Experience two very different sides of the Dominican Republic during this intensive program. Leave the resorts and tourist destinations behind as you travel deep into the heart of the country to the bateyes—underserved communities of predominantly Haitian sugarcane workers. Though resources are in short supply, there is a generous sense of community. Listen to stories from local farmers, mothers, leaders, and youth, and contribute to service projects designed to create lasting improvements. Then travel northeast for a completely different experience and reflect on your time in the bateyes amid the country’s turquoise waters and white sand beaches.
Components of a Critical Issues Program
- Deliberate Focus: Students explore specific global issues as they exist in communities around the world.
- Pre-Travel Engagement: Prior to their arrival in the program’s base country, students build an understanding of the issue their program focuses on through readings, film screenings, and various learning opportunities.
- Program Content and Discussion: Students progress through a curriculum comprised of activities, discussions, and debriefs designed to expand their understanding and exploration of key topics.
- Program Staff: Program Leaders on Critical Issues programs have intimate local knowledge and an academic or professional background in the focus area.
Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:
Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.
A school backpack is ideal as it can be used for day trips.
- Two photocopies of passport
- Book and/or journal
- Ear buds
- Change of clothes
- Water bottle
- Additional community service forms
- Visa documentation (if applicable)
- Consent to Travel form
- Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.
- Socks (15)
- Underwear (15)
- Pants/capris (2)
- Jeans (1)
- Long service shorts (2-3)
- Long skirt
- T-shirts (8-12)
- Long sleeved shirt (1-2, lightweight)
- Quick dry towel
- Beach towel/sarong
- Rain jacket
- Light jacket
- Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
- Sneakers (2)
- Hat (for sun)
- Work gloves
(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)
- Body wash
- Face wash
- Oxybenzone-free sunscreen (reef-safe)
- Bug spray
- Feminine hygiene products
- Contact solution
- Foam earplugs
- Personal med kit
- Wet Wipes
- Razor/shaving cream