El Salvador

Human Rights, Gender and Globalization

Next Offered: Summer 2016

El Salvador still elicits visions of the brutal civil war fought throughout the country in the 1970's and 1980's. Today the war is over, but the struggle for peace with justice continues. El Salvador is not geared to independent travel. However, through programs like this one, groups have the opportunity to witness a country rebuild and transform. 

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. The country borders the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, and Honduras. It is a tropical country with active volcanoes, mountains and forests.

El Salvador has historically been one of the most socially stratified countries in the region. While the political situation has stabilized since the end of the civil war in 1992, the gap between the rich and poor has gotten worse.

Academic Program

STA 342 is a three-credit experiential learning course in El Salvador and includes pre-trip class sessions and orientation meetings. This course explores themes of social and economic development, globalization, gender, and social justice within the Latin American context.

Dominican students have the opportunity to travel in El Salvador while learning about human rights and gender issues. Interacting with different sectors students will learn about various policies and programs. Travel across the country will include visits to communities in both urban and rural settings.

Course participants will travel to San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. San Salvador was founded in the 16th Century. The city has suffered from several earthquakes over the years, the most recent in 2001. Participants will also spend time in the countryside learning about issues from the perspective of the most vulnerable members of Salvadoran society – the rural poor.

El Salvador is a Spanish-speaking country; however this is not a language course. Translation will be provided. 

Participation in this course fulfills the multicultural core requirement, a requirement for the Study of Women and Gender Program, and an elective towards the Sociology Major and the Sociology/Criminology Double Major.

Currently enrolled students may not opt for the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option for this course.

  • Completed short-term application packet: application form, two letters of recommendation and medical form
  • Deadline: October 25, 2013

For more information, please contact Sue Ponremy, director international studies, at sponremy@dom.edu or call (708) 524-6965. 

Cost and Financial Aid

Estimated Costs

  • 2014 program costs: $3,432 (includes housing, group excursions, most meals, airfare).
  • Personal expenses: $200

Due to fluctuation of exchange rates, the cost of the program is subject to change.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • State, federal and Dominican aid is applicable
  • Students: By studying abroad, you may have additional options for funding assistance. Please see a Dominican University Financial Aid Officer as soon as possible.

Requirements and Eligibility

  • Accepted Dominican Student or qualified adults.
  • 2.5 DU GPA. Freshmen must attain a 2.5 DU GPA during the fall semester 2013.
  • No prior knowledge of Spanish required
  • Students must attend at least one information session.

Excursions, Housing and Transportation


Program includes educational and experiential activities, visits to the Pacific Ocean, hiking in tropical forests, and a two-day excursion to Mayan Ruins in Copan, Honduras.

Under no circumstances will students be permitted to travel independently. All excursions and site visits will be with the group and the director.


Lodging in San Salvador will be at a guesthouse, with two to three room occupancy and private baths. The guesthouse is like a bed a breakfast and will include breakfast, and some dinners. Lunch will usually be eaten in a restaurant.

Housing in the countryside may include home-stays, community centers, and guest houses. Course participants will sleep on thin mattresses and hammocks. Conditions in the countryside will be rugged. Access to running water and electricity may be limited.


Group flight arranged by program director who will accompany the group.