The Daily Tar Heel
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Having studied in Havana in 2006, I was truly disappointed to hear that UNC’s Cuba program had been canceled this year. I do not deny the last-minute complications that made cancellation of the program necessary.

However, I firmly believe that the opportunity to study in Cuba would have been preserved had the study abroad office been responsive to the feedback of former program participants.

Since before I participated in 2006, students have asked for classes to be taught in Spanish.

I have known participating students in every year since 2006, and there is always a correlation between Spanish ability and the value students take from the program.

In the year after I participated, a number of high-achieving students were denied acceptance into the program, including one Spanish-speaker on full scholarship at UNC.

I know other Spanish-speaking friends who declined to apply for the program because it had no language requirement.

If applications to the program declined last year, I believe this has everything to do with the complaints of past participants regarding study abroad.
I count myself among those people.

In particular, the attitude of the Study Abroad Director toward those of us in Havana was perhaps the second greatest complaint regarding the program.

Another problem was the lack of language immersion, which we all expressed openly.

Many smaller U.S. universities have direct-enrollment programs in Havana. Study abroad could have implemented this change years ago and avoided the abrupt cancellation of the program this year. I appreciate the opportunity UNC provided me in 2006, but regret that more students will not have this chance.

Matt Craig
Class of ’08

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