Dominican Republic

Music, Ritual and the Struggle for Haitian and Afro-Dominican Rights in Dominican Republic

Dominican RepublicTrip Details

Registration Deadline

October 25, 2019


Dominican Republic

Dates of Travel

March 7–March 14, 2020

Cost of trip


In 2010, Gettysburg College initiated a new Immersion Project in the Dominican Republic, based on interest students had in the issues surrounding Haitians living in the DR. Part of this interest was sparked by the viewing of the film The Price of Sugar which documents the Haitian immigrant involvement in the production of sugar in the DR, and the poor working and living conditions in the bateys (sugar cane villages) which are systematically enforced because of antihaitianismo, the racialized discrimination against Haitians that persists despite the fact that most Dominicans themselves are of African descent. Tensions have intensified since 2010, with laws stripping Dominican-Haitians of their citizenship as well as deportations.

This trip will visit the San Cristobal region of the Dominican Republic. Participants will stay at Rancho El Campeche, a beautiful ranch dedicated to cultural and ecological tourism, and operated by Xiomara Fortuna, an Afro-Dominican musical artist and social activist. The trip focuses on cultural traditions and social movements that help sustain the Haitian and Afro-Dominican fight for social justice. Participants will visit communities that maintain rich traditions of Haitian and Afro-Dominican music and ritual, and learn about efforts to addressantihatianismo by groups like MUDHA.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Travel to Santo Domingo Transport to Rancho el Campeche
Day 2: Communities of Duveaux and Franks Visit Shrine of Mana
Presentation about San Cristóbal
Day 3: Day trip to Santo Domingo Visit MUDHA
Visit Batey Matamamon
Meet with MOSCHTA
Day 4: Drum class Presentation on Dominican popular music
Meeting with member of US Embassy
Day 5: Visit school in Franks Tour religious sites in El Limon
Day 6: Visit bateys and Boca de Nigua Presentation by Xiomara Fortuna about sugarcane economy
Day 7: Sight seeing and museums in historic capitol city Visit university for conversation with college students
Evening concert
Day 8: Travel home -

About the Program

Immersion Projects are off-campus, educational opportunities at sites in the United States and abroad which take place over Winter Break, Spring Break, and in May. Students spend the weeks prior to travel learning about the community and its history. Students then travel to sites ranging from Nicaragua to Morocco and from Alabama to New York City, where they immerse themselves in a the community. Each project seeks to foster a dialogue between the students and the host community around issues of social justice. By working alongside community leaders and sharing their stories, students learn about themselves and the world. Students find Immersion Projects to be exciting and powerful educational experiences. Immersion Projects are open to all Gettysburg College students. Occasionally, persons from off-campus participate. Participants must be sixteen years of age or older. Students must be in good disciplinary standing (no more than 5 points and not on academic probation) in order to participate on an Immersion Project. Each participant must agree to full participation in their chosen project by attending all pre-trip meetings, completing required paperwork and preparatory assignments (such as readings, videos, other activities), behaving in an appropriate manner at all times, participating in group reflection, and contributing to the group follow-up project.

Application and Payment

Registration opens September 23, 2019 and closes October 25, 2019 at 4:00PM. A $100 non-refundable deposit is due at time of registration. First half of payment is due Friday, November 15, 2019 by 4:00PM. Final payment is due Friday, January 24, 2020 by 4:00PM.

Financial Aid

Scholarships are available to help offset the cost of an Immersion Project. Read carefully the criteria for financial awards and follow directions for completing the application. For consideration, complete the Financial Award Application and email it to See application for detailed information. Application Deadline: October 25, 2019 by 4:00PM.

Mandatory Orientation Session

All Winter project participants are required to attend a mandatory orientation session held on early November. Email reminders will be sent to participants. Participants will meet other project members, receive important paperwork, and discuss requirements and goals of Immersion Projects.

Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance

All Gettysburg College students traveling on an Immersion Project are covered under the College's medical evacuation and repatriation travel insurance. This insurance does not replace the student's primary insurance policy, but will cover certain emergency services when traveling, such as the need for evacuation. Students and parents are welcome to examine the details of the policy.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

The Center for Public Service will register each student traveling internationally on an Immersion Project in the STEP Program. This program is a free service provided by the U.S. government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP provides users with travel warnings and alerts, and allows users to receive routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Withdraw from Project

The $100 deposit required at the time of registration is non-refundable should the participant decide to withdraw from the project. In addition, the participant is responsible for paying for all expenses incurred on their behalf at the time of the withdrawal. For example, if airline tickets have been purchased by the time of withdrawal, participant will be responsible for the cost of the ticket, as well as any other pre-paid expenses.

The Center for Public Service reserves the right to remove a participant prior to departure for reasons of, but not limited to, failure to make project payments in a timely manner, financial debt to the College, a history of judicial violations, failure to complete required participant forms (such as release and health forms), failure to attend mandatory Orientation Session and/or group meetings. The Center for Public Service reserves the right to send a participant home during the project (at the participant's expense) for reasons of, but not limited to, violations of College policy, the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, disrespect toward site community or group members, or medical/psychological emergencies.

Contact Us

Email or call 717-337-6490.