When thinking about the Dominican Republic, what comes to mind? Our international program director, Pamela, gives a glimpse into some of the things that represent Dominicans.

(Pamela McFarland)

Pamela shares that the Dominican is the most visited country in the Caribbean. Up to 2020, it hosted around 7 million tourists every year. (Source). She also says Dominicans are often characterized as hard workers and as incredibly close to their family and friends.

“Dominicans are welcoming people full of color, joy, kindness, and great humor. A love for celebrations, music, and baseball brings Dominicans together any time of the year.”

There are a lot of different passions and foods that illustrate aspects of the Dominican Republic. Pamela explains that Dominicans are a mix of cultures, such as Spanish colonists, enslaved Africans, and Taino indigenous peoples… and so, there are elements of each of these different cultures in the gastronomy of the Dominican Republic. The list below depicts five food characteristics that briefly introduce the Dominican Republic.

See the list below:

  1. Coffee, coconuts, and chocolate are some of the C’s that come to mind when experiencing the Dominican. Coffee beans and cacao are integral to their agriculture.
  1. The traditional Dominican breakfast is mashed plantains called Mangú with fried red onions, fried eggs, salami, or fried cheese.
  1. For lunch, Dominicans often eat “La Bandera” (The Flag), which is white rice, chicken, and red beans. 

(Pamela McFarland)

  1. Alongside cacao and coffee, the Dominican’s agriculture is based on the production of sugar cane, rice, and tobacco, among other produce.
  1. Dominicans are also major producers of bananas, but they primarily consume them locally.

The products Dominicans love show us just a little about who they are. Pamela concludes that the Dominican Republic is a vibrant island full of amazing people, touristy places to visit, and flavorful foods.. 

The Dominican Republic and Portage Community

Since 2019, Portage Community’s International Program has served medical students in the Dominican Republic. Because of our supporters, we can fully fund students through medical school who would not be able to attend otherwise. 

These students go on to work in Dominican hospitals and private clinics where they can provide vital medical care to their community.

Our Dominican students attend Iberoamerican University (UNIBE) in Santo Domingo.

(Pamela McFarland, pictured)

At UNIBE, Portage Community pays for the student’s tuition, housing, transportation, food, and other expenses, which amounts to approximately $12,000 per student per year. These students receive mentorship and professional development opportunities. They also will have the chance to work for the Portage Community Medical Clinic in Higuey. 

Our program allows us to select one student each year. We fund them through the entirety of medical school, which is a five-year program. 

Ultimately, we hope that these bright young people better their communities through their training. The Dominican Republic has a warm and vibrant culture, and we are passionate about bridging the educational gap among their medical students. 

If you want to help a new generation of Dominican doctors receive the best possible training, you can find out more information here.  


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