Education in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has an education program in place for students. Primary education begins at the age of three. Students continue through until the age of 17. It is freely provided by the government. However, students who live in remote areas do not have schooling access locally. After completing these years of school, students are then able to enroll in an intermediate school, which lasts for about two years. Students can then move into a secondary course, which can last up to four years. At this level, the student earns a bachillerato, which is the equivalent to a high school diploma.
Unfortunately, only a very limited number of students reach this level. This is due to the many students who live in low income areas. Financial hardships in many areas of the country limit the amount of education students actually can obtain. Even in those areas where students are wealthier, which is still considered not luxurious living by any western standard, students do not attend these public schools. Most will attend private schools. Most private schools in the Dominican Republic are religious institutions, as the country has a strong religious base.
In addition to these schooling options, students may be able to enroll in vocational schools. These are publically available. Most vocational schools provide education in automotive, agriculture, and similar industries. However, even this type of education is not obtainable for many students.
There are a number of universities in the country. Again, most of these are sponsored by religious organizations, including numerous that are international. Some of those schools are listed below:
- Universidad Autonoma de Santa Domingo, located in Santo Domingo
- Universidad Iberoamericana, located in Santo Domingo
- Pontificia Universidad Catolica Mardre y Maestra
- Universidad APEC, located in Santo Domingo
- Universidad del Caribe, located in Santo Domingo
- University Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena, located in Santo Domingo
Since most of these schools are private, it is very common for the schools themselves to establish the terms for enrollment of both local and international students. While most accept international students, it is not as common for students to enroll in these programs. Additionally, tuition costs are set by the school. Scholarships are often available to local students, but not for international students in most cases.
The educational sessions are set by the schools as well. Most programs are customizable for international students. Many students enroll in programs such as:
- Social and cultural programs
Students will need to apply months in advance to obtain entrance into these programs. Study abroad programs are one of the most effective ways for students to enroll in courses in the Dominican Republic.
Travel Visas for Students
If the student plans to enroll in a program, and be in the country, for less than 90 days, he or she will not need a specialized visa for study here. Basic tourism visas are effective. Students who plan to remain longer, will need to have a document from the participating program that will show that the student has been accepted into a program. The student visa application is available at the Consulate General's website for your area. There is a fee required, but this fee differs from one area to the next. Local embassies are the best method for applying here.
Students are not given insurance for any medical needs through public programs here. International students will need to obtain a health insurance policy the applies to their study abroad plans. The immigration process will require students to have this type of insurance in place, too.