Francisco Santos says that compared to the Dominican Republic, Logan, Utah, is quiet. “In my home country there is music playing on every street corner,” Francisco said. “Here, everything is just quieter.”
The quiet is just one of a number of cultural differences faced by Francisco and a group of some 100 students who come each year from the Dominican Republic to USU on scholarships that are fully funded by their government.
USU started developing a relationship with the Dominican Republic in the 1980s, launching a variety of projects and research. This affiliation has grown into a yearly tradition of mixing cultures by sending around 100 of the best Dominican students to USU.
The program allows underserved, top students to study abroad. The students must meet all requirements of the country’s ministry of higher education, and then the recommendations are sent to USU, where the final admittance decision is made.
Every year the Dominican Republic students celebrate their national independence at a USU event called Areito. The students host a native dinner and cultural presentations. That gives them a chance to share where they came from and to highlight some of the cultural differences between home and their new home-away-from-home.