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An Expat Talks about Living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Rep


Christopher Columbus House in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

One expat retiree in Santo Domingo hasn't exactly found paradise. Having lived there 3 months, he has realized that there is racism among Dominicans, lots of noise and pollution and few job opportunities. He recommends that retirees have at least $3,000 per month for living expense.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Santo Domingo

How long have you lived there?

102 days

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Sign up for a course in speaking Spanish at the Dominican Americano School, located on Antonio de la Maza in the block below Ave Abraham Lincoln. There you will meet Dominicans who are enrolled to learn English, giving you both something in common. Many who are there are willing to tell you about their culture and give you the do's and don'ts as to how best to avoid trouble and where to go socially. Other places are the bigger Malls and supermarkets and the Metro which is the new subway line.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Yes they are diverse. No, they are not as accepting of people who are different. I noticed there is racisim among Dominicans. The Dominicans who are light skinned in complection have this air of aristocrocy about themselves, as it relates to dealing with dark skinned Dominicans. Light skinned Dominicans are perceived to be well off financially and the dark ones are the poor and uneducated people. This is not true, but this is the normal thinking among Dominicans. If you are Anglo/White, you are considered wealthy. If you are American Black or White, that trumps any Dominican in social and economic status.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Main industries are Cell phone companies, mass transit, taxi's, call centers, govenrment offices, supermarkets. Most people find jobs through the newspapers, employment agency, and government. As far as career, the government job is the most common.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Yes! Just like most major cities. People are up early going to work or school. The proiorities in Santo Domingo are ME FIRST!! People here have total disregard for traffic laws and signals. If you are being helped by a customer service person at a bank or store, people will interupt and start talking to the service person as if you are not even there. If you are waiting in line, people will walk right up next to you and jump the line, thinking nothing is wrong with this.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Only come if you are retired, and have at least $3,000.00 USD per month to spend on expenses, and enough reserve cash to return to your country for medical treatment if you need because the medical system here is a total disaster. Also purchase Medi-Vac Insurance to be 100% certain you can be air lifted and repatriated in case of medical emergency. Do not move to this city, if you cannot deal with pollution and noise, rude people, constant traffic jams, crazy drivers. Only move here as a temporary stop in order to find your way into the more peacful interior town of Jarabacoa. If you are not retired, stay away if you are looking for work, unless you want to earn $400.00 USD each month.

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Get a quote for expat health insurance in Dominican Rep from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

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Be prepared to adjust. Be prepared to be frustrated and to want to smack your head into the wall. But also be prepared to find the small joys here!! The people are remarkably friendly and helpful.

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