TO THE EDITOR:
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.