EAST STROUDSBURG — For the first time, a university in the Poconos is opening a study abroad program in Cuba.
Kaori White is a freshman at East Stroudsburg University. She’s learning more about an opportunity that would bring her one step closer to connecting with her ancestors.
The step would bring her to Cuba, where several other ESU students are scheduled to travel to this spring.
“My great-grandparents were from there. My family is from there, but I’ve never been out of the country before, so I think it’s really good students can do this,” said White.
For the first time, the university is offering students the opportunity to study abroad in Cuba in May.
The university held an informational session for students on campus.
ESU students and professors will learn about Cuban culture both inside and outside of the classroom.
“You’ve got tour guides. You get to go to schools, factories. You get to go to hospitals, so that is the kind of program we wanted for ESU,” said Nancy Vanvarsdale, ESU English Professor.
People who are going on the trip tell us now is the time to go and experience the Cuban culture that they didn’t have access to before.
“It’s our neighbor to Florida, and we’ve had such tense history with Cuba. I think the U.S. is poised to change its relationship with Cuba, and we want our students to see that happen,” said Vanvarsdale.
It does come at a time when the U.S. is opening up travel to Cuba and a lot more.
Senior Samantha Zarger says she has taken several semesters of Spanish and wants to put her knowledge of the language to use.
“We’ve never been able to go there before, and it will give me a chance to really use the language and be comfortable using it in a place that uses it all the time,” said Samantha Zarger, ESU Senior.
Students are responsible for most traveling fees, but there are some ways to get financial help.
The trip offer is also open to the public.
For more information on this program, click here.
Carmella Mataloni, wnep.com
January 31, 2017