These are the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo and the Universidad Central del Este.
Like the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, founded in 1962, many of the nation’s higher education institutions are relatively young, founded in the second half of the 20th century.
Many are colleges specializing in technology subjects – such as the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC).
Meanwhile, private non-profit institutions such as the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña (UNPHU) offer courses in a broad range of subjects – ranging from arts and humanities to science and technology.
As you’d expect, fees are lower in the public system, and private institutions vary in cost, often charging per credit. In general, however, higher education in the Dominican Republic is a relatively affordable option.
Dominican universities follow the bachelor's, master's, PhD path – though the graduate market is relatively new.
Facts about the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic enjoys tropical weather – so expect it be fairly hot all year round. A wet season generally occurs around May, or towards the end of the year on the north coast. A down side of this tropical climate is that hurricanes and other such extreme conditions do occur occasionally.
Much of the region is mountainous, and the country is home to Pico Duarte, the highest peak in the Caribbean. The temperature is a little cooler in these areas. There are also areas of semi-arid desert plains, and of rainforest.
Getting around in the Dominican Republic can be a pretty unique experience. For travel in cities, there are guaguas, caro publicos or motoconchos – privately owned vans, taxis and motorcycles – which you can flag down at the side of the road.
Apart from the bikes, these are communal forms of transport, so you’ll be sharing with whoever else has piled in. For that reason, try and find one that’s heading in roughly the right direction in the first place.
Santo Domingo has a metro system, which currently only consists of one line, running from north to south. A second line is under construction, and four more are planned. The most popular form of public transport however, is the bus – which you can use both within cities and for longer distance journeys.
Life in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic may not be a traditional destination for international students, but it does have a well-established tradition of higher education. In fact, it claims to have been the site of the first university founded in the Americas: the Universidad Santo Tomás de Aquino, founded in 1538.
Though the university no longer exists in that form, its legacy is continued by the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo – the country’s only public university, which has around a dozen regional branches in addition to its main campus in capital city Santo Domingo.
As in most of Latin America, the national language is Spanish, and cultural heritage draws on a mixture of indigenous, European and African influences.
The influence of the US – the Dominican Republic’s main trading partner – is also apparent, for example in the country’s love of baseball. It has its own national league, as well as being a prime exporter of talent to the US.
As in much of Latin America, it is typical for students to live at home while they study, rather than living in student accommodation. Living with a host family is definitely an option to consider, but private accommodation is also available if you’d prefer. Universities or agencies will be able to help in either case.
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