Dominican Republic

House Building with Cambiando Vidas

A team of Deerfield students will travel to the Dominican Republic to build a house for a family with the organization Cambiando Vidas. When work begins, the house will be one cinderblock high. On day five, the house will be finished — complete with running water and electricity. On the final night, the team will share the first dinner in the house with the family and the 100+ members of the community who worked on the house. Deerfield has been building houses with Cambiando Vidas since 2009.

Program Notes

  • This trip conflicts with the June 1 SAT.
  • This is an “unplugged” trip where students will not have access to cell phones or internet for the duration of their time in the DR.
  • Students can expect to stay in hotels. Typically, they will have breakfast at the hotel; lunch will be shared with community members at the worksite, and dinner will be out at local restaurants.
  • Students and faculty leaders will update families and friends at home through our Notes From The Field blog. Check out previous year’s posts below for a better understanding of the travel experience, and a video that highlights the experience.
  • Families are responsible for transportation from the U.S. airport to the student’s final destination at the end of the trip.

Program Dates

May  27 – June 4, 2024

Program Eligibility

This trip is open to current 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students with a preference towards those with a demonstrated interest in service. All interested students are encouraged to apply by November 5. Financial aid is available to all qualifying students.

Faculty Trip Leaders

  • Sheryl Koyama; Callie Gray


Deerfield Academy’s Center for Service and Global Citizenship strives to make all of our travel programs affordable and accessible for all students while ensuring a high quality global education experience. While the costs of travel around the world have been rising steadily over the past several years, all of our trips are subsidized, and thanks to the generosity of many we are able to provide robust financial aid for qualifying students.


Helpful links

CDC and State Department briefings on travel to the Dominican Republic.

2024 Preliminary Itinerary

*This itinerary is subject to change.

Day 1 : Travel to a hotel near a NY/NE Airport and spend the night preparing for the trip.

Day 2: Fly to Santo Domingo, DR and travel to San Juan de la Maguana, making stops along the way to better understand the island’s geography, history, and culture.

Day 2 – Day 6: Build a house and build new relationships while learning about the culture and history of the Dominican Republic

Day 7: Travel to Santo Domingo and spend the day exploring this historical city. Final team dinner that night.

Day 8: Travel from Santo Domingo to NY/NE based airport**

**Families are responsible for transportation from the U.S. airport to the student’s final destination at the end of the trip.

Notes From The Field

Dominican Republic 2019

Dominican Republic #12: Final Reflections

At the end of the trip, faculty trip leaders Sheryl Koyama and Bob Graves, asked students to provide final reflections on what they had learned and experienced during their time in the Dominican Republic. Below are excerpts of students responses.

Dominican Republic 2019

Dominican Republic #11: Community

Garret DeMallie ’21, Connor Guest ’20, and Francis Gannon Jr. ’21 describe the “meaningful” connections they’ve made within the community and the “life lessons” they’ve learned during their time in the DR.

Dominican Republic 2018

Dominican Republic #8: Home

Trip leaders Kris Loftus and Erin Hutchinson share the group’s final reflections from a week in the Dominican Republic!

Dominican Republic 2018

Dominican Republic #7: A Fulfilling Day

Annabel Gerber ’20, Cameron Garner ’19, and Nolan Zusi ’19 share the groups activities on their last day at the work site.