Where will I live?
You will live near Santiago for much of your time on the Global Bridge. You will live in community with other participants at the Global Bridge base house located on a nine-acre operating tropical farm. The base is within walking distance or short driving distance of most ministry sites. During language school weeks, you will stay in carefully-selected host homes in the town of Jarabacoa.
How will I get around?
Much of your travel will be by foot or in vans driven by SI staff. There are also times when you may travel by public transportation.
What will I eat?
At both the Global Bridge house and in host homes, we serve a variety of meals such as typical Dominican dishes, pastas, casseroles, tacos, soups, grilled/baked chicken, pancakes, eggs, platanos, fruits, vegetables, sweet bread, and more. Students often help with meal preparation and/or clean-up.
What if I have a dietary restriction?
We need to know about dietary restrictions early in your application process. If you have allergies or intolerances – for instance, gluten – we will do our best to work with you to make necessary arrangements.
What can I do with my free time?
Free time on the Global Bridge is limited – we have a busy schedule of ministry, academics, excursions, and interacting with the local culture. When you do have down time, you may exercise, go for a walk, spend more time getting to know the other program participants. You may also have time on the weekends to participate in various community activites– markets, movies, cultural events, or eating in one of many delicious restaurants or panaderias.
What are some examples of weekend excursions?
To broaden your experience of the DR as a country full of diverse communities, majestic natural beauty and fascinating historical and cultural landmarks, a number of excursions are built into the Global Bridge. 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:
- Colonial City, Santiago
- 27 Waterfalls in Puerto Plata
- Historical Landmarks
- Beaches, hikes, camping, snorkeling, white water rafting and more
What additional expenses should I expect?
Most of your in-country expenses are covered, though you may want to bring money for snacks, souvenirs, etc. This will vary from student to student. ATMs are available in town and we recommend this as opposed to carrying a lot of cash with you into the country.
Can I communicate with friends & family back home?
You will have internet access at the Global Bridge house for school work, communicating back home, and for leisure activities. SI staff will work with you to set aside time and establish guidelines for social networking to ensure a healthy balance between connecting with friends and family and engaging fully in the program and culture.
Who is on the SI staff?
< Global Bridge Program Directors: Courtney & Dustin Williams – Dustin and Courtney come from Texas and have two boys, Cole and Luke. They have been serving in Santiago since March 2017. In addition to guiding Global Bridge students through all aspects of life in the DR, Courtney serves as Student Life Coordinator for the many short-term outreach teams. Dustin leads the Agriculture site, running a small farm on the base and providing gardening education to the local community.
< SI Santiago Field Directors: Alvaro & Raquel Linan – Alvaro and Raquel have been on staff with SI since 2015. Initially the site leaders of the Microfinance Site in Jarabaoca, in 2018 they transitioned to Santiago to step into the Director role. Alvaro was born and raised in Barcelona (Spain), has a degree in Law and worked as a corporate banker. Raquel, a native of the Dominican Republic, spent two years in seminary in Argentina, where she was asked to serve as a missionary in a small church in Spain. They were married in the late nineties and are now “dad and mum” to two beautiful kids, Oriol and Noa.
< Global Bridge and Study Abroad Enrollment Counselor: Bree Minefee – Bree oversees leader training and recruitment for Students International outreach teams, as well as serving as the Global Bridge and Study Abroad Enrollment Counselor. Bree is thrilled to be a resource for Global Bridge and Study Abroad students and parents as they navigate their time abroad. Contact Bree.
> Academic Program Coordinator: Rebecca Keiser – 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. Contact Rebecca.
< Academic Program Director: Darin Mather – Darin oversees Students International’s academic programs. He serves as a liaison between Students International and Crown College. Darin helps students choose their courses and provides academic support throughout the Global Bridge experience. Contact Darin.
> Vice President of the International Service Center: Pam Christy – Pam oversees the team that provides support for SI staff and for students who participate in SI programs.
What types of ministry will I be involved in?
The ministry experience is diverse. You will work side by side with experienced missionaries who minister in their sites everyday. Learn more about SI’s ministry sites in the DR.
Will there be any discipleship training?
The overall experience in the DR is aimed at transforming the heart, mind, and soul. We work on learning to thoughtfully recognize what God is trying to teach us in the midst of the cultural changes and different environments. You will meet regularly with a mentor. We also do a weekly Bible study, as well as target life and leadership skills for your future. Learn more about discipleship.
What is Students International?
Students International (SI) is a mission and community development organization with operations in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. SI’s passion is to provide students with opportunities to volunteer in ministry and service sites that are related to their personal academic and vocational interests. These experiences are transformative spiritually, academically, vocationally and personally while simultaneously focusing on Christ-centered ministry through our long-standing presence within the local communities. SI currently has over 60 staff ministering in four different countries. We partner annually with around 100 groups to provide short-term mission opportunities to over 1,000 students and adults. Academically, we have worked for nearly 15 years providing semester study abroad programs in conjunction with Christian colleges across the country.
What is Crown College?
Crown College is a fully accredited Christian liberal arts college that is ranked within the nation’s top 15% of colleges by Money Magazine. Crown’s School of Online Studies has been ranked among the nation’s Top Online Programs, and in the Top 10 Online Christian Colleges. Crown’s physical campus is in Saint Bonifacius, MN (near Minneapolis).
Can I transfer my classes from Crown to other institutions?
Yes. Crown College is a fully-accredited liberal arts college, whose credit will be accepted by private and public universities across the country. If you have questions about transferring to a specific university, Academic Programs Director Darin Mather can assist you with the process. Contact Darin.
How do Students International and Crown work together?
Students International and Crown College are two Christian organizations with a passion for changing the lives of students as they change the world. SI takes care of ministry and logistics in Guatemala. Crown provides online courses and academic advising.
How much does the program cost?
Find out more on our Cost page.
How will I pay for the program?
Airfare and in-country expenses are paid directly to Students International. You may raise support for this portion of your costs, and SI provides instruction in developing a team of financial and prayer supporters.
Tuition is paid directly to Crown College. You may be eligible for federal and state aid, and Crown’s Financial Aid Office will guide you through the process. Because Crown offers competitively priced tuition (which is further reduced for the Global Bridge program), students are not eligible for institutional grants or scholarships.
Can I get a refund if I withdraw from the program?
Because Students International is a non-profit organization that provides tax deductible receipts for all contributions, we cannot provide refunds for any money applied to your account (including money raised from donors or paid by you or your parents). If you do not complete a term for whatever reason, SI cannot refund any monies that have been given as a charitable donation. This includes donations given by you or your parents.
Can I get financial aid?
A Crown College financial aid adviser will work with you to explore and maximize your financial aid options.
Can I raise support for my expenses?
Yes, you may raise support for your ministry-related SI program costs. SI will furnish a fundraising packet to guide you through this process and will furnish donors with tax-deductible receipts.
What courses can I take?
What are the academic expectations?
The Global Bridge 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). Those who do not successfully complete their coursework may be dismissed from the program. Learn more.
What materials will I need for my courses?
You will need a laptop with Microsoft Office installed for your online studies. Each class will have required textbooks (see below).
Do I have to pay for textbooks?
Yes. Crown orientation materials include course book lists and information on how to purchase books before you travel to the DR. We try to keep book costs as low as possible.
Who can I contact to learn more?
Can I come home for Christmas?
All Global Bridge participants will return home over the December holiday break for about a month and return for the start of classes in mid-January. Holiday break airfare is not covered in your SI program cost.
Can my family come visit me?
Family members may visit students during specified times.
Check out the Global Bridge Student Handbook!