Fundacion Aldeas de Paz

Medicine and Healthcare

Santa Barbara de Samaná, Dominican Republic show on map
Gain invaluable hands-on experience, working side-by-side with medical staff at the local hospital. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

About the Program

Gain invaluable hands-on experience, working side by side with medical staff and fellow volunteers at a hospital or a neighborhood health clinic. This opportunity will give you an insight into the running and daily routine of a hospital or a neighborhood health clinic. You will experience the stark contrast between Western medical practice and the realities of medicine in developing countries. As the hospitals and clinics are still modernizing there are many challenges faced and as a result you will also see medical conditions that have remained untreated and have developed to an advanced pathological stage. Therefore this project not only provides you with responsibility, it also allows you to broaden your perspective by working at a hospital/health clinic in a developing country.

Furthermore, you can gain experience in a range of different departments and activities within the hospital/health clinic, such as: emergency, pediatric, maternity (only female volunteers), diabetes, integral attention & prevention for HIV, tuberculosis and uterine cancer as well as nursing, hospital administration and management assisting with accountancy and helping with statistics. There is also the possibility to work in the hospital pharmacy. You are welcome to also work on our other projects such as the English and computer literacy classes for locals.

Your level of possible involvement will largely depend on your Spanish language skills and experiences in the field, as well as your motivation and willingness to get involved. It will also depend on the current needs and tasks at the hospital as we really want to help out wherever our help is needed most. Your work schedule will be created in a meeting with the departmental director and the volunteer coordinator and supervisor. In this process we always try to match your interests and skills with the current situation at the hospital. In order to gain the most out of your experience, and especially if you have a specific healthcare goal, please contact us in advance to discuss your options in detail.

What to expect

Working hours will be primarily in the morning when the physicians are at the hospital/health clinic. As with any medical service, volunteers should recognize that their schedules may be subject to sudden changes and are dictated by patients’ needs. You are encouraged to also take part in weekend shifts and watches with doctors and nurses as this gives you excellent exposure to work observation and experience opportunities!

Your Profile

This program is suitable for a wide range of students and professionals. It is also available to pre-university students interested in a career in medicine. The key requirements for a medical volunteer or intern are initiative, enthusiasm, and readiness to work in unfamiliar circumstances. More specialized skills will allow for more specialized activities. Basic Spanish skills are needed, but an advanced level of Spanish experience will open up more opportunities. To enhance your experience as a volunteer/intern we offer up to six free Spanish language lessons every week.

Volunteer Placement and/or Internship

You can join this program as a volunteer or as an intern. Please inform us of your school or university’s internship requirements in advance so that we can work out your personalized work plan together. Also tell us about your personal expectations and goals and we will see how we can help you achieve them.

We are constantly adapting our activities to children's needs and volunteer numbers and capacities. 

We are exclusively financed by volunteer donations! 

We work hard to keep the required financial contribution to an absolute minimum and offer financial transparency by practicing an open book policy. We are a registered tax exempted charity and all monetary contributions are referred to as donation since what you pay is generally 100% tax-deductible for you. Speak with your tax adviser to learn how the cost of international airfare can be tax-deductible as well. Please also read our Terms & Conditions. Check out how your donation is spent, and read our Financial Reports.

The longer you stay, the less you pay! 

The calculation of your financial contribution or donation is set up so that the longer you stay, the less you give per week. We clearly illustrate the decrease in the per week contribution below in the table! We do this to encourage longer stays, recognizing that longer stays lead to more significant volunteer work and more energy contributed in the form of donated time in place of money!

Special Offer

Spanish language classes - volunteers or interns receive up to six free language lessons every week. The classes focus on developing communication skills so that students are able to put their knowledge to practical use as soon as they step outside the classroom. Our teaching method enables students to develop four basic skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. The idea is to learn Spanish in a natural and spontaneous way, just as students have learned their mother tongue. Our students speak Spanish right from the very first day, using it in typical real-life situations: the basic syllabus is supplemented by special exercises, such as role-play, situational dialogues and work projects. Outside the classroom, the learning process continues as you immerse in the Spanish language and the Dominican culture.

Suggestions on what to bring and donate:

Please bring scrubs and shoes that are closed and easy to clean for working in the hospital as they are mandatory.
Stethoscopes, otoscopes, latex gloves, hand sanitizer and face masks (N95 for the tuberculosis patients) would be a very helpful donation to the hospital.

Typical day

Activities can include but are not limited to:  

  • Observing, shadowing and assisting doctors and nurses during their work
  • Participating in patient care: comfort patients and assist in examining patients
  • Providing ambulance support when needed
  • Assisting, teaching and encouraging prevention, hygiene, and checkups
  • Assisting in developing educational materials and engagement strategies for various prevention programs using multimedia means
  • Helping regularly with hospital administration tasks and help improve procedures and workflow
  • Assisting occasionally with domiciliary health services, assistance, hygiene and information
  • Some volunteers may also choose to teach English to the doctors, provided that there is a sufficient number of doctors interested
  • Several times a year there are foreign medical missions visiting and working at the hospital. You may accompany them and if you wish translate for them and the patients

There may also be varying current projects, which volunteers may wish to join. Past projects were a Zika information and prevention program and the education of mothers-to-be on the importance of considering breastfeeding as part of an ongoing UNICEF project.

Please note that due to worldwide regulations only trained medical staff can be allowed to treat patients. Volunteers/interns without medical training can assist the medical staff and work in healthcare. If you wish to specialize in a particular activity we will do our best to accommodate your personal preferences. However, you can be asked to be involved in a combination of activities which can also require working directly in contact with our beneficiaries, children and young people from Santa Barbara de Samaná neighbourhoods.

Create your own project!

In addition to established community activities and programs you have the chance to set up  your own project with the financial and organizational support of our charity. 

Details on Arrival

Placement Locations
Hospital and neighborhood health clinics in Samaná, La Pasquala and Las Terrenas

The Aldeas de Paz Foundation headquarters is in Santa Barbara de Samana, which is located on the North-East of the Dominican Republic, at the heart of the peninsula of Samana. This provincial capital with 15000 inhabitants is a very peaceful and safe town. Samana is constituted by a community with a strong sense of social responsibility. The people themselves consider the town very safe, there is no more crime here than in any average small European town. The Dominican Republics countryside as a whole is very peaceful, and certainly one of the safest regions in the Caribbean.

Travel Logistics

The Foundation will do everything to make sure our volunteers remain safe during their stay in the Dominican Republic. On your way to Santa Barbara de Samana you will most likely fly into Las Americas airport near Santo Domingo, where we have established a great cooperation with a very reliable pickup service for our incoming volunteers! Marcos, the pickup driver will help you personally and thoroughly during your transit from the airport Las Americas to the bus terminal which is only 10 minutes away, therefore granting you peace of mind and tranquillity during your travel. 

Marcos will assist you with purchasing your bus ticket and bring you to the bus terminal where you will catch the direct luxury bus to Santa Barbara de Samana, the last stop on the route. Travel-time on the bus is two hours only.

Travel advice 

  • Do not become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties are severe and convictions for drug offenses can lead to imprisonment. 
  • You should always pack your own luggage, and you should never carry any items through customs for anybody else. 
  • Book your trips in advance through pick-up and travel agencies to avoid surprises and problems during your transit to Santa Barbara de Samana 
  • It is not advisable to overtly criticize the Catholic Church, as this can cause great offense in a country where the religion is greatly respected and revered. 
  • Do not walk around alone at night in big cities, and if you do then please let someone know of your whereabouts. 
  • You will encounter many security checkpoints while traveling in the Dominican Republic, have your passport and ID papers (as well as copies) on you at all times for the duration of the travel.

Time Commitment

A minimum stay of 4 weeks is required.

You can join our program throughout the whole year. Please make sure that you arrive on a weekday so that we can arrange everything for your arrival.

Free-time activities

Samana is the name of both the peninsula and its biggest town, as well as the bay to the south located in the northeastern part of the Dominican Republic. It is a dramatically beautiful peninsula, like an island unto itself, of coconut trees stretching into the sea.

The town of Samana is a scenic, beautiful and peaceful port, with friendly and easy-going Dominicans, living their life with tourism, agriculture and fishing activities, all set to the beat and rhythms of Merengue, Bachata and Salsa music. The newly renovated Malecon (seaside promenade) of two kilometers length is perfect for strolling by day and night. It is the perfect place to while away the evening in a relaxing atmosphere in one of the many surrounding restaurants and bars. Hundreds of fantastic beaches surround the peninsula of Samana, which can be explored during a day trip or for the whole weekend.

Las Galeras y El Rincon: A small fisherman's town with beautiful beaches surrounded by nature. Travel by Bus (45 minutes / US$ 2,-)

El Limón: Famous waterfall and swimming. Travel by Bus (20 minutes / US$ 1,50,-)

Cayo Levantado: Small Island with beautiful beaches just of the coastline in Samana. Travel by Boat (15 minutes / US$ 2,-)

Parque National de los Haiteses: Park made of mangroves, caves with ancient paintings and beautiful bays with pristine beaches. Magnificent limestone caves to explore. Travel by Boat 60 minutes / US$ 10,-

Playa El Valle: A small fisherman's settlement with a beautiful beach surrounded by pristine nature. Travel by Moto Concho (MotoTaxi) (20 Minutes / US$ 3,-)

There are famous Kitesurf beaches in Las Terrenas and Cabarete only an hour from Samana! The whole Peninsula of Samana is a Wild and precious natural gem! People are extremely friendly and the nature is gorgeous!

From mid-January to late March the bay is home to to some of the world's best whale-watching.

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Climbing
Hiking
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (basic level) and English (basic level)
Education Requirements
Medicine, Healthcare at Universities level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
The key requirements are initiative, enthusiasm, and readiness to work in unfamiliar circumstances. Basic conversational Spanish skills are required and the more advanced your level of experience and Spanish language skills, the larger the number of opportunities available.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 15:00

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Fundacion Aldeas de Paz cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Fundacion Aldeas de Paz.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Fundacion Aldeas de Paz (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Fundacion Aldeas de Paz

Aldeas de Paz works hard to keep the required financial contribution to an absolute minimum and to offer financial transparency by practicing an open book policy. The calculation of your financial contribution or donation is set up so that the longer you stay the less you give per week. We do this to encourage longer stays, recognizing that longer stays lead to more significant volunteer work and more energy contributed in the form of donated time in place of money! 

What is included

  •       Volunteer or Internship placement 
  •       Accommodation of your choice
  •       Welcome Service at the airport and transport to your placement location
  •       Free Wi-Fi and use of washing machine at all our facilities 
  •       Placement introduction, training, supervision, briefings and meetings 
  •       Free academical Spanish lessons on a regular base 
  •       Certificate and/or written reference or student credit 
  •       Full support and 24/7 backup from local staff
  •       Information about adventure packages    

Airport Pickup at Las Americas International Airport

Personal welcome service and pick-up at the airport, transfer to the bus, bus fare and free transfer to your placement location in Las Terrenas or Samana. In the airport our Driver will wait for you even if your flight is delayed. After you arrive at the placement location, our Staff welcome you and bring you to your accommodation.

Accommodation

The minimum contribution starts at €125 per week and includes Welcome Service at the airport and transport to your placement location, double room at one of our fully equipped guesthouse apartments with WiFi and washing machine, free Spanish language classes and a special program donation. If you wish a single room upgrade add €35 per week and an all in Host Family homestay upgrade is €125 per week, including a private bedroom and two meals per day. For an independent Bungalow within an gated residence add €65 per week (only available in Las Terrenas)    

Guest Family Bedroom (Single) Bungalow Bedroom (Double)
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo. We assist you to find cheap flights to Dominican Republic.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Dominican Republic provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Dominican Republic you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Dominican Republic.
Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
$ 1,402
6 weeks
$ 1,663
8 weeks
$ 1,889
10 weeks
$ 2,103
12 weeks
$ 2,248
16 weeks
$ 2,829
50 weeks (max. stay)
$ 8,784
Average fees
$ 263 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Santa Barbara de Samaná/Dominican Republic between 4 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Fundacion Aldeas de Paz will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Dominican Republic.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Fundacion Aldeas de Paz during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas The Caribbean The Dominican Republic  Santa Barbara de Samaná, C/Adriano Horton, Santa Barbara de Samana

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Reservation
The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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