Creighton's Premier Academic Service-Learning Program
Encuentro Dominicano embodies the Jesuit mission of promoting justice, striving for excellence, and dedication to the truth. Encuentro centers around service-learning, travel, and building community with fellow students and Dominicans – all while experiencing the rich and vibrant culture of the Dominican Republic.
Encuentro Dominicano students enhance their academic learning and civic education through exposure to realities of the Dominican Republic in academic courses, immersions, social activities, and service.
Encuentro Dominicano students are opened to transformation through experiences with local Dominicans at the ILAC Center, service sites, and immersions into rural campo communities throughout the academic semester.
Encuentro Dominicano students experience being in solidarity with people who are materially poor or marginalized and build community with their rural campo hosts, as well as with fellow Encuentro Dominicano students.
Encuentro Dominicano is open to students of all colleges and majors at Creighton University. Encuentro Dominicano is also open to students of partner AJCU schools and other partner colleges and universities. If you are a non-Creighton student interested in applying, please contact the study abroad office at your home institution and then contact Jill Muegge, Encuentro Campus Coordinator, with questions.
While we encourage students to have completed at least one semester of college-level Spanish, there is no language prerequisite to participate. All students ARE required to take a Spanish class at his/her level while in the program in the Dominican Republic.
What if I don't speak Spanish very well or at all?
No problem! Immersion is an amazing way to learn a language very quickly. If you are open and willing to try, language skills can vastly improve simply because you have to use them.
What if I already have an advanced level of Spanish? Will I be challenged?
Absolutely! Our students work with a Dominican professor from a local university who tailors his courses specifically to the level of the students. Students are divided into groups according to their Spanish level, and when necessary independent studies are arranged to ensure students are enabled to grow in their Spanish-speaking ability. Additionally, through service and immersions students are able to grow and adapt their Spanish as far as they choose to push themselves; whether through learning local slang, reading or creating documents in Spanish, or simply engaging in challenging conversations with the people they meet. Our on-site library also has many books in Spanish, both educational and recreational, to help expand vocabulary and fully immerse in the language.
The curriculum and program are specifically designed to make it easy for students of all majors and all colleges to participate in Encuentro. Students take classes that satisfy various components of the Creighton MAGIS Core and electives that vary by semester. Courses are taught by the Encuentro Dominicano Academic Director and other visiting Creighton faculty members.
Encuentro Dominicano coursework offers a multi-disciplinary study of the history, sociology, politics, economics and religion of the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. Classroom work is integrated with service-learning and cultural immersion in a context of ethical analyses and reflection.
Service in Santiago
Encuentro Dominicano students spend two mornings per week working alongside Dominican agencies at local service sites. Encuentro service site partners may vary each semester with the limits of availability, but partner sites have included organizations that work with children, teenagers and elder adults living in challenging circumstances. Examples of service site partners are on the program brochure page.
Twice a semester, students head outside of the city of Santiago to one of the nearly 200 rural communities in which ILAC works.
During their time in the campo, students live in solidarity with their new host families in order to learn first hand the realities of life in the Dominican countryside. They also work side by side with their community on a development project that helps accomplish ILAC's mission to promote education, agriculture, health, and spirituality for Dominican campesinos.
Through their time with family and the hard work of their project, students learn the lessons of simplicity, openness to new things, and most importantly, unconditional love. Encuentro Dominicano students experience being in solidarity with people who are materially poor or marginalized and build community with their rural campo hosts, as well as with fellow students.
Examples of past campo service projects are on the program brochure page.