The Dominican Republic (DR) makes-up the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, a Caribbean island. The miles of coastline, all-night merengue, and breathtaking geography make the Dominican Republic an ideal destination for any traveler. Not to mention the low cost of living, that makes language study so affordable, the incredible hospitality of locals, that makes life so enjoyable, and the Spanish history and ruins, that make language schools in the Dominican Republic so intriguing. With countless program options and locations to fit any student's personality, language study in the Dominican Republic is a decision you won’t regret.
Whether you wish to supplement your language studies with sea-side surf and sophisticated shops, spend your days touring historical sites and nights dancing away at clubs, or long for a rustic DR experience, you can find it all in the Dominican Republic. With varying location options, students are sure to find their perfect fit for language study abroad in the Dominican Republic.
Santo Domingo. The bustling capital of the Dominican Republic features a tasteful blend of historical sights and modern architecture along its cobblestone streets. In fact, not only is it the resting place of Christopher Columbus himself, but it boasts what is thought to be the First Church of the New World. Language students may find themselves learning to play dominos with locals, dancing merengue in the nightclubs, or surfing at nearby beaches in addition to their language study in Santo Domingo. With such rich history, modern happenings, and an easygoing spirit, it’s no wonder the vibrant city of Santo Domingo is a top location for language study in the Dominican Republic.
Sosua. Students looking for a slightly less urban experience will love the coastal community of Sosua. Famous for its golden sand, high coral cliffs, and scuba-diving, vacationers come from all over the world to bum the beaches and dine at the fine restaurants.
Cabarete. Adrenaline-loving individuals interested in language study in the Dominican Republic will thrive in the adventure-sports capital of the country, Cabarete. Previously a fishing and farming hamlet, this up-and-coming destination provides waves and water sports second to none, a comparably more sophisticated experience, and endless dining options for foodies. Language lovers will relish in shopping or dining down Cabarete’s lone main street, where they may hear as many as five or six different languages in a single stroll.
Santiago. Surrounded by mountain ranges and tobacco and sugar-cane plantations, this often overlooked city is the best option for those seeking to learn Spanish in a place more true to ordinary life in the Dominican Republic. Whether cheering on the hometown baseball team, meeting new friends in the city’s nightlife center, or partaking in Carnival, language study in Santiago will provide learners with endless opportunities to engage and converse with locals.
Language Schools & Programs
Spanish is the official national language, and by far the most common choice for language study in the Dominican Republic. However, the exact type of program that will prove most beneficial for language skill development in the Dominican Republic will depend upon an individual student’s study habits, language preference, and desired experience.
University Study Abroad. Whether utilizing study abroad programs through your home university or directly enrolling in a local university, students do have the ability to earn credit through language study in the Dominican Republic. Generally offered for a summer, semester, or occasionally year-long durations, students with intermediate and advanced Spanish language skills can supplement their education with language learning alongside a variety of other course options. Through this form of language study in the Dominican Republic, students will also have the chance to take courses taught by local professors and also study alongside local students.
Language School. Students serious about their language skill acquisition, or those looking to study languages outside the nation’s primary language, will most likely take classes at language school in the Dominican Republic. Language programs and courses offered at language institutes generally begin on Mondays and offer a range of lessons per week, and for varying lengths of time. Additionally, because the focus at language schools in the Dominican Republic is solely on Spanish language learning and immersion, classes are usually taught by experienced native speakers and feature a variety of teaching techniques, immersion activities, cultural lessons, and goals, such as conversational skills versus personalized training. Some language programs even offer volunteer or job opportunities for interested students, which can provide additional benefits when it comes to learning Spanish in a natural setting.
While Spanish classes are, of course, the most common language offered by language schools in the Dominican Republic, alternative languages offered may include English, French, German, Italian, and more.
Language & Immersion Programs. For individuals not currently in school who are seeking a more well-rounded learning experience, there are numerous opportunities for language study in the Dominican Republic that combine Spanish classes with immersion activities. Program options range from scuba diving and surfing to dancing and horseback riding to volunteering in local communities. Language instruction in these programs usually includes more intimate class sizes (ex. no more than ten per class) or even private tutoring, and students can also choose their intensity of study and hours per week more freely. Additionally, cultural excursions are normally included.
Diploma Certification Course. For students specifically seeking a Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE) certification, both Santo Domingo and Sosua offer all you will need to be successful. The three week course takes place in local schools and consists of an initial placement test with six different levels, ninety total group lessons, study materials, and accommodation provided for an extra fee.
Costs & Affordability
The cost of language study in the Dominican Republic will vary depending on your program type, length of stay, and amenities included in your program package. Students can often decide if they want meals provided or not, and can sometimes choose to upgrade their accommodation to a private room and/or private bathroom. Most language programs in the Dominican Republic will at the very least include the following amenities and services:
- Pre-departure advising
- Airport pickup
- Accommodation or assistance in finding housing
- In-country support
The cost of living in the Dominican Republic will likewise vary depending upon the chosen location, but will generally remain lower than that in the U.S. An average restaurant meal may range from $5 to $10, a dozen eggs will cost $1.50 to $2.75, and a domestic beer from a local pub runs $2 to $3.25. The business district in Santo Domingo will most often feature the highest prices, so students extremely concerned about cost will benefit from finding accommodation outside the central hub.
Accommodation & Visas
No matter what location you choose, host family accommodation will be the most common form of housing available during any form of language study in the Dominican Republic. Homestays also provide the most opportunity for cultural immersion and utilizing one’s newly acquired Spanish language skills.
Shared apartments, hotels, villas, and on-site studios make up the remaining housing options for language programs in the Dominican Republic. Larger, more populated locations, like Santo Domingo, will more commonly offer apartment style living and language programs through local universities typically offer some form of student or on-campus housing.
Visa procedures are generally simple to attend language schools in the Dominican Republic. Individuals staying under 30 days can purchase a visa for $10 at airport immigration upon arrival, while those staying for over 30 days can extend their visa once in-country. Most language schools in the Dominican Republic, as well as any other academic institution or language program provider, can assist students through the visa process as needed.
Benefits & Challenges
All-Around Assistance. Whether you are studying a language for school credit, sharpening your Spanish skills, or expanding your cultural horizons, language programs in the Dominican Republic offer extensive assistance to individuals before, during, and after their courses.
Multiple Locations. Since the Dominican Republic is relatively small, many language schools or program providers have a network of connections in various locations. This means you don’t always have to choose just one! For example, some language programs in the Dominican Republic offer the option to spend half your time in Santo Domingo and the other half in Sosua, so you get to experience two different locations.