Welcome to an incredible journey of adventure, service, growth, learning and discovery.
We believe that your experience on the Global Bridge Program will be a significant part of your college career – one that you will remember and draw on for a lifetime.
Because this is such an important and unique undertaking, we want to make ourselves available in any way to help you have the best experience possible. This handbook is provided to you to be both an introduction and reference book for your year in the Dominican Republic. Please read it over carefully now and refer to it in the future. You might also want to show it to your family to help them in their thinking about your time in the DR.
God be with you in your cross-cultural learning and living experience!
The Global Bridge team at Students International
The Global Bridge offers high school graduates a unique opportunity to do three things that they have always wanted to do – minister to others, go to college, and travel abroad – all at the same time. While not a true “Gap Year”, the Global Bridge offers many of the benefits of taking a year to explore the wider world. Students learn adaptability, flexibility, an outward focus, leadership, and the benefits of unplugging, slowing down, observing, and listening.
The Global Bridge program is a cross-disciplinary program designed to help students:
We use “bridge” in our name because our program “bridges” the interests and passions of students with study and service. The Global Bridge is distinguished from other programs because of our focus on ministry and spiritual formation along with academics and culture.
Through a combination of courses as a Crown College online student and at a well-respected Language School, participants gain academic insights into culture, language, and a variety of additional subjects. Experienced academics oversee all coursework and are available for one-on-one interaction. Formal learning takes on a new dimension in conjunction with service and hands-on cultural exploration.
The Christian staff of Students International - comprised of seasoned missionaries, pastors, and teachers from both the United States and the DR - guides students in service and ministry. Students are placed at ministry sites and mentored through their interactions with SI leaders in a variety of practical settings - from appropriate technology to preschool, special education to microfinance.
Lifetime spiritual formation, leadership, spiritual gifts discernment, and compassion for others are among the countless intangible benefits of this adventure. You will continually draw upon experiences from this program well after returning home. This experience will shape the course of your college years, career, ministry and beyond.
Students take classes through Crown each semester while on the Global Bridge program, a minimum of three and a maximum of four per semester.
ICS 3622: Cross-cultural Practicum (3 cr, fall) - part of SI’s mentoring program
ICS 3619: World Cultures (Dominican Republic) (3 cr, spring)
In addition to the required classes students choose 2-3 other Crown online classes each semester. Darin Mather, the Academic Programs Director, will work individually with each student to determine how many classes to take to meet their personal goals and their financial aid needs.
(The following are example courses. Each of these should easily transfer to another institution.)
SOC 1510: Strategies for College Success
ENG 1510: College Writing and Research
COM 1515: Introduction to Public Communication
PED 1515: Health and Wellness for Life
FAR 1560: Art Appreciation
PSY 130: General Psychology
SCI 205: Ecology
SOC 230: Sociology
HIS 2510: American Government
ENG 2512: World Literature
SOC 2535: Anthropology of Global Cultures
ENG 3537: Intercultural Communication
ICS 3620: World Religions
ICS 3610: Concepts of Global and Ethical Leadership
Students may also select from a wide array of Bible, theology and ministry courses.
In addition to their courses at Crown, students take two three-week sessions of Spanish in the fall and two three-week Spanish sessions in the spring. These courses are taught in one-on-one classes with Spanish tutors. At the end of the program, students are given the option of taking a CLEP test. Depending on their CLEP exam scores, students can earn up to 9 credits of Spanish.
The Global Bridge offers the students the opportunity to participate in the program for two years, making it possible for them to obtain an Associate of Arts Degree through Crown. If you would like to learn more about this option to earn an affordable AA Degree, contact Darin Mather at email@example.com.
The Global Bridge is a program that combines ministry and academics. All students must take a minimum of 9 college credits per semester in addition to their language schooling. Students must remain in good academic standing throughout the program (including maintaining a GPA above 2.0). An academic advisor from Crown is available to work with students on any difficulties they encounter with their studies. In addition, the Global Bridge Directors will be holding students accountable through regular academic progress updates provided by the students.
Those who do not successfully complete their coursework may be dismissed from the program.
Laptop: You will need a laptop (not a tablet) with Microsoft Office installed for online courses.
Books: Crown will provide information about ordering your books before the program starts. You will purchase your books before you travel to the DR. We try to keep book costs as low as possible.
During your time on the Global Bridge, you will receive mentoring from SI staff members. In the fall, mentors guide you through a 3-credit ministry practicum class which includes establishing spiritual, academic, ministry, cultural and personal goals. You will submit regular journal entries to help you process your experiences. Mentors will review your written work and meet monthly with you to hold you accountable to your goals, process your experience and give you feedback on your progress in the program. Ministry site leaders will also give feedback and evaluations.
In the spring, mentors will guide you through workbooks designed to help you grow in your faith and in your personal and ministry skills. There is no academic credit given for the spring mentoring program.
In October, each student participates in a mid-semester assessment with Global Bridge program directors. This is a chance for both you and the staff to evaluate whether the program is a good fit. Factors discussed include attitude, community engagement, academics, finances, emotional & physical health.
Although the vast majority of students participate in the Global Bridge program for a full eight months (two semesters from August - May), staff and students complete an assessment in October before returning for second semester.
Students who will to continue on the Global Bridge for a second year will also participate in a March mid-semester assessment, which will allow both students and staff to determine if they should continue for a second year in the program.
Darin Mather, Ph.D.
SI Academic Programs Director &
Crown Assistant Professor of Global Studies
Darin oversees SI’s academic programs. He serves as a liaison between Students International and Crown College. Darin helps students choose courses and provides academic support throughout the Global Bridge experience. Darin is based in St. Paul, MN.
SI Academic Programs Coordinator
Rebecca is the main U.S. contact person for students. She guides potential students through the application process, and post-acceptance, gives detailed assistance in preparing students for departure. Rebecca is based in Milwaukee, WI.
Ed & Mable Mendoza
Global Bridge Program Directors
The Mendozas help form the overall Global Bridge experience. They work closely with students on a daily basis through community life activities, spiritual formation teaching, life skill and leadership training, and guidance for students as they navigate the highs and lows of their time in the DR. Indiana is home base for Ed & Mable, where Ed was an educator for 35 years.
Apenisa & Sinate Batibasaga
Field Directors, Santiago
Apenisa has been serving with Students International since March 2014, when he began as an Education site leader at SI-Fiji. He later moved to the Dominican Republic to work with SI in Jarabacoa. In April of 2017, Apenisa and his family transitioned to Santiago in the new role of field director. Apenisa is married to Sinate Tagi and they have three young children.
Dustin & Courtney Williams
Courtney - Teams Director, Santiago
Dustin - Agriculture Site Leader, Santiago
Dustin and Courtney, along with their two boys, serve with Students International in Santiago. Originally from Texas, they transitioned to life in the Dominican Republic in 2017. Courtney hosts all short-term teams and also facilitates the intern and semester programs in Santiago.
Brian & Sissy Entrekin
Program Directors, Jarabacoa
Brian, a native of Alabama, serves as the country director in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. Brian, Sissy, and their teenage daughters, Mary Emily and Isabelle, have served with Students International since 2005.
Eric & Chelsie Miller
Eric - Assistant Director, Jarabacoa
Chelsie - Teams Director, Jarabacoa
Originally from Indiana, Eric experienced firsthand SI's ministry to students through a semester abroad program in 2009. Eric oversees a majority of the accounting and human resources responsibilities in the DR and supervises several of the ministry sites.
With SI since 2012, Tennessee native Chelsie co-hosts all short-term teams co-facilitates the Intern and semester programs and is actively involved with the women's sports site where she previously worked full time.
Alberto De Los Santos
Teams Director, Jarabacoa
Alberto, a native of Jarabacoa, began his time with SI in the community of Mata Gorda, teaching preschool in 2006. Alberto transitioned to his new position where he co-hosts all short-term teams in 2014. Alberto co-facilitates the intern and semester programs.
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 Crown College and Students International recognize adult participants’ rights to privacy and confidentiality. Thus, if participants are 18 or older, we will not share private information with parents or others. However, we also recognize that in emergency situations, many participants may wish to waive these rights. Students will be asked to sign separate waivers for Students International and for Crown detailing their privacy permissions. The Students International waiver asks if the student grants permission for SI staff to discuss issues pertaining to pre-departure, emergency, medical and disciplinary situations with parents, guardians or others. The Crown waiver relates to all academic information including, but not limited to grades and billing information.
Students International will send a FERPA Permissions Form with its waiver.
Crown FERPA permissions can be changed at any time. They can be accessed by logging into our.crown.edu. Then click on “Students”, then “Online Forms” and then “FERPA Privacy Permissions” For more information on Crown’s FERPA policy, click here.
The Global Bridge program provides you with an opportunity to obtain college credit from Crown College while you minister with Students International (SI).
Note: The academic elements of the program are separate: Tuition costs are paid directly to Crown and in-country expenses are paid to SI.
Tuition (through Crown College): $337.50 per credit. Students take a minimum of 6 credits per semester.
In-country expenses (through Students International): $7,000 per semester ($14,000/year). This includes room, partial board, language school, excursions, in-country transportation, and travel insurance. (Students are able to fundraise toward this amount.)
Airfare: Typically $700-$900 per flight. Students will pay for two round-trip flights – one in the fall, and one in the spring (students spend Christmas break at home). (Students are able to fundraise toward this amount.)
Meal Stipend: Typically $150 per semester. Students will use this money to cover food expenses for breakfasts and lunches (during ministry site weeks) and weekend expenses (during language school weeks). This should be considered separate from money for discretionary spending (see below).
Books: Textbook prices vary, but they typically cost students about $100 per course (many are available electronically).
Discretionary spending: Most living expenses are covered in the costs outlined above. However, items such as entertainment, extra travel, eating out, etc. fall into this category and will vary widely per student. SI recommends about $500 per semester ($1,000/year) for spending money.
College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test fees: $80 per test for language credit (optional).
Laptop: A laptop with Microsoft Office is strongly encouraged for online coursework.
Tuition & In-Country Expenses
Tuition: $6,075-$8,100 (18-24 credits)
In-country Expenses: $14,000
Airfare: $1,400-$1,800 (two round-trip flights)
Meal stipend: $300 (accessible cash)
Personal Spending: $1,000 (varies)
CLEP test: $80 (optional)
Costs are subject to change.
Costs are comparable to four-year public in-state universities and significantly less than most private Christian universities.
While this is a significant amount of money, it is quite inexpensive for a private Christian college experience and is a terrific investment for your future. The cross-cultural elements, built-in discipleship, language acquisition, leadership development and other unique features of the Global Bridge program will add depth to your life experience and resumé.
Costs are subject to change.
Payment is separate to Crown College and Students International:
Tuition costs are paid directly to Crown. | All other expenses are paid to SI.
1) Payment to Crown College. Tuition is due prior to the start of each semester (mid-August and mid-January). Crown College will work directly with students on payment and financial aid details. The Crown Billing Office will communicate directly with you through your Crown email address. Crown will not communicate with parents. Please forward all emails to your parents if they are working with you on payments.
2) Payment to Students International is $7,000 + airfare per semester. Money that you fundraise goes directly toward this amount. You can check on how much money is coming in to your SI account by logging in from the SI website. If additional donations come in after the Fall semester payment, the money will be applied to Spring semester.
SI payment schedule:
After you are accepted into the program, a $250 deposit is required to reserve your placement.
$750 due (total due by June 1 is $1,000)
Fall semester SI
$5,000 (total - includes deposits paid) + airfare is due by August 1, then $1,000 is due monthly until your balance is paid. (Total of $7,000 + airfare)
Fall semester Crown
Crown fall tuition is due by August 21 (payments to Crown are separate)
$5,000 + airfare is due by January 10, then $1,000 is due monthly until your balance is paid. (Total of $7,000 + airfare)
Fall semester Crown
Crown spring tuition is due by January 26 (payments to Crown are separate)
Payments may be paid via check, eCheck or credit card. (There is no processing fee for e-checks; credit and debit card payments incur a 4% processing fee.) Payments are considered a donation to Students International and are therefore non-refundable. All donations are tax-deductible and a receipt will be issued. Mail checks to:
PO Box 990
Visalia, CA 93279
(Attn: Pam Christy)
Checks should be payable to "Students International".
As ministry plays a significant part of the Global Bridge program, you will be able to fundraise to defray costs of the in-country expenses and airfare. SI will provide a detailed Fundraising packet as part of the pre-departure process. In the past, students have raised an average of $3,000-$9,000. Because it is not guaranteed, you should view fundraising as supplemental rather than a main source of funding. SI will issue a tax-deductible receipt for money fundraised and donated to SI. Fundraised money is not refundable because it is a donation and not a payment.
Most students who attend Crown are eligible for some form of financial aid to cover their college tuition costs. Details are available through Crown College. An Admissions Counselor will walk you through this process.
Once you pay your initial deposit, SI will begin working with you on airfare and other pre-departure items. If you withdraw from the program after your airfare is purchased, you will be responsible for any irrecoverable costs. After July 15, SI will be making housing and other arrangements for you. If you withdraw after this date, you may be responsible for additional expenses that SI cannot recover. Your initial program deposit can be applied to irrecoverable costs.
If you withdraw from the program before a term is completed, SI cannot refund any monies that have been given as a charitable donation. (This includes donations given by your parents.)
You will be abroad on April 15 when income taxes are due. You are home for most of January and may be able to complete your taxes then. Plan ahead in case W-2 forms do not arrive until after your return to the DR. Check with your state for details.
Students might want to consider assigning power of attorney (POA) to someone who will take care of your financial or legal affairs while you are out of the country. We recommend that any student receiving financial aid designate POA. Tax forms can be signed by the POA if the POA form is attached.
The general pre-departure calendar is as follows:
Beginning in Oct
Rolling Admissions (Deposit due upon acceptance)
Apply to Crown College School of Online Studies,
Pre-departure tasks (fundraising, forms)
Apply to Crown College School of Online Studies
Pre-departure tasks (fundraising, forms)
Full deposit due
Flight booked & pre-departure documents due
Payment due (see payment details)
Pre-departure tasks & packing
Arrive in Santiago
The basic program schedule is as follows, with various excursions interspersed throughout both the fall and spring. A more detailed schedule will be distributed prior to departure. The schedule is subject to change.
Aug 21 - 25
Aug 27 - Dec 5
Aug 27 - Dec 2
Dec 6 - 7
Dec 8 - Jan 16
Jan 19 - 19
Jan 21 - May 10
Jan 28 - May 12
May 13 - 14
Arrive in Santiago
Orientation and Team building.
Ongoing: 3 wks language school, 3 wks ministry sites
Crown College online courses
Return to Santiago
Ongoing: 3 wks language school, 3 wks ministry sites
Crown College online courses
Depart for home
The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, while Haiti occupies the western side. Students International has two bases in the DR. One is in the northwest province of Santiago, near a large city (750,000) called Santiago de los Caballeros (typically shortened to “Santiago”).
Near Santiago is the community of Cien Fuegos, where SI focuses its ministry. Cien Fuegos is a recently settled area, and faces issues that many developing areas have such as no running water, unreliable electricity, and poor roads. SI partners with the local churches as well as farms, sports sites, and clinics to develop relationships, provide medical care, and teach about clean water, among other things. Most ministry sites are about a 15 minute drive from where students stay. Global Bridge students will primarily live and minister from the Santiago base.
Students International also has a base in the town of Jarabacoa, located in the more mountainous central province of La Vega about 1 hour south of Santiago. Global Bridge students will live with host families in Jarabacoa during language school weeks.
The climate of Santiago is usually hot days and warm mornings/evenings from March to November and warm days and cooler mornings/evenings from December to February. July to September are the hottest months, with temperatures in the mid to upper 90s. Jarabacoa is in the mountains and tends to have cooler weather than Santiago.
While in Santiago, you will live with the other Global Bridge students in a large residence on the SI Santiago campus. On Monday - Thursday, you will be driven to your ministry site and typically be there from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Fridays again are days off, reserved for studying, Bible study, meeting with your mentor, rest, and other activities. Students who miss a day of ministry sites during the week for sickness or other reasons will make up their absence on Friday.
Accomodations at the base are large rooms for sleeping in bunk beds and bathrooms with hot showers.
A cook will prepare supper each evening except on weekends.
Most Saturdays, an SI staff will host Global Bridge students for family nights which include a meal. Sundays center around attending church, and there are a variety of options in Cien Fuegos or Santiago.
While in Jarabacoa, you will live with a host family and possibly another student. Your daily schedule for Monday - Thursday is typically school in the morning and home for lunch. You may use your afternoon for studying - both for language school assignments and for your Crown online coursework. Many students take advantage of the amenities in Jarabacoa, such as joining a gym, going to a coffee shop, or meeting up with friends. Fridays are generally off, reserved for studying, Bible study, meeting with your mentor, rest, etc. Students who miss a day of language school during the week for sickness or other reasons will make up their absence on Friday.
Host family accommodations may range from an American style home with hot water and electricity to very simple rural homes with outdoor latrines. You will encounter bugs and small lizards inside your home. Mosquitos are inevitable. Some homes will have inconsistent electricity, and most Dominicans do not have hot water showers. Rural homes, since water is at times unreliable, often have large barrels that hold water for bathing (i.e. bucket bath). Most of our homes will have indoor toilets.
During language school weeks, you will receive three meals per day from your host family except for Sundays. You will use your meal stipend (see below) money for Sunday meals at local restaurants.
Weekends in Jarabacoa will include spending time with your host family, exploring the Jarabacoa area, and attending church with your host family.
Occasionally, parents ask to book flights for their students. We would ask that families let SI take care of the flight arrangements. We have students arriving from all over and in order to make the least amount of airport runs as possible (given the time, distance, expense, staff required to drive, etc) our travel specialist can work to group flight arrivals efficiently. Other advantages include SI’s high volume of business which can have an advantage on per-ticket price and coordinating flights so students can travel together when possible.
Students are required to have a cell phone to stay in contact via talk and text with each other and SI staff. Because phones from the US usually don’t work in the DR and because purchasing an international plan through your US provider can be cost-prohibitive, we recommend the following:
For calls to the US (regardless of which option you choose), we recommend online communication tools such as FaceTime, Skype or Facebook Messenger. Within the DR, WhatsApp is a popular tool which also works for calls/texts/video to the US; we recommend downloading it before you arrive.
To broaden your experience of the DR as a country full of diverse people groups, majestic natural beauty and fascinating historical and cultural landmarks, a number of excursions are built into the Global Bridge program. Students are required to participate in group excursions. Our travel schedule is subject to change, but trips generally occur about once a month and frequent destinations include:
With all the excitement of planning where to travel, what to pack, and what to see, many participants overlook important health concerns. It is imperative to give your health the attention it needs. With just a little preparation, you will be better able to avoid problems which could prevent your enjoyment of the experience.
Travel clinics offer excellent advice about health issues for people traveling throughout the world. Check with your healthcare provider or insurance company to find one for your health plan. You can also consult a Public Health Center in your community.
Talk to your personal doctor about immunizations a minimum of 12 weeks before your scheduled date of arrival. It is best to begin the immunization process in plenty of time to avoid taking them all at once and to give time to recover before travel. The Typhoid vaccine is not available everywhere. Check with your health care provider when making the appointment. The cost of immunizations can vary. The local health department may be less expensive than a doctors office. Special travel clinics may be the most expensive.
The US Center for Disease Control gives specific health information to travelers to the DR at the link below. Learn more about the following recommendations:
Insect-Borne Illnesses: In the DR, malaria is not a threat. You can take measures to protect yourself against the mosquito that carries the disease. Wearing insect repellent containing DEET and clothing that covers adequately reduces the chance of being bitten by a mosquito.
Respiratory Illnesses: The DR is not considered a high-burden country for Tuberculosis (TB), so TB is not on the CDC list of recommended vaccinations for travelers.
Intestinal Health: Before you leave for the DR and while you are there, you may consider taking a probiotic. This promotes good intestinal health. Find it in pharmacies and natural foods stores.
Existing health conditions: If you have a specific health condition, learn how to explain your condition (including your history with it) and how you are being treated for it. This will be important if you experience problems while traveling. Ask your physician about any possible infections and limitations that any existing health conditions may cause. Take a card, tag, or bracelet identifying any condition or allergy that may require emergency care. Please communicate with SI regarding any health conditions through the Global Bridge Health Profile and by speaking with one of the staff if necessary prior to departure.
MedicAlert ® bracelet: Students with a particular illness or life-threatening allergies are strongly encouraged to have a MedicAlert ® bracelet. Membership in MedicAlert ® is lifelong and costs $35. Among other things, members receive an identification bracelet or medallion describing the medical problem(s) and a 24-hour number can be called from anywhere in the world to obtain up-to-date information about their medical history. For further information, consult www.medicalert.org.
Allergies: Discuss any potential problems with your physician, such as traveling to areas where growing seasons may be different from those in this U.S., local vegetation and diet that could cause problems, etc. You will be visiting during allergy season so plan to bring allergy medication if you have allergies or hay fever.
Regular Medication: It is very important if you take regular medication that you have enough with you, and that you take your medication regularly as prescribed. Ask your doctor about any adjustments in dosage or schedule that may be appropriate at higher altitudes, on long flights, or in different climates. Be sure to contact your physician well in advance of your departure to receive additional supplies and a signed and dated statement from your physician explaining why you take the medicines and the proper dosage. Take a sufficient supply of your prescription and other medical supplies with you for your entire trip as it is usually not possible to send medication through the mail. If you have a prescription for a medical condition that you have not used recently (i.e. an inhaler for asthma), be sure to bring that with you as well. It is hard to predict how your body will react in a new environment and to the stresses of international travel.
Mental/emotional health: If you have a history of or are currently being treated for anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, etc., please inform SI staff. Use the Global Bridge Health Profile and speak with one of the staff if necessary prior to departure.
Dental concerns: A dental check-up prior to travel is recommended. Not all problems are preventable, but the loss of a filling is just one example of a preventable problem that could greatly disrupt travel.
Eyewear: If you wear glasses or contacts, take along your prescription, extra contacts, and an extra pair of glasses. Bring saling/cleaning solutions for contacts in your checked bags (it is very expensive in the Dominican Republic).
Dehydration: Dehydration due to increased physical activity and the high temperatures is common. Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, low grade fever, and even in some cases diarrhea. Make every effort to stay hydrated.
Miscellaneous: If you are prone to motion sickness or think that there may be potential for you to experience this while flying or traveling on winding local roads in often crowded buses, consult your physician or simply buy over the counter motion sickness treatment medication.
Shoes: Never go barefoot. Only bring shoes/sandals that are practical, comfortable, and durable. Carefully select shoes according to the activities planned. Plan ahead to avoid blisters and sore feet.
Clothes: Clothing should be comfortable and appropriate for the expected weather conditions. The city of Santiago is usually quite warm and has high humidity. You will want to pack light-weight clothing. However, you will also be spending time in Jarabacoa for language school, where it cools off in the evenings. You should pack some light layers for that time (see Packing).
Sunscreen: Use sunscreen—SPF 30 or higher—even on short outings. You will be living closer to the equator and you will burn much more easily and quickly than usual. Be especially careful to protect your nose and ears.
Swimming: There will be many opportunities to swim in the base pool and at the beach. Fresh water pools, lakes and rivers could be seriously contaminated. Use them with caution, if at all. Ask SI staff for advice.
Sleep: Get adequate amounts of sleep. Adjust your body to the new time schedule as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that as you adjust to the mental and physical pressures of a new culture, you will be more tired than usual (see Cultural Adjustment).
The food provided in the Global Bridge house and homestays will be safe to eat. When you are eating on the street, watching what you eat and drink can help you stay healthy while you are abroad. It is possible that you may experience some form of gastrointestinal upset during your time in the DR. By following the important guidelines below you can limit the frequency and severity of these occurrences.
While water may be safe in large cities and hotels, it is the most frequent cause of illness to North American travelers in the DR.
Do not eat unwashed vegetables and fruits (particularly lettuce and strawberries—this includes vegetables and fruits from restaurants).
Food allergies: We recognize that participants may come to us with a variety of food allergies and some with food preferences. In most cases it is possible to avoid those foods that cause discomfort or reaction. However, due to time and budget constraints and limited availability of certain types of foods (for example, gluten free products) we are not able to fully accommodate many specific dietary needs and most food preferences.
Although some grocery stores on the field will occasionally carry specialty items meant to accommodate special diets, they are very expensive, not always available, and not within the food budget allocated for participants. While we will do what we can to help participants avoid eating foods that would make them ill or cause them to have an allergic reaction, we suggest that such participants bring snack food that does not require refrigeration or extra work for our cooks/host families.
Additionally, we strongly encourage participants to take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for the possibility of exposure.
Nut (Peanut) allergies: While we do not use nuts in our meals, we do serve peanut butter for lunch and in some instances, with breakfast. Additionally, because not all countries have the stringent guidelines that the US has in labeling food products, it is possible that some of our ingredients and snacks may contain trace elements of peanut ingredients. We are unable to make provisions to be peanut-free and cannot guarantee there will be no exposure to peanuts during the Global Bridge experience.
Wheat allergies: Gluten free meals prove to be the most challenging for us. Many of our breakfasts and most of our lunches contain gluten. Participants with a gluten allergy are encouraged to bring gluten free cereal and gluten free bread and prepared snacks (enough to last the length of the program). Other ideas for those with a gluten allergy would be instant meals that can be prepared with boiling water such as noodle bowls, instant oatmeal, etc.
Other allergies: As with the allergies listed above, if you are allergic to other food substances, please come prepared to alter your regular diet while you are here. You may want to bring snack and supplemental foods. Please contact us prior to your program to discuss your particular allergy.
Vegetarians and other types of food preferences: Vegetarians will find that in most cases they can eat around meals that contain meat. Those with other food preferences will also find that there is a good selection of food. As with those with allergies, we suggest that such participants bring snack foods. We are not able to fix a variety of meals for the various food preferences. While we recognize that those who choose not to eat meat or have other food preferences do so with strong convictions, we would ask that such individuals come prepared with items to supplement their needs, and a willingness to be flexible.
Contact SI! It is very important that participants with life threatening allergies, such as peanut allergies, contact SI before their program.
Crown College will enroll participants in international travel insurance coverage (included in the program fee). This insurance will provide coverage for hospital stays, accidents, emergency evacuation and repatriation. Like most short-term international insurance policies, claims are reimbursed. This means that you need to be prepared to pay for any medical expenses incurred in cash or via credit card at the time of service. SI recommends that students have a credit card, have access to a credit card number (through parents), or have access to a bank account (via debit card) in order to be able to pay up-front for services rendered. Save your receipts and other records. Claims are submitted to the insurance company by the participant receiving treatment. SI staff will assist students in submitting claims for medical expenses. For more information on this coverage, request a program summary from SI staff.
Though you will have this coverage, it is also important to retain any primary health insurance coverage you currently have here in the U.S. in case of any pre-existing conditions or any complications that may occur after the program. Students International required students to submit health insurance policy details prior to departure.
Although SI has taken extra measures to guard your safety while in the DR, we cannot guarantee your security. Please act responsibly. We want you to have a fulfilling, enjoyable, and safe experience. At times, the excitement of travel and the newness of the environment can make it easy for you to become careless or distracted. Remember that you are responsible for your own safety, so be aware of where you are and what is going on around you at all times. The following suggestions offer no guarantee of safety, but they will help you take the appropriate steps to be as safe as possible.
SI staff will guide you through an extensive safety orientation upon your arrival.
Although there is no perfect way to protect yourself, you can minimize your risk by adopting an assertive attitude. The ideas listed below will provide a solid basis from which you can take charge of your own personal safety.
In the DR, American women are often thought to be promiscuous. They may be sought after for the opportunities they can afford Dominican men such as wealth or a connection with the USA. Men may look for anything they can interpret as a sexual invitation – a warm smile, eye contact, etc. To avoid harassment, you usually have to act colder than you really are.
We hope you never have to use this information, but it is important to be prepared for emergencies abroad.
An emergency may occur at home when you are away. We recommend that you talk about this possibility before you leave for the DR. For instance, if a grandparent dies, would you fly home? These conversations do not need to be detailed (unless someone in your family is currently ill), but it may be helpful to at least address the topic ahead of time.
If an emergency occurs at home while you are away, your parents may choose to contact you directly or contact one of the SI staff members listed below. If they contact you directly, please also be sure that SI staff members are notified so we can provide assistance and support during the situation.
Students International staff based in the DR
Ed & Mable Mendoza, Program Directors
Ed cell (+502) 3026-9016
Mable cell (+502) 3027-0650
Apenisa Batibasaga, Field Director - Santiago
Courtney Williams, Student Life Coordinator - Santiago
Chelsie Miller, Student Life Coordinator - Jarabacoa
U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo
U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo
AV. Republica de Colombia 57
Students International staff based in the U.S.
Rebecca Keiser, Academic Programs Coordinator
Darin Mather, Academic Programs Director
Students International Main Office
(If unable to contact other representatives)
Emergency after-hours phone:
Pam Christy (559) 303-1481
Warm nights (70-80° F) & hot days (80-90° F)
Cooler in January & February (days in the 80s° & nights in the 60s°)
Rainy in October, February, & April
Keep in mind:
(Be modest in your attire, jewelry, and make-up)
*Issues of modesty will be at the discretion of the Global Bridge leadership.
Laundry is not the responsibility of your host family. You will have access to washing your own clothes at the house at least once a week. Methods of washing clothes will vary from house to house; you will be given more information at the home-stay orientation. Your clothes will most likely be line-dried (rather than dried in a dryer).
To leave and enter the U.S. and the DR, you need a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months after the conclusion of the program.
You do not need to apply for a visa for the Global Bridge Program. You will enter the DR on a 30-day tourist visa, which you will pay for when you enter the country. You will need to come into the country with a clean $10 bill each time you fly in. When you leave the country, you pay a fine for overstaying your visa. This fine has been figured into your budget for the Global Bridge Program.
Make a copy of your credit/debit/ATM card (front and back of card). Keep it in a safe and separate place from your card. In case your card is stolen, you will have the information to give to your bank.
Take out all unnecessary items from your wallet (Social Security card, library card, gift cards, etc.). Bring your driver's license (for identification purposes) and credit/debit/ATM card.
On the plane, you will complete an immigration form. The basic questions include:
Q: traveler’s name
A: name as it appears on passport
Q: passport number
A: have passports easily accessible or the number written down
Q: name of airline, flight numbers, departure & arrival cities
A: check the itinerary and have this info ready
Q: the purpose of your trip or reason for travel
A: check the box ‘tourist’, ‘pleasure’ or ‘visitor”; avoid using words such as ‘missionary’ or ‘student’
Q: where you will be staying in-country
A: Estudiantes Internacionales, Calle Principle Quinigua, Hacienda Don Lilo, Santiago R.D.
Q: whether anything needs to be ‘declared’
Tourist Cards Each traveler will need to pay a tourist card fee of $10 USD . It is easiest to be ready with $10 in your pocket. After exiting the plane, you will come down the escalator and line up to the left to purchase the tourist cards.
It is a good idea to carry some cash with you to the DR (there is no set amount, but around USD $100-150 might be a good place to start). Bills need to be clean (no writing). The benefits to cash are that it is easy to exchange and there are no fees associated with it like there are with ATMs.
You can change money in the DR at most banks. SI staff will assist you. Anticipate how much local currency you will need for a certain amount of time because there may not be a chance to exchange money between staff-arranged trips. Exchange rates between the Dominican Peso (RD$) and the United States Dollar (USD) have been fairly stable, but you should occasionally check the current exchange rate. Typically, the exchange rate is approximately 1 USD = 48 RD$.
Several U.S. credit cards are accepted in the DR. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted, but note the DR has a 5% additional fees on all credit card uses in addition to any other fees your card may have for international use. Credit cards must be in your name and usually they check for identification. Even if you do not intend to use a credit card for daily purchases, it can be important in an emergency. Be advised, however, that most low budget establishments and many small, local businesses may not accept credit cards. Guard your credit card as you would your cash.
Notify your credit card company that you will be leaving the U.S. for the DR. (Sometimes a credit card company will block a credit card from working if charges start being made from an atypical location.)
You can get a cash advance at a bank and at some ATM machines using some credit cards, but you may be charged interest continually until you pay back the advance (an expensive option.) To use a credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM machine, you will need a PIN number assigned to your account. This PIN number must only be 4 digits long or it may not work.
Make a copy of your card (front and back of card). Keep it in a safe and separate place from your card. In case your card is stolen, you will have the information to give to your bank.
Know how to contact your bank in case your card is lost or stolen.
There are many benefits to carrying a debit card for purchases and to obtain cash from an ATM. You can generally get the best exchange rate, and many ATM cards double as credit cards. Your PIN needs to be 4-digits (some ATMs do not allow for a longer PIN). Try out your ATM card several weeks before you leave so that you can work with your bank to fix any problems prior to your departure. Contact your bank to discuss the following:
Even if you plan to rely exclusively on ATMs, bring some cash with you. ATMs are not always open or functioning 24 hours a day and bent or damaged cards are useless. Some people have had trouble getting their card to work. Also, keep your ATM receipts until you return home. Transactions that did not go through for you may show up on your bank statement as actual withdrawals. Check with your bank for details.
If money must be sent from home, there are several methods that you may use:
You have taken an exceptional step in your life by choosing to study, learn, live, and serve in the DR. We believe that your participation in this program can change you, your understanding of people from other cultures, and the way you view the world. We are excited that you are bold enough to be stretched by cross-cultural living and learning.
You will be living in a culture different from your own, and behaviors that may be part of your everyday life in the U.S. – a highly individualized society – can be a barrier to getting the most from your experience and contributing positively to others in the community. Because of its location and our relationship and affiliation with a variety of organizations, we have specific requirements and expectations for the Global Bridge Program. All of these guidelines and policies come from our desire to make your time abroad as safe as possible as well to help you act in a culturally appropriate way.
Your participation in the Global Bridge Program places you in numerous communities: the group of participating students, your ministry team, the communities where your ministry site is located, the towns of Santiago and Jarabacoa (local, national, global). We hope that you will be blessed by your involvement in these communities and that you will be a blessing to others as well.
You are encouraged to adopt an attitude of humility and respect for the unique character and quality of each community as well as for the individuals in the community. Activities and discussions will take place throughout your time in the DR to help you better understand the communities with which you are interacting.
You will be working very closely with the missionaries of Students International (SI). In partnering with them, it is important that we all understand why SI exists – its purpose:
To see students and the poor transformed into the likeness of Christ and discover their true calling.
Bringing students and the poor together cross-culturally to encounter God, share the good news, disciple and serve others in occupational ministries.
The SI staff will provide you with the leadership structure that will help keep you safe, and help you show respect for the culture and people of the DR. In order to do so, SI has set up some guidelines and policies that we would like you to know about as you begin your planning for your time abroad.
Below are guidelines and rules for your conduct during your time in the DR, designed to help you get the most out of your experience. Please keep in mind that your behavior while in the DR reflects not only on you, but also on Students International, and ultimately God.
“I have the right to do anything” — but not everything is beneficial.
“I have the right to do anything” — but not everything is constructive.
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. / 1 Corinthians 10:23 & 24
SI’s Code of Conduct has been developed after years of extensive experience with student groups. Though some may find elements of this code restrictive, SI has determined that they are essential to ensure the safety of student participants and to protect the reputation of our ministry. While on the Global Bridge Program, students are expected to abide by the following:
* One of the most difficult areas for many students is in the area of flirting. Often it is unintentional, but it is perceived within other cultures as a sexual advance. It destroys the effectiveness of your Christian witness and places you in an awkward position. If it is noticed by our staff that a student is purposely flirting and doesn’t stop when asked, that student may be sent home at their own expense.
Students can be sent home immediately, at their own expense, if they are involved in any sexual relationships, drinking of alcohol, use or possession of illegal drugs or excessive abuse of the other rules of conduct.
I have read the above guidelines and and commit myself to follow them during the duration of the Global Bridge Program.
Student Signature Date
All students must read and sign the SI Code of Conduct prior to departure in order to participate in the Global Bridge Program.
The Program Director, SI Vice President of Operations, and SI Academic Director will determine appropriate consequences for students who violate these rules and guidelines.
Violations may result in the following:
Students will have internet access at the Global Bridge house for school work, communicating back home, and for leisure activities.
At your in-country orientation, SI staff will review social media and internet time frame guidelines that Global Bridge students are expected to follow.
Disconnecting from social media (including chatting and messaging) is crucial to your successful engagement in the DR and the Global Bridge program. Avoid having your primary sources of support and “conversation” be friends back home. Limit the use of distracting technology. Immerse yourself in the experience of being in the DR. Don’t mentally or emotionally disconnect from the group, your SI family, etc., by staying overly connected with home.
Students are expected to follow the guidelines established by SI staff.
The curfew in Santiago and Jarabacoa is 9:00pm during the week.
Students on the Global Bridge Program are not allowed to go to nightclubs/discotecas. Christians in the DR consider such activity to be highly inappropriate. While this restriction may seem legalistic to some, it is a part of the Christian culture in the DR and much of Latin America. Since we want to be sure that students act in a culturally appropriate manner, dancing in discotecas is prohibited. Visiting these clubs can have a negative impact on SI’s ministry and can possibly endanger your safety. SI staff can provide information about dance lessons and locations where dancing is appropriate.
SI has a dress code due to reasons of cultural sensitivity. We don’t want anything to keep someone from respecting or hearing SI’s message. Appropriate dress based on the setting in which you will be working must be worn at ministry sites. Thank you for your consideration and flexibility in this area!
*Issues of modesty will be at the discretion of the Global Bridge leadership.
While most students do not have visitors during their Global Bridge experience, having a family member or friend visit can be a special experience.
Host families in the DR often behave differently from how a North American host family might behave. Many families host international students for financial reasons, though obviously they have an interest in people from other cultures or they would not be opening their home to you. It is somewhat rare for students to “become a member of their host family”, though you will be received warmly. Interaction with the various members of the host family will vary among families. They are intentional about engaging with students.
You will room with at least one other student from the program. We expect you to speak with your host family in Spanish. We also encourage you to speak Spanish with any fellow Global Bridge participants, though this is not always practical or feasible.
Your host family will welcome you into their home, but remember you are always a guest. Do not invite other people inside the home where you are staying unless your host family extends the invitation. (Rather than initiating this, wait for your host family to offer – they are unlikely to do so, but it does happen occasionally.) Please make arrangements to meet friends elsewhere.
You are asked to refrain from dating during the Global Bridge Program. Certain dating relationships are prohibited: 1) a family member from your homestays, 2) professors/language school teachers, and 3) SI staff. We also ask that you refrain from other types of dating, including (but not limited to) Dominicans and other Global Bridge participants, for a variety of reasons.
Dating behavior is different in other cultures. For example, in the Dominican Republic, young men go to the women’s parents’ house only when the parents are home. What seems like “normal” young adult behavior to most people for the U.S. may seem strange and inappropriate to Dominicans. Unfortunately, women from the U.S. often have a reputation of being sexually available. Dominican men may assume that you fit this stereotype and seek a relationship for you based on this assumption. In addition, leaving our comfort zone causes us to open up and increases vulnerability and potentially a false sense of intimacy with others, so what may feel like genuine attraction is really a reaction to being abroad. The meaning of physical touch varies among cultures. The hugs and kisses you exchange with Dominicans should not be interpreted as anything but a casual greeting.
Dating also affects the community with which you have chosen to live for the year (your fellow program participants) causing isolation of individuals or couples, decreased focus on ministry and academics, and safety problems. Dating may be a negative witness to Dominicans who see you as a representative of SI, Crown, and Christianity. If the On-Site Program Coordinator determines that a relationship is reflecting negatively on the program or our program partners or is putting you or others at risk, s/he will discuss this with you and determine appropriate action to be taken.
Flirting is a difficult area for many students. Often it is unintentional, but can be perceived in other cultures as a sexual advance. It can destroy your Christian witness and place you and others in an awkward position around you. Please take care to be aware of your actions and emotions. If SI staff perceives intentional flirting, staff will sit down with you to address what is being perceived.
SI has a variety of ministry sites in and around Santiago. Each ministry site group will be led by one of SI’s staff members. There will often be slight changes between the written description of the ministry sites and what you will actually do. These changes result from a variety of factors, such as the time of the year, national holidays, or unforeseen circumstances such as weather or cultural adjustments. Changes should not affect your opportunities for ministry. A primary quality for cross-cultural ministry is flexibility.
You will receive a site orientation from your site supervisor when you begin in your ministry site that will better define your role within your location. You are expected to be at your site each workday unless otherwise instructed by your site leader or if you are sick. You are expected to share your questions / frustrations / challenges within the best context (i.e. with your site leader at lunch or other free time or with the Global Bridge Program Director). It is not good to air frustrations in the community for many reasons:
For a detailed list of Ministry Sites, see SI’s website.
Travel for any significant length of time includes cultural adjustment. This takes a variety of forms and is different per person. However, common emotional, mental, and physical reactions have been studied and formalized into the following Cultural Adjustment Cycle. Be aware of the forms cultural adjustment can take and know that you are not alone in your reactions to life in a new place.
heightened sense of enthusiasm
anticipation of adventure
excitement at changes in routine
enthusiasm in discovering new rules and habits of a new place
some insomnia and stomach queasiness
anxiety in discovering new rules and habits of this new place
moments of sadness and disappointment
impatience or disenchantment with life in your host country
restlessness and irritability
reliance on familiar activities and foreign friends
questioning your own values and those of your host country
minor health problems: run-down, susceptible to illness, tired
feelings of disorientation
hostility towards local people and customs
colds and headaches are common, as are some stomach problems
reconciling who you are within the local culture
recognizing changes in yourself, including changes in your values
renewed interest in the host culture
a more constructive attitude
adaptation to the host culture and in equilibrium with the host country
Coming home after an extended stay abroad can be just as disorienting as your initial days in the DR. Do not expect to slide back into life with friends and family without minor or major hitches. Many returnees experience emotions similar to those detailed in the Cultural Adjustment Cycle: anticipation, enthusiasm, frustration, discouragement, assimilation and integration. As with all transitions re-entry should be approached with prayer, an open mind, a flexible attitude, and patience.
View our ministry sites here.
SI undertakes long-term, ongoing community development in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Guatemala through the full-time staff missionaries serving in those countries. In addition, outreach participants join our missionaries on short-term or semester programs throughout the year. Our staff missionaries and outreach participants come together cross-culturally to encounter God, share the Good News, disciple and serve the poor. This is all done while working in locations and conducting activity in specific areas of occupational ministry that correlates with a career, academic, or personal interest of the participants. We call these occupational outreach settings Ministry Sites.
Bringing students and the poor together cross-culturally to encounter God, share the Good News, disciple and serve others in occupational ministries.
Seeing students and the poor transformed into the likeness of Christ and discover their true calling.
We believe that there is one God, the almighty Creator of all things, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Deut. 6:4; Isa 45:18; Jer 10:10; Mt 28:19; Isa 40:28; Jn 10:30; 2 Cor 13:14
We believe the Bible to be the divinely inspired, entirely trustworthy, authoritative Word of God. Isa 40:8; 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:20-21; Heb 4:12
We believe in Jesus Christ, both fully human and fully divine, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, who lived a perfect life, and gave himself as the only ransom for sinners. He was bodily raised from the dead and ascended into heaven where he reigns as Savior and Lord. Jn 1:1, 14; Lk 1:35; 1 Pet 1:3-5, 2:22; 1 Jn 2:1-2, Heb 1:2-4
We believe that full justification is freely offered to all sinful men and women who repent, and put their faith in Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity. 1 Tim 2:5-6; Acts 4:12; Rom 3:24-26
We believe in the Holy Spirit, whose indwelling presence and transforming power gives new life to all believers, enables personal change, empowers Christian community, and inspires obedient service and sacrifice. Jn 14:26; Rom 8:14-16; 1 Cor 12:7-11; Tit 3:5; Acts 2:38-47
We believe in the spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ calls all believers, this holy church, to preach the Gospel, care for the needy and strive for social justice. Jn 1:12; Gal 3:27-28; Eph 4:25; Mt 28:18-20; 1 Pet 3:15; Isa 58:6-9; Mt 25:34-40
We believe in the future return of Jesus Christ, who will personally return to judge all people with justice and mercy. The redeemed will be saved unto eternal life and the unrepentant will be lost unto eternal damnation. 1 Thess 4:13-18; Acts 10:41-42; Jn 5:24-25; Jn 3:36; Rom 6:23
§ All people glorifying God, finding their identity and purpose in Jesus.
§ Living according to the Bible and teaching its ways to others.
§ Expressing ministry gifts, living in harmony and embracing diversity.
§ Global witness, in word and action, to those in need.
§ Prayer and a life yielded to God.
§ Becoming disciples through faith in Jesus.
Crown remains an exceptional private Christian college nearly 100 years after its opening. Crown is passionate about preparing Christians to serve Christ and influence the world. Located just west of Minneapolis, Crown is distinguished by a commitment to deliver a Christ-centered education that is academically excellent and globally connected. Ranked among the “Best Midwest Regional Colleges” by US News & World Report, Crown offers a variety of professional and graduate programs, available online or on campus. As one of the 10 most affordable Christian colleges in the Midwest, according to the Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities, you will find our commitment to providing an affordable private college education is unrivaled.
The mission of Crown College is to provide a biblically-based education for Christian leadership in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church-at-large and the world.
The Crown College experience is more than just a degree—it equips students to do what they do best, whether that’s as a nurse, a video technician, a teacher, a pastor or a business leader. It means taking the skills, talents and passions that God has given to our students and showing them how to impact the world.
Christians prepared to serve and influence the world.
Crown College receives outstanding support from the community and corporations in the area, and partnerships with the College are continually formulated in locations across the country and throughout the world.