Center to learn about Dominican history, culture, ecology, and identity
- Tour a sugar cane plantation
- Visit the Museum of Rum and Sugar Cane
- Day 5 Santiago
- Join an excursion to Dajabón to discuss Haiti-Dominican Republic relations
- Take a dance lesson and hear traditional folk music while learning the merengue and bachata dances
- Day 6 Puerto Plata
- Tour the city and identifying native plants at the botanical garden
- Take an aerial tram to Isabel de Torres peak
- Day 7 Puerto Plata
- Tour the rainforest canopy
- Visit a local farm to see agricultural crops and technology
- Visit Limon Forest and waterfall
- Day 8 Puerto Plata
- Explore Jardín Botánico Nacional, the largest botanical gardens in the Caribbean
- Day 9 Depart for Philadelphia
International program costs, estimated at $2,500–$3,200 (subject to change), will be applied to your bursar account upon enrollment in the course, and are charged in addition to tuition paid. Grants and scholarship monies may be retroactively available through Penn State. Underwriting for each program is provided by Penn State Abington to maximize opportunities for our students to study abroad. Program costs include round-trip airfare, local ground transportation, all lodging, and some meals.
Non-U.S. citizens may require a visa in addition to their passport. Non-U.S. citizens should consult their embassy for information and may ask the Office of Global Programs for guidance.
About Embedded Courses
Traditionally, “study abroad” meant that students spent a semester in another country and attended classes at an accredited university. Short-term, faculty-led courses with an international travel component are viable alternatives as they offer solid academic international experiences at a reasonable cost with a reduced time commitment.
Students who are enrolled in a course within a faculty-led embedded course are taking an internationally focused class that includes a ten-day travel component. These study abroad programs are anchored on Penn State Abington’s campus with travel occurring over fall or spring break. Course material and lectures prepare students both academically and culturally for the short international excursion to the country of focus in the program.
Penn State Abington is committed to providing meaningful opportunities to study abroad. Exposure to other cultures is a vital step toward becoming a global citizen.
The goal of the courses with an international travel component is to embed the students into the life and culture of the university and the country they visit. Therefore, including international faculty and students at the host institution in academic and cultural activities is a highly regarded and critical component of all of Abington’s faculty-led programs.