Immersion Service Community

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High School Service Program



Language immersion programs longer than 15 days require two years of language study or the equivalent in life experience.

Dominican Republic 1
{Applications Closed}

Dominican Republic 2
June 24 – July 12 | 19 Days
70 Service Hrs | $5,590

Dominican Republic 3
July 18 –  29 | 12 Days
40 Service Hrs | $3,990

Immerse yourself in one of the most energized cultures of the Western Hemisphere. Dive into an experience far off the tourist path and impossible to create without the backdrop of more than three decades of partnerships between VISIONS and your Dominican hosts. You’re taken in like an old friend in a place where the impact of service is profound and where you’ll feel like you’re truly part of something bigger.

  • Spanish Immersion, Latin-Caribbean Vibrance
  • Socializing, Games, Beach Outing & Tours
  • School Construction & Work With Children
  • 30+ Year Legacy Of Good Times & Powerful Projects


“My VISIONS trip to the Dominican Republic was the most life-changing experience of my life. Living in the community immersed us in a culture where family is the number one priority. By the end of the trip I feel like our group truly replicated this concept.”

—Teodora Lupu

Dominicans’ warmth and resilience have charmed VISIONS participants since 1991. You’ll feel it from the day you first arrive.

Friends Become Family

If you are looking to truly immerse yourself in another culture, the DR delivers in spades. Nowhere have we had more alumni remain in touch with local friends, not to mention returning to visit. Fun and friendships are where it’s at in the DR, and you’ll spend time in classic Caribbean style—socializing, laughing, playing games with neighbor kids, practicing Spanish and choosing from an array of activities.

In addition to friendships with local people, you’ll be part of a group of teens with shared goals, a commitment to community building, and a mindset of inclusivity.



“I was able to get outside my comfort zone and overcame fears about traveling independently. I am so glad I picked this trip and that I got to experience all those amazing new things.”

—Charlotte Di Guglielmo

The Dominican Republic is arguably the most environmentally diverse, culturally vibrant and historically rich country in the Caribbean—and it beckons you to visit.


A country as varied as the DR delivers abundant adventures, one of the hallmarks of the VISIONS program. In addition to boating and swimming at the pristine Presa de Hatillo that is the largest freshwater lake in the Caribbean, we carve out time for beach visits, hikes, learning everything from chocolate-making to Dominican cooking, playing soccer and baseball with local kids, and more.

Your time will be authentic and truly different from what can be accessed as a tourist. This is the perfect program for any teen seeking a profound experience that feels like a daily adventure. Merengue music entices, laughter is shared, and you’ll return home wishing that all of life can be as fun as your time in the DR!


  • Swim In The Caribbean
  • Immerse In Local Culture During A Day Stay With A Family
  • Boat & Swim At The Largest Freshwater Lake In The Caribbean
  • Tour A Cacao Farm & Make Chocolate
  • Practice Spanish With Local Friends
  • Take Merengue & Salsa Dance Lessons
  • Visit Los Haitises National Park (long session only)
Teen girl and schoolboy, DR beach, DR worksite of teens and community members


“I had a blast in the DR! I believe the service built character for me and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I learned values that will stick with me for the rest of my life and I also learned not to take anything for granted.”

—Ryan Wilkins

Service Matters

During our 30+ years in the DR, VISIONS teens have made an impact beyond what we ever could have imagined. Participants have built homes, a medical clinic, community centers and schools. Each year more than 3500 Dominican children attend classes in schools built by VISIONS and our local partners. The gratitude from the community is demonstrated by welcoming us into their lives and working with us at project sites.

In addition to hands-on masonry work of building additions at schools, we run a fun educational day camp, design and paint murals, and complete other small projects as needed.


We live in the energized town of Cotui, a historic locale that dates to the early 1500s. Off the beaten path in a welcoming neighborhood, VISIONS participants find their vibrant home away from home.

Our homebase is in the quaint but lively neighborhood of Cotui known as Quitasueño (read more about our Dominican homebase). Days are characterized by the companionship of Dominican friends, project partners and children. Many afternoons end with a game of dominoes or vitilla, the precursor to baseball that kids play with a broomstick and plastic bottle cap.

We also experience the culture beyond our neighborhood by visiting marketplaces and working with Dominicans who do not speak English—the perfect conditions for sharpening your Spanish skills. And when words fail us, our strong basis of mutual respect and deep friendship provides a bridge across any language barrier.



Santos Ramos sitting in a tractor in Montana


(Santos Ramos pictured above from when he visited the VISIONS home office in Montana.)

In many ways, the Ramos family is like most Dominican families—warm and outgoing, loving, hard-working and humorous. In other ways, though, they stand alone. They are legendary for their selfless service in their community and as part of VISIONS. The Ramos family has been our family in the Dominican Republic since we began working there in 1991. They have embraced, guided and advised us, providing loving wisdom and active support.

Read More

Santos and Lidia Ramos are longstanding members and past presidents of Club de Leones (Lions Club), our original nonprofit partner in the DR. Every summer, Santos puts the rest of his life on hold and joins VISIONS to oversee the community service projects, and to create and nurture ever-stronger ties between our host community and us. Santos is a wise, discerning and eminently respected elder.

Lidia served as the principal at Escuela Melvin Jones, a school built by VISIONS and the Lions Club in the ’90s, which serves more than 800 school children every year. She, too, is an active community volunteer and coordinator for philanthropic and service projects in bateys (the barrios that originally served Haitian people who worked the sugar cane fields).

Their son, Alberto, has also been a part of VISIONS beginning as a teen when he volunteered with us at worksites. He then served as a leader and eventually the Program Director of the program for more than 15 years and was beloved by participants. Like his parents, Alberto holds a profound belief in the power of VISIONS to positively affect the communities and our participants.

To this day—for more than three decades—there isn’t a VISIONS participant or leader who hasn’t worked with at least one member of the Ramos family. Read more: “The Dominican Republic: A Love Story.”

Dominican Republic Blog Posts

Your Impact Lives On

Your Impact Lives On

Since our inception in 1988, VISIONS continues to offer some of the best volunteer opportunities for high school students there are. Projects are ambitions and real, and have an impact that lasts on the community. And you—our alum—are part of that legacy.

VISIONS in The New York Times