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Syllabus and Itinerary

ANT 399/INS 360

The Social, Cultural, Environmental, and Economic

Impacts of Development in Hispaniola:

Alternative Spring Break in the Dominican Republic



Professor Peter Stovall (CLS Academic Services)

Dates: March 16-24, 2012


Course description:

This alternative spring break trip will provide students with first-hand knowledge and experiences of the social, cultural, environmental, and economic impacts of different development strategies in the Dominican Republic.  Trip activities will focus on working with local people to better understand changes in Dominican society from the eras of Spanish, French, and Haitian colonization to the present. 


Student Learning Outcomes:

A number of excursions and service-learning activities have been planned to illustrate the reality of the daily lives of Dominicans and migrant Haitians who take part in different venues within the tourism industry.  These activities and excursions were planned to meet prescribed student learning outcomes.  The tour will provide students with the tools to:

1) participate in culturally-relevant activities alongside local people,

2) gain real-world experience with people who provide a variety of services in the global   tourism industry,

3) assess individual and community needs of those who engage in tourism, and

4) evaluate different kinds of tourism strategies for the effects on local people in the Dominican Republic. 


Course readings:

There are required readings uploaded to the D2L website for this course.  They are to be read before students leave for the Dominican Republic.  Readings were selected to help introduce students to Dominican Spanish as well as Haitian Kreyol, and to orient students to present-day cultures and the pre-history/history of Hispaniola.


Course assignments:

1.      Daily journal entries (90 points/10 points each entry X 9 days): At the beginning of each day on the trip, students will be given prompt questions, questions they should ponder during the course of that day’s activities.  Each evening, students will be required to respond to this question as a journal entry, and all students and instructors will meet in the evening to discuss the day’s events. 

2.      Final Reaction Essay (100 points): The trip will culminate with the submission of a final reaction essay, requiring students to integrate the lessons they learned while working with local people on the trip and the lectures/ assigned readings.  These essays will be 4-5 double-spaced, typed pages, 12 point font, 1 inch margins.  The final essay will be submitted to the course dropbox on D2L.  Guidelines for the assignments will be distributed on the trip before students return to the United States. 


                                    Journal Entries (9)                   90 points

                                    Final Reaction Essay               100 points

                                    TOTAL                                  190 points



Final Grade Scale (as percentages)

A = 93-100         A/B = 89-92      B = 83-88      B/C = 79-82    C = 70-78    D = 60-69     F = >59



Trip Itinerary

This program’s objective is to show students the various types of agricultural production in addition to providing insight to the Dominican history and culture by visiting different points of interests, from the Colonial Zone to small rural communities that cultivate coffee, rice, sugar cane, and other agricultural products.   During this trip we will also be taking the students to a developed tourism region in order to show them the traditional tourism model, which comprises the bulk of the tourism industry in the country.

This itinerary is meant to provide the students with an opportunity to experience sustainable tourism in the Dominican Republic, interacting with the communities of Rio Limpio and “bateyes” in Barahona.


Day 1-. Arrival & Orientation

Arrival, transfer from the airport to the hotel in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone. Check in and group orientation to explain the trip itinerary.


Day 2-. City tour of Santo Domingo

By visiting museums in the Colonial Zone and the cultural plaza we will be able to explain to the group of students the country’s pre-columbian, colonial, and republican history.


7:30 am. Breakfast at the hotel.

8:45 am. Departure to the colonial zone and walking tour (2h 30 minutes)

  • Catedral nuestra señora de la encarnación
  • Fortaleza de santo domingo
  • Panteón de la patria
  • Museo de las casas reales
  • Museo Alcázar de colon

12:30 Lunch (included).

2:00 pm visit to the museums of anthropology and natural history

5:00 pm shopping at the colonial market.

6:00 pm. Back to the hotel and dinner (not included)



Day 3-. Visit to Rancho Baiguate, fabrica de café y arrive in Rio Limpio

In this part of the program, we will show the group of students new methods of agricultural production, particularly organic farming. We will also visit a coffee plantation and get to know how worm-produced fertilizer is made and works.


6:00 am. Check-out and departure to Jarabacoa in the north region.

8:40 am. Arrive at Rancho Baiguate to have breakfast (included)

9:20 am. Visit to the small plantation of macadamia nuts and explication about vermiculture.

10: 30 am. Departure to the organic coffee factory Monte Alto.

12:30 m. Back to Rancho Baiguate, Lunch (included).

1:45 pm. Departure to the community Rio Limpio (approximately 4 hours)

6:20 Arrive at the Centro Eco-Turístico Nalga de Maco, check-in and distribution of the rooms.

7:30 pm Dinner (included) and free time.



Day 4-. Visit Piso Verde Farm, Greenhouses, and Centro Crear

With this visit, the students will be able to get to know and interact with Dominican students that are currently studying agriculture. They will also receive information about biodynamic and reforestation project.


8:00 am. Breakfast  (included)

9:00 am. Visit to la Finca Piso Verde y los invernaderos (greenhouses)

12:15 am. Back to Centro Eco Turístico Nalga de Maco

12:45 a m.  Lunch (included)

2:00 pm. Visit to Centro Crear (Interactive visit with students who study organic agriculture and vermiculture)

4:00 pm. Back to eco-center and free time

7:00 pm. Dinner (included)

8:00 pm. Live music played by a local merengue and bachata band, created by the youth of the community of Rio Limpio (included)


Day 5-. Visit to Vivero y Siembra de Arboles

This part of the program considers that the students take part in the reforestation of the Nalga de Maco National Park.


8:00 am. Breakfast (included)

9:00 am. Visit to the plant nursery and reforestation at a selected area.

12: 00 m. Lunch (included)

1:30 pm. Check-out, departure back to Santo Domingo

7:00 pm. Arrive at the hotel in Santo Domingo, check-in and free time

Day 6-. Visit to Historic Sugar Cane Plantation

On Day 6, the students will learn about sugar cane farming and production. This part is particularly interesting as it also touches on an important period in the history of the Americas. The students will be able to visit a historic and contemporary sugar mill.


7:00 am. Breakfast (included)

8:00 am. Check-out and departure to the southwest region

8:30 am. Visit to the Old ruins of the colonial sugar cane factory at Nigua, San Cristóbal

9:15 am. Departure to Barahona to visit the sugar cane plantation, Barahona

12:30 pm. Arrive in Barahona and  lunch (included)

2:00 pm. Visit to the central azucarero to see the process of the sugar production.

4:00 pm. Departure to the hotel in Barahona, check-in and free time

7:00 pm. Dinner and activities with folkloric dances (included)


Day 7-. Visit to Bateyes

With the visit to the “bateyes” in Barahona, the students will be able to get a sense of the reality of where sugar cane workers live, their culture and way of life.


7:00 am. Breakfast (include)

8:00 am. Check-out Departure to los bateyes de Barahona to see how sugar cane workers live.

12:30 pm. Lunch (included)

2:00 pm. Departure to Santo Domingo

5:30 pm. Arrived to the hotel, check-in and dinner free


Day 8-. Isla Saona

A day at the beach will allow us to introduce the students to the new and primary Dominican economic sector. The students will take part of the most popular tour in the country while enjoying some of the most beautiful natural resources the DR has to offer.


6:30 am. Departure to Bayahibe to visit la isla Saona (the principal tourist excursion in the DR)

7:10 am. Stop to eat breakfast 30 minutes (not included).

9:20 am. Arrive in Bayahibe and board speed boats to Saona

10:00 am. Stop for swimming at the natural swimming pool

11:30 am. Arrive at Isla Saona

1:00 pm. Lunch (included)

2:30 pm. Board a catamaran and return to Bayahibe

5:00 pm. Arrive in Bayahibe and return to Santo Domingo

7:00 pm. Arrive at the hotel and free time, dinner (not included)


Day 9-.  Departure back to the USA


This program includes:

  • Land Transportation (confortable bus)
  • Lodging
  • Specialized tour guides who speak English
  • Travelers’ insurance
  • Food  (unless otherwise indicated)
  • Snacks on the bus
  • Sea transportation
  • Tickets to museums and national parks
  • Interactive activities with  communities



How to Pack:

The Dominican Republic is a country on a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea, and the weather in March will reflect this.  There will be opportunities to swim in the ocean, so please pack your swim suit.  However, despite the heat, Dominicans rarely wear shorts.  Please be advised that although it is not considered scandalous to wear shorts, it is considered more appropriate to wear light-weight capris, skirts, and pants instead of shorts.  Tank tops are considered appropriate if they are not too revealing.  You will need to pack comfortable walking shoes and sandals.  It is recommended that you bring at least one pair of shoes that cover your entire feet and have good traction, since we will be hiking in the mountainous interior of the island, as well as working in agricultural fields.  I recommend you bring at least one pair of long pants with you because you’ll protect your legs better from the mosquito and biting insects in the interior of the island.  You will need a small towel for the beach, sunglasses, insect repellant, and a good hat and sunscreen (the Caribbean sun is very strong).  High/low temperatures in March are typically 83/71 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll only need one or two long-sleeved shirts to warm up if it’s breezy.  There is typically very little precipitation in March, so no rain gear is necessary.  Pack lightly – this trip will be fast-paced as we travel daily from place to place.  It is difficult to travel like this, and it is made even more difficult if you have a very heavy backpack/suitcase packed with a lot of stuff that you’ll hardly ever need.  If you have one available, I recommend you travel using a backpack rather than a suitcase, since it’s more convenient to walk around with it on your back when needed.


Please bring all necessary prescriptions with you since it will be extraordinarily difficult to fill any medication prescribed by American physicians when we’re in the Dominican Republic.  If you are prone to motion sickness, please bring your treatment this with you, since travel by land to the interior is made over some windy dirt roads, and travel by sea can often aggravate those who are prone to sea-sickness. 


It is mandatory for all Americans to travel to the Dominican Republic using your passport (Americans are not eligible to travel to the DR on the recently issued hemispheric ‘passport cards’) and make sure that it does not expire within 6 months of our return date (March 18, 2012).  Please see the federal website for issuing American passports: http://www.uspassportnow.com/?gclid=CL3p3v39n6sCFUTBKgod1EMtjg.  Please note that the process of getting a new passport, or renewing your passport, takes a long time.  Plan accordingly.


For health concerns in the Dominican Republic, including the recommended vaccination schedule, please see the Center for Disease Control’s website for travel to the Dominican Republic: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/dominican-republic.htm.



Dominican cuisine is delicious and consists mainly of plantains (green bananas), rice and beans, beef/pork/chicken, and sometimes seafood.  If you have a shellfish allergy, you MUST tell both of the trip instructors who will inform our Dominican guides once we arrive in the DR.  Even if seafood is not present as a meat in dishes, sometimes broth made from shellfish can be used for flavoring, so we must use pre-cautions to avoid allergic reactions.  Also if you have ANY food allergy, please tell both trip instructors so we can help you avoid problems in the DR.



The trip cost includes EVERYTHING except:

·         A $10 entry fee that is paid at the airport

·         four meals (indicated on the syllabus)

·         souvenirs

·         extra-curricular activities that are not scheduled on this syllabus


Using ATM machines to get cash in Santo Domingo is very easy.  But in the countryside, ATMs are often non-existent.  Please plan on bringing some cash with you to the Dominican Republic and we will help you exchange it for Dominican pesos when we arrive.  The current exchange rate for American dollars is 37.72RD/$1.  To cover the meals that are not included in the trip cost, you will need no more than $75 (and that’s eating really well!).   


Appropriate Behavior:

As a foreigner in a foreign land, you are a guest in a new place, a place that has new cultural expectations of you, different from what you might expect if you were to be a tourist in the United States.  As a guest – and you must always think of yourselves as a guest – you must act appropriately and respectfully.  You’ll notice that Dominicans and local people will often look at us, since we are traveling as a group and this will be noted as such.  Therefore, what you do and say will matter!  You will be serving as representatives of both UW-L and the United States during your stay – this means that, whether you want to or not, people will judge you and other Americans they meet in the future based on your behavior now.  Please don’t jeopardize UWL’s nor our nation’s reputation by knowingly acting inappropriately.  Any unacceptable behavior will result in your immediate return to La Crosse at your own expense.