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  • Locations: Cabarete, Dominican Republic; Rio Limpio, Dominican Republic; Santiago, Dominican Republic; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Program Terms: December
  • Click for Tuition + Program Fee: December
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Short-term Academic Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
Recommended GPA: 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Prerequisite: See course descriptions below Liberal Studies Domain: EL, SI: Non-lab
Program Description:
Banana Tree

This short-term study abroad service learning program provides DePaul undergraduates with the opportunity to combine a service project using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with experiential learning focused on the challenges of sustainable food systems development and environmental restoration in a developing country in Latin America. The courses offered in this program reside in the Departments of Geography and Community Service Studies. The program will educate students on how contemporary rural and urban development issues are deeply embedded in the colonial and postcolonial history and political economy of the DR and the island of Hispaniola. The highlight of the proposed program is a 5-day visit to Rio Limpio to engage DePaul students with CREAR high school students. DePaul students trained in geotechnology during the Fall Term will participate in educating CREAR students on GIS community mapping while the latter instruct DePaul students on local sustainable agricultural practices.

The project in Rio Limpio will be complemented on the front and back ends of the program by a variety of educational and experiential programming. Students will be introduced to the country in the heartland city of Santiago, founded in 1495, and historically the center of the country’s Tobacco production and industry. In recent decades the city has expanded rapidly as a result of international investment in export processing zones among other forms of industrialization. Expert lectures at the local Catholic university, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), will introduce students to the development challenges faced by the DR. In Santiago students will be housed with families in walking distance to PUCMM.

Students will end the program with a visit to Cabarete, a coastal own on the north coast of the Dominican Republic for three days. On the way to the coast we will visit and meet with farmers and workers from CONACADO, an organic, fair trade, farm to consumer cooperative of cacao producers in the Eastern Cibao, one of the richest agricultural regions in the world. This will give students the experience of seeing and learning about alternative forms of cash crop production that have a strong social justice focus and mission. In Cabarete we partner with the Mariposa DR Foundation ( where students learn about their work with young girls and women from the region who are supported academically, socially and economically through innovative leadership and social and environmental justice programs. All the girls and young women who are part of this program are from families who struggle to provide the resources necessary for access to schools, jobs, and healthy lives. Students will engage with Mariposa students in a number of interactions with environmental and social consequences.

The above activities will be complemented by smaller service-learning projects with schools and NGO’s in Santiago, Santo Domingo, and Rio Limpio.

Cassie Follett is the GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Coordinator for Geography, helping to plan and expand GIS capabilities on campus and managing the new GIS Lab on campus. Before coming to DePaul she worked for NASA and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and received her MA from West Virginia University while researching big data and open source web GIS. She is a volunteer with several open source GIS projects such as Cesium and QGIS. She has taught service learning GIS courses through the Geography program, in addition to intro and higher level GIS courses. Cassie’s research interest include participatory and critical GIS, GIS programming, and issues of public health and environmental justice in urban contexts.

Howard Rosing is the Executive Director of the Steans Center where he oversees the work of Academic Service Learning and the Egan Office for Urban Education and Community Partnerships and supports DePaul's partnership with the Asset-Based Community Development Institute which is housed at the Center. He works with faculty to develop scholarship on service-learning and community-based research as pedagogies. Dr. Rosing also serves as a faculty member in Community Service Studies and an affiliate faculty member in Geography, Sustainable Urban Development (MASUD) and Community Psychology and co-directs MASUD. He has taught and developed numerous service learning courses including Community Food Systems and Geography, Food and Justice which serve as required courses in DePaul's Minor in Food Studies. Dr. Rosing is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on urban food access, economic restructuring, community food systems, and food justice movements in Chicago and the Dominican Republic.

All students will be enrolled in the following 2 courses:
Course GEO 141 (Undergraduate)/ SUD 490 (Graduate): Community GIS in the Dominican Republic
Credits 4 credit hours
Term registered Fall 2019
Liberal Studies Domain Students will receive Scientific Inquiry non-lab (SI) credit by default. If students would prefer Experiential Learning (EL) credit, it is available by request at the time of course registration, prior to the start of the quarter.
Taught by Cassandra Follett
Course description This is an introductory-level course covering the fundamentals of GIS. Topics include GPS, remote sensing, data models (vector and raster), coordinate systems, and map design. Instruction is accomplished through lectures and hands-on computer lab exercises using ArcGIS.

Laboratory work includes student mapping projects that will be completed using GIS on desktop computers and mobile devices. You will complete three (3) lab activities during fall term - these will help prepare you for work we will be doing in DR, and in the completion of your final project in Winter term. A final project proposal will be developed through the fall term by each student. It is assumed that students are comfortable and confident users of quantitative data and computer applications in a Windows client-server environment. A fundamental understanding of computing will allow you to move beyond the simple lab exercises to develop competence in GIS and its applications.
Cross Listings PSC201 GIS; GEO 395 (Students who have taken GEO 141 can enroll in GEO 395 Special Topics or in a Special Topics course arranged in their degree program).
Course CSS 320 (Undergraduate)/SUD 420 (Graduate): Community Food Systems
Credits 4 credit hours
Term registered Winter 2020
Liberal Studies Domain TBD
Taught by Howard Rosing
Course description This course will explore the concepts of community food systems and community food security in the Dominican Republic (DR) through the lens of a rural town, Rio Limpio, in the highlands of western DR. Rio Limpio is involved in a decades-long experiment with developing sustainable agriculture to promote improved livelihoods, food security, and environmental conservation. Students will be provided with domestic and international venues for development of critical analytical thinking skills in relation to the issue of community food security in a developing country.
Cross Listings SUD 420; GEO 395; (Students who have taken CSS 320 can enroll in CSS 390 Special Topics or in a Special Topics course arranged in their degree program).
  Please note that although some courses are registered in a particular term, some coursework or final assignments may be due in a different term. E.g. Course registered in winter quarter, but coursework is due in spring quarter once the travel component of the program is complete.

Students will be housed in cabins while staying in the town of Rio Limpio, homestays while residing in Santiago, and hotels in Santo Domingo and Cabarete.  

All students participating in study abroad will be charged both tuition (billed at the regular DePaul tuition rate, based on the number of credits enrolled) and a program fee. Please read the program fee details carefully to understand exactly what is included, as this can vary from program to program. If the program fee is posted, be sure to note whether the fee is current or from a previous year (past program fees may serve as a guide until the current program fee is available). If the current program fee has not yet been posted, please check back closer to the application deadline. Please also note the withdrawal policy.

DePaul offers several types of scholarships for students studying abroad, and students should visit the scholarship page early in the application process for information on eligibility and deadlines.


Engage in service learning with a sustainable agriculture high school in the Dominican Republic highlands in the town of Rio Limpio on the border with Haiti

-Live with families in Santiago, a city founded in 1495 and the historical epicenter of tobacco production in the Caribbean

-Visit the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to learn about sustainable agriculture projects

-Tour Santo Domingo, the first European city in the Americas and home to the oldest cathedral and the birthplace of Spanish colonialism in the Americas.

-Engage in service learning at St Vincent DePaul High School in Santo Domingo and with grade school children in Santiago and Rio Limpio

-Work on knowledge exchange projects with youth at the Mariposa DR Foundation in the coastal town of Cabarete

-Fair Trade organizations to learn about efforts to create economic justice in the DR

-Learn from local Dominican scholars about the social and environmental challenges facing the island of Hispaniola, home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti

If you are planning to study abroad and do not have a passport, apply for one immediately. Some programs require travelers to obtain visas. In that case, contact the local consulates or embassies of the countries you will be visiting for up-to-date instructions on how to apply for them. Please note, however, that visa requirements can change. The Study Abroad Program will update this website to reflect changes to the visa requirements as they become available.

Here are some helpful tips from former students who have participated in this program:
  • Ask the professors to put up readings way ahead of time by late October.
  • Build more GIS skills than what you were taught… they will help in the long run.
  • Keep in mind that it is difficult to eat in Dominican Republic with dietary restrictions, so plan ahead and ask questions.
  • Obtain a local SIM card as soon as you arrive. Claro has excellent LTE coverage in Rio Limpio.


Questions about this program? Contact your study abroad advisor, Erica Rideaux at or visit during open advising hours.

DePaul University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or handicap in admissions, employment, or the provision of services. Inquiries regarding this policy should be addressed to the Director of Human Resources, 1 East Jackson Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

Circumstances, such as an unexpected event abroad or a curriculum change, may require DePaul University to make changes to the program. DePaul University reserves the right to cancel or alter programs and courses without notice.

Dates / Deadlines:

Thank you for your interest in this program! We are not currently accepting applications. In general, applications open about 6 months before program application deadlines.

This program is currently not accepting applications.