International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987

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Culture Corner

Currency

How much is the Dominican peso worth?
The national currency of the Dominican Republic is the peso (RD$). You may consult the website www.xe.com for the present exchange rate. The present rate of exchange as of Dec. 30th 2010 is approximately 1 Dollar = 37 dominican pesos. The rates fluctuate daily, so check the rate again before your departure for the most accurate information.

ISA recommends that you arrive in the Dominican Republic with Dominican Pesos already on you. Even if it´s just a little bit (US$20-30), you can exchange US Dollars at a bank, at an American Express branch, or at an airport in the US (just beware of unfavorable exchange rates, especially at an airport!).

ATM machines are plentiful in the Dominican Republic and using your ATM card will generally give you the best exchange rate available! However, check with your bank to find out how much you will be charged each time you make a withdrawal. It can be up to $5! At times, ATM machines are out of service, so please bring some cash with you!

Conversion Rates

What is the Dominican Peso worth compared to the dollar? With the Peso is in constant flux, please see www.oanda.com for up-to-date exchange rates. While traveling, it may be helpful to carry a portable currency converter (found at travel stores). Sometimes in the form of a keychain, this is a handy gadget (like a calculator) into which you enter the exchange rate (depending on the exchange rate at the time and the country in which you are located) save, and then simply enter the prices and the device converts the amounts into dollars.

Cost of Living

While Santiago can be expensive to the untrained traveler, there are many ways to live comfortably on a budget, if you pay attention to what you spend and look out for different deals and events offered throughout the city. The ISA Santiago office also has several books and other resources that can help you get by living in Santiago while still taking advantage of what the great city has to offer. Remember that eating and shopping locally will always help you save some money!

Budgeting
Former students have given us some idea of what you should expect to spend per week while in the Dominican Republic. Due to the change in exchange rates and vast differences in individual spending habits, we can only give you estimated figures. However, most students seem to spend around $30-$100 per week. This figure does not include extra traveling, heavy shopping, or frequent restaurant dining. Please keep in mind that some students spend less and others spend more.

When budgeting, keep in mind that it is always better to overestimate than to underestimate. To give you an idea of common approximate expenses and commodities a typical student will incur, please see the brief list below.

  • Transportation: $2-$5 (USD)
  • Concerts: ~$10 (USD)
  • Museums: Free - $3 (USD)
  • Menu Meal: $3 - $8 (USD)
  • Newspaper: $0.50 (USD)

Additional Estimated Expenses

The ISA program cost includes items such as tuition and fees, housing, insurance, and more. To view what is included in your program price, please visit the "What's Included" section of the ISA Santiago program page.

The "Additional Estimated Expenses" sheet in the "Accepted Students" section of the ISA website has the following estimated expenses listed:

  • Airfare
  • Books & Supplies
  • Meals
  • Visas/Passports

ISIC Card

The ISIC card is an internationally recognized student ID card that gives students thousands of discounts worldwide from travel to cinema, meals and more. ISA students who purchase a flight through STA are eligible to receive an ISIC card.

For students who do not book their ticket through STA, it is recommended that they look into purchasing an ISIC card for their studies in the Dominican Republic. To find out how to get an ISIC card, visit www.isic.org. Once there, you can find information on discounts in the DR, and what is needed to obtain an ISIC card.