UTM290 - Dominican Republic Group

Dominican Republic

The Course

This 200-level utmONE Scholars seminar offers an engaging and interactive way to build upon the research skills developed in a first-year utmONE Scholars seminar. You will gain hands-on experience collecting and analyzing data, while also earning a 0.5 credit that counts towards your distribution requirements. There is also an opportunity to participate in an international field-study experience during the February reading week.  

Before 1492, no one in Europe ate tomatoes, no one in South America herded cattle, no one in Asia cooked with chilli peppers, and no one in North America fell sick with influenza. The exchange of plants, animals, and microbes between the Americas and Afro-Eurasia in the wake of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage across the Atlantic forever changed the world’s histories and ecologies. In this course we will examine these changes, which created global systems and ecological challenges that continue to shape our world today. 

Prerequisites: Preference will be given to students who have previously completed a utmONE Scholars seminar.  

​Please Note: In addition to your UTM Abroad application for the international component, students must submit an application to the Centre for Student Engagement in addition to the UTM Abroad application and payment. 

The Trip

Spend eight days with classmates, Professor Mairi Cowan of the history department, and Professor Christoph Richter of the biology department observing the impacts of early modern globalization on the island of Hispaniola. Explore the Columbian Exchange in the city of Santo Domingo through touring museums like the Museo Alcázar de Colón, the oldest viceregal residence in the Americas, and historic sites like the Catedral de Santa María la Menor, one of the oldest Christian churches in the Americas. Then, during your ecological exploration, get out of the city and explore marine areas and parks. Examine how native and invasive species interact in the present day ecosystems. Consider which species were brought intentionally and which were brought over by accident, and how both have come to shape the current system. Have the opportunity to reflect with your faculty members on the relationships between history, ecology and diasporic exchange, both in your observations from the Dominican Republic and as you relate it back to your learning within the course. ​ 

Sample Itinerary

Days: 1-4 

Location: Santo Domingo  

Accommodation: Hotel  

Transportation: Private Shuttles, Buses, and Taxis  

Meals: Local Restaurants  

General Summary: The trip will begin the city of Santo Domingo, capital of the Domini can Republic. Here, you will spend most of your time in the Zona Colonial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and will learn about the colonial history of Hispaniola. You will visit key historic sites and museums such as the Fortaleza Ozama, the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor, the Al cázar de Colón, the Museo de las Casas Reales, the Faro a Colón, and the Museo del Hombre Dominicano. You will also have the opportunity to visit UNAPEC, a local university, for a day of cultural immersion and connection with our international peers.  

Days: 5-9 


Accommodation: Hotel  

Transportation: Private shuttles, Buses and Taxis  

Meals: Local Restaurants  

General Summary: During the second half of the trip, you will learn about the ecology of the Domini can Republi c as you travel across the island to the Samaná Peninsula. You will hike to see the beautiful El Limón Waterfall, noting the flora and fauna along the way with local guides. You will take a boat tour of Los Haitises National Park to study a protected mangrove forest system, and go whale watching in Samaná Bay. At the end of the trip, you will enjoy a beach day to unwind and reflect on what you have learned about the history and ecology of this beautiful country. 

Why Participate

  • Observe and appreciate the multi-faceted and multi-directional links between historical and ecological impacts of the Columbian Exchange;
  • Foster a better sense of historical and environmental stewardship;
  • Connect with the history, culture, and ecology of the Dominican Republic;
  • Establish connections with fellow students and your professor;
  • Add international travel experience to your resume.


Estimated cost of International Component 2019-2020: CAD$2600-2900 

*The amount posted is currently under review by the University Business Board. Approved amounts will be confirmed in March 2019.  

What is Included: Flights, transportation, accommodation, meals and in-country activities associated with the course. Funding Available! 

What is NOT Included: Course fees, fees associated with travel insurance, trip cancellation insurance, additional optional tours/activities while abroad, visa applications, medical exams, vaccinations, and any other additional costs. 

Funding 2019-2020 

This experience is offered with the generous support of the Office of the Dean, which means; bursaries will be awarded based on demonstrated financial need (not linked to OSAP) as shown in your funding request in your UTM Abroad application. 

Read more about funding here! 

Description Payment
First Instalment (Due with Application) $250
Second Instalment $950
Third Instalment $950
Fourth Instalment $950
Fifth Instalment TBC

Need to know

  • The cost and itinerary are subject to change.
  • Applicants must submit an application for admission into the course to the Centre for Student Engagement and will be required to abide by the corresponding UTM Abroad application requirements and deadlines to participate in the international experience.
  • Fees must be paid in full by the required deadlines.
  • To prepare for the trip, students attending will participate in a mandatory pre-departure and safety abroad sessions.