Applications for the study abroad program in the Dominican Republic for the winter session are open through April 1. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State

The Office of International Affairs has added a new program abroad that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic. The first trip is set to take place in winter 2019.

Beginning Dec. 12, 20 students will have 10 days to witness first-hand what education is like in Santiago de los Caballeros, the country’s second-largest city.

“I want students to come away from this program with a theoretical intellectual framework, so that in any country they go to in the future they will be thinking of who has access to education and why,” Grace Johnson, director of education abroad at OIA, said.

Johnson has been with OIA since 1990 and said she is excited to guide students through this new experience in the Latin American country.

Johnson said that as educational access becomes a growing concern in the Dominican Republic, participants will learn how cultural demographics like race, gender and class affect Dominican students’ accessibility to higher education.

“To be a part of this program, you need to be interested in educational access — you need to care about that,” Johnson said.

She said that the group will visit a variety of grade schools in the city of Santiago and compare the environment of public schools to private schools.

The participants will also get the opportunity to visit the social service agency, Accion Callejera, where they will meet social workers who work directly with the orphans of Santiago.

“I believe it is important for us to witness first-hand what education is like in other countries,” Ciarra Strange, a third-year in psychology who is interested in the program and plans on applying within the next couple of weeks, said. “It will allow us to appreciate the access we have to education and be more mindful of the situation of others.”

Along with the study abroad trip, participants will be enrolled in a 1-credit-hour course in the Fall 2019. It will focus on the Dominican Republic’s turbulent history and economy, and will meet biweekly on Wednesdays.

The program is estimated to cost between $1,500 to $2,000, including flight, hotel and most meals, but not including passport fees.

For more information about the program, Johnson will be hosting an information session at 4 p.m., March 20, in Room 160 of Enarson Classroom Building.

The application deadline is April 1, which includes an application fee of $150. Decisions will be made by April 15.