Go on the journey of a lifetime in the Caribbean, and build a working organization with your peers over the course of eight weeks.



  • Complete 200 hours of community service over the course of eight weeks
  • Create a working organization that meets the needs of the community
  • Go on an journey of academic, group and self discovery
  • Be immersed in multiple thematic focus areas, including social justice and public health
  • Visit Santo Domingo, the Cabarete Caves and 27 Waterfalls as part of your adventure



Program Overview

Come to the Dominican Republic to learn about critical issues affecting communities on the ground and draw connections to these same issues that exist on a global scale.

Your objective? Work as a team with your peers on the program to create an organization that parlays your passions into meeting the needs of the local or global community. Develop a mission statement and an operating plan, and set goals as you gain real-life experience in creating and sustaining your own organization.

This extended-length gap program gives students an opportunity to deepen their knowledge while being supported in developing solutions to these issues.

Think of it as a kind of pint-sized gap year experience, taking the best elements of a typical gap year and compressing it into a shorter, semester-length program to make it more accessible to more students.

You will complete 200 hours of community service on this program. Additionally, you will complete 40 language hours in Spanish as part of your experience: 20 hours of formal classroom instruction plus 20 hours of community language immersion.



Community Service

Community service is at the heart of this program, and with 200 service hours on the docket, no GLA experience offers a more robust chance to volunteer. Gain hands-on experience as you engage with concepts centered on critical issues, particularly as they relate to areas of social and environmental development. Support a variety of ongoing community projects that tap into each of the learning themes this semester-long program has to offer. You may tackle projects such as reforestation and forest clean-up, construction of sustainability-focused bottle buildings that generate new uses out of discarded plastic, supporting a pop-up clinic to promote public health, and constructing infrastructure such as water tanks and latrines that contribute to community wellbeing.

Immersive Learning

Through this process of intensive hands-on exploration, students will work together to focus on one specific critical issue, and then develop an organization dedicated to mitigating the problem they identify. Engage in meaningful curriculum focused on the areas of community development, environmental stewardship, public health, social justice and human rights. Each night, you’ll participate in curricular deep-dives and workshops. Dive into each topic as you develop new perspectives and cultivate mastery in each concept over the course of the program. Guided by Dr. Dave Addison, the founder of 7 Elements, the group will work individually or as a team to create and manage their organization.


Take a tour of the colonial zone of the capital of the Domincan Republic – Santo Domingo – and learn how history has shaped what you see of the city today. Visit the local Cabarete Caves to appreciate and understand the exotic biodiversity of the island and what needs to be done to protect it. Take a boat ride down the Yasica River to see firsthand how water systems interact with one another to provide life to plants, animals and people downstream. Explore the one-of-a-kind 27 Waterfalls, where you will not only have a chance to cool off and have some fun, you’ll also learn how one Peace Corps volunteer developed this experience to help preserve the natural ecosystem. Adventure is around every corner of this program, and with eight weeks to spare, you’ll have enough time to be truly immersed in the journey.


Home Base is a rustic ecolodge built from local materials in the style of the Taíno people. The beach is just a short walk away, and students have access to a swimming pool onsite. Students will share rooms with roommates, and have shared bathrooms with cold-water showers. Food will be healthy and locally sourced, including meats, beans, rice, vegetables and fresh fruit.



Dates & Tuition

Everything you need to know before you apply.

8-Week Gap Program
Ages 18-24
2021 Dates
JUN 25 – AUG 20, 2021
Duration: 57 days
Tuition: $7,999
Student/Staff Ratio: 8 to 1
Community Service Hours: 200
Language Hours: 40
For Ages: 18-24
Lodging: Ecolodge

Tuition Includes All In-Country Expenses

  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • In-country transportation
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • Professional full-time staff and experts
  • 24/7 parent support hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and evacuation insurance
  • Cultural activities, lectures and excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support
  • Educational materials

To save your spot, a $600 deposit and $95 application fee are required.

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