STEM Global Learning Immersion for Diverse Experiences (GLIDE) provided an opportunity for first-time international travelers to learn about the global issue of water quality during an interactive study abroad experience in the Dominican Republic. The trip, led by COSAM’s Office of Inclusion Equity, and Diversity (OIED), was fully funded for all of the participants. 

“Studying abroad ca be a life-changing opportunity to put into practice what is learned in the classroom but too often financial restraints prevent students from participating. Through this program our goal is to increase access and broaden participation to opportunities such as these for all students,” stated Dr. Kimberly Mulligan.

Julian Oliver, OIED Coordinator, shared, “It changed the students’ perspective on how they view the environment, how they view resources, and their impact with those things on a day-to-day basis. It helped them understand things they can think of now: methods, ideas, new inventions, that can be utilized to help less-developed countries and also here in America. It helped them gain a global perspective.”

Read reflections directly from the students that participated on this trip and learn how studying abroad can impact the lives of our students.

This trip was possible with the generous support from 2019 Tiger Giving Day.

“I planned on simply learning about the water situation in the Dominican Republic on this trip. While I did learn a lot on this topic, I learned so much more about myself and the world around me. I learned that education is more important than I previously appreciated. I learned that happiness in life doesn't come from things. Happiness comes from the simple moments. Whether it’s a cave or even a hike straight up a
mountain, I learned to slow down and find happiness all around me. I started the trip stressed out because I was completely out of my environment. However, as the two weeks progressed, I learned to take every moment outside of my box for what it was.”


“The best way for me to describe this trip is AMAZING! I’ve never been able to appreciate nature the way I did while I was in the Dominican Republic. If you were able to see my phone, most of the videos I have
saved were from some sort of waterfall, cave, or plant. The white water rafting excursion makes me want to experience things like that everywhere I go now because I have never been able to relish in that much greenery ever. Everything was so vibrant and I live for experiences where I don’t need my phone to enjoy
myself. I have never considered anything outside to be my best friend, but I think I’ve just been holding myself back from exploring as much of the Earth as I possibly can. I really am thankful to the STEM Glide Program for choosing me to be a part of this trip. I never would have experienced the Dominican Republic on my own the way it was presented to me.”


“Living in another country gave me the amazing opportunity to learn about a new culture, meet new people, and improve my ability to speak Spanish. Most importantly though, I learned how to live in the moment and appreciate the smaller things in life. Studying abroad truly opened my eyes to the world around me, and it was a lesson that I would have never learned in a classroom. No amount of reading or
researching different places can compare to the firsthand experience you get while being abroad. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to expose myself to new situations filled with new people and experiences. This is a trip I will truly never forget.”


“My two weeks spent traversing the Dominican Republic with the inaugural STEM GLIDE class has been
the highlight of my college career thus far. I was, and still am, astounded by the concept of a fully funded trip abroad, and the sheer investment of money and time poured into this opportunity for my peers and I
cannot be understated. This concerted investment is highly empowering to me personally; coming from an underserved background in STEM, it is easy for me to feel as if I don’t belong or am in some way inferior in my STEM courses as I have not had the same opportunities as many of the people I am surrounded by in this field. This investment, beyond connecting me with an inspiring and uplifting group of similar peers and mentors, represents to me that the Auburn community as a whole is rooting for my success. For this, I am forever grateful.”


“Personally, I found my first trip out of the country to the Dominican Republic to be very eye opening. I found that anytime we were able to immerse ourselves in the community and interact with people who live there year-round was when I gained the most insight. Especially when being told about the rich culture, history and environment that the Dominican Republic is founded on. I also enjoyed the more
special activities of white water rafting and snorkeling to see what the tourist side of the Dominican Republic looks like.”


 “The one thing that I will never forget about this country and its people is how proud they are of their history and their nationality. I always felt very welcomed; there were people smiling, dancing, and playing games everywhere we went, and this really touched me. This trip was the best experience of my life, and I would love to do it again if I could. I was forced to step out of my comfort zone in the 14 days that we were there, and it was definitely more enjoyable than uncomfortable. I will always be grateful for this experience and the connections it helped me make. I am definitely looking forward to traveling abroad in the future.”


“The STEM GLIDE program was a very insightful and rewarding experience. The trip fulfilled its purpose of exposing international travel to students who may not have otherwise gone abroad during their academic career and encourage future international travel. Experiencing the culture in Dominican Republic was often refreshing since all the various cities we visited were diverse in geography and socio-economic
qualities. Visiting the rocky beaches, chilly mountains, bustling cities, and rural backroads made it very clear that one cannot assume every part of a country (even if it is small) is the same. Throughout the trip, my peers and I tried to embrace the Dominican carefree perception of life and this made it lot easier
to move pass a few kinks in the itinerary.”


“As I look back on our study abroad trip, I realize that not only did I learn about a country very different from my own, I also learned about myself. The Dominican Republic is a country in which has a deep history which has created great pride amongst its residence. And this became very clear on our first day in Santo Domingo. As we walked around the city, our tour guide spent hours telling us so much about the
country he loved; from Christopher Columbus to the architecture of the buildings in the square, we learned so much about what went into making that capitol.”


“The time that I spent in the Dominican Republic has changed my entire outlook on the world. Before I left, I did not know what to expect. I was nervous about the food and a lot of the things that I would experience. I was even nervous about how the local people would perceive me. I could not have been more surprised than I was. Firstly, I loved the food. I tried everything that was presented to me and I loved it. The things that I was nervous about were some of my favorites (whitewater rafting and
the snorkeling). The best part (and the most surprising to me) was how the people interacted with each other and with me. I have never seen people that are so willing to extend the olive branch to others.
I have a broader global view of the world that will help me relate to others that are different than myself. This study abroad trip was an incredible experience that will affect me in a positive way for a long time to come.”


ways to maintain and protect it, and also projects that are already underway to do the previously mentioned. I saw many greenhouses, soil and dirt, and other things that were eco-friendly.
I got to attend a conference at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources where I heard discussions of how much water different areas have and are using, how that water can be preserved and used, and also how important it is to keep water potable. Visiting the low economic city of La Piedra was one of the most humbling experiences of the whole trip. There were not any paved roads, some families
didn’t have water, some families have to use water out of a jug or may not have water for days. This whole experience is something I will never forget, and I am very grateful I got to do this.”