Immersion Service Community

Tech-Free: Disconnect So You Can Really Connect




As our teen volunteers touch down at Santo Domingo airport, they are met with welcoming greetings from VISIONS leaders. After a quick call home, we set out on a delightful two-hour drive north through the picturesque Cordillera Central mountain range. Our lively homebase, nestled in the quaint neighborhood of Cotui, stands ready to welcome us.

The rest of the day is devoted to settling into our new environment and launching our orientation to the upcoming week. Our dinner cook, Marina, makes a delicious Dominican meal, and the inaugural Circle meeting starts to build our bonds as a group.

Let the adventure begin!


DAYS 2 & 3

We get to know the neighborhood through an exciting scavenger hunt, which marks the start of numerous chances to practice Spanish, connect with local children, and fully immerse ourselves in la vida Dominicana!

We then dive into projects and learning about the community’s needs. Maestros guide us through the skills necessary for masonry construction, as we dig into the work that will benefit local school children. We also launch the day camp campamento, engaging local kids in lessons that encompass environmental studies, animal welfare, English, and creative arts.

Homebase crew rotations begin, with participants taking turns to prepare meals, maintain our living spaces, and shop at local markets for our upcoming meals.

On our first evening, we join in a Cena de Bievenida, a warm welcome dinner shared with community friends who prepare a feast and introduce us to a long-standing tradition of collaboration in the DR, which we are now part of.



An eagerly awaited program highlight is our immersive dia con familias, day stays with host families. Paired with a fellow participant, you’ll immerse in the rhythm of Dominican life, experiencing the world through the perspective of your host family, who welcomes you into their lives for the day.

After breakfast, you’ll join your family and spend the day through dinner, sharing a full day of experiences. Language barriers won’t hinder you—while your Spanish skills might not be perfect, the shared eagerness to connect will drive meaningful interactions. Many host families continue to participate in various program activities, deepening the bond you’ll forge with our lively Cotui community.


DAYS 5 – 7

Our progress at the worksites is a reflection of our personal growth, and if you haven’t fully embraced the world of masonry and engaging with children, these days will bring it all into focus. You get to choose your worksite each day, allowing you to channel your energy into the project that resonates most with you.

Mid-afternoon, the transition from tools to leisure begins. Lose yourself in lively salsa and merengue lessons, compete in dominoes leagues, join impromptu baseball and soccer games, and make the most of Dia de Cotui by exploring the town and its offerings.

We also head out for a refreshing adventure, diving into the pristine waters of our beloved mountain lake, the expansive Presa de Hatillo. After a swim, we hop onto a ferry for a peaceful ride across this expansive body of water—the largest freshwater lake in the Caribbean, in fact. This tranquil setting serves as a reminder of the beauty both within and beyond our dedicated work.



Load your gear onto the legendary guagua (Dominican bus) that has become an integral part of our journey. Our next destination: Juan Dolio beach! With farewells exchanged with our Dominican friends and a final breakfast enjoyed, we hit the road for this coastal haven just outside of Santo Domingo.

Soak in the sun on the white sands and take dips in the crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Discover treasures at local souvenir shops, share laughter with your fellow participants and leaders, and seize this final day together.

As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, we settle into a quaint and charming hotel, savoring a fulfilling pizza dinner. Our evening concludes with a meaningful group gathering, providing a space to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve undertaken together and the profound connections we’ve forged.



It’s time to say goodbye to our newfound friends and VISIONS leaders, who will help see you through the check-in process for your flight.

As you embark on the next leg of your journey in life, our hope is that your short time in the Dominican Republic will serve as a spark that will continue to grow and remind you of the beauty of service and building community.

 Hasta la próxima! 

What kids and parents say about us is more telling than what we say about ourselves.

VISIONS in The New York Times