Programs by Country: Dominican Republic + Dialogue of Civilizations

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND CUBA: Microfinance Field Research Program (closed)

Dialogue of Civilizations | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Faculty Leaders: Dennis Shaughnessy ( and Gordon Adomdza (

Study Abroad Coordinator: Colleen Boyle (

Information Sessions:

  • Tuesday, October 29 from 6-7PM in 170 Dodge Hall RSVP HERE
  • Thursday, November 7 from 6-7PM in 225 Richards Hall  RSVP HERE
  • Tuesday, November 12 from 6-7PM in 170 Dodge Hall RSVP HERE
  • Thursday, November 14 from 5-6PM in 425 Hayden Hall RSVP HERE

Term: Summer I


  • ENTR 3316 - Microfinance and Economic Development in Latin America
  • ENTR 3318 - Business, Economics, and History of Hispaniola and Latin America


The Field Research Program in the Dominican Republic & Cuba is a practical, hands-on, field research program built on the principles of the Grameen Bank model of micro-finance which emphasizes group liability, social collateral, and solidarity with the poor. In Module 1, the program focuses on village banking in rural communities called “bateyes” which are typically comprised of Haitian migrant sugar cane workers in the Dominican Republic. Students will also have the opportunity visit microfinance associates and their businesses in urban settings. In Module 2, students will compare and contrast their experience of microfinance PLUS models in the Dominican Republic with associates in Cuba, and explore how modern day socialism impacts the growth of small businesses and entrepreneurship.


In Module 1, classes commence Monday through Friday for two weeks at the premier business and technology campus in the Dominican Republic called INTEC (Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo). Northeastern students will study side-by-side with local Dominican and Haitian students enrolled in this elective course. The academic portion of the program includes topics of study such as social entrepreneurship, micro-enterprise development, micro-finance, and impact measurement. Classes are supplemented with site visits to social businesses throughout the country, including other micro-finance organizations, agricultural co-operatives, and development organizations. Students will also be given the opportunity to visit Esperanza’s microfinance PLUS programs, such as their public health iniatitives, education programs, and home improvement loan portfolio.


In the afternoon, students work “in the field" in either urban, semi-urban, or rural communities to interview current microfinance associates of Esperanza International , the University’s field partner in the Dominican Republic. Esperanza is a leading microfinance organization in the island of Hispaniola and is an active Kiva field partner. The purpose for this field exercise is to collect both qualitative and quantatitve impact metrics for Esperanza to better understand how they are serving their clients.


In this micro-consulting research project, students design a metric tool to assist Esperanza with measuring social impact for the organization's 18,000 active borrowers and $20m loan portfolio. Students also create a final presentation with a deliverable to include recommendations to the senior management for best practices.


In Module 2, students will travel to the island of Cuba, where they will learn about the historical roots of socialism in order to better understand the modern day implications of business, entrepreneurship, and human development. Students will also visit historical sites, meet with leading economists, visit urban farms and agricultural cooperatives, and learn from experts in Cuban politics and history. Students will also interview recipients of microfinance loans in Cuba, and contrast their knowledge of microfinance in the Dominican Republic. Students will also have the opportunity to compare and contrast public health systems and education systems in both countries to better understand human centered design in the role of development.  This portion of the program will be based in Havana, with a weekend trip to Vinales Valley in Western Cuba.


This program is supplemented with service learning opportunities, as well as site visits, and weekend trips/excursions.


To watch an informational video about the Dominican Republic Field Research Program, please visit: please visit: