This archived article was written by: Jonathan Fox
USU Eastern got a taste from the Caribbean as a group of nearly sixty students came from the Dominican Republic this past summer. While the students already spoke English with varying degrees of fluency, they were all here to improve their English skills plus experience living and viewing the beauty of Southern Eastern Utah.
“The idea was is that they come here and be completely surrounded by the language and the culture,” says Kimberly Pratt, coordinator of Global Academy. “Global Academy is an English immersion program.”
The program has been in operation since 2010 but this was the first year it has been implemented in Price, USU Eastern.
The students were here because they were the brightest of their peers. They were selected from hundreds of applicants to receive a scholarship and come to America to have the experience of their lives.
At first, many of the students were skeptical of spending their summer in a small town, but as it has a way of doing, Price grew on them.
“It’s great to be here. Everyone is so nice and everything is so organized” says Arturo Mendez, one of the students in a quote from the Sun Advocate.
But just because they were staying on the Price campus, doesn’t mean they didn’t get to experience other aspects of Utah. During the course of the summer, students chose two of three academic tracks. These tracks consisted of the history of Utah, paleontology, and the study of American films. As part of the tracks, students had the opportunity to travel all over Utah on day trips.
For the students in the film academic track, Kanab, also known as Little Hollywood was a favorite destination.
“They went to Little Hollywood and there was actually a little show and a meal was provided for them.” Says Pratt, “and then they were so close to the Grand Canyon they decided to just keep going and see that too.”
Other favorite destinations included the Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City, and of course, the Gateway Mall where students had the opportunity to shop, something they all enjoyed doing.
The academic tracks provided a way that the students could see a bit of what was beyond Price, have some fun, and all the while learn about the history and culture of this foreign place called Utah.
Besides the tracks, students frequently had outings to see other significant places in Utah. The Arches National Park was one such outing. Students hiked to Delicate Arch as well as several other main attractions at the park. They took many pictures of the red rock to show their friends and families back home. They visited during the hottest part of the summer, so besides the beauty of the area, many will remember how it was a uncomfortably a dry, hot heat.
One student commented that it although his country is beautiful, it is a different kind of beauty because it is so wet there. Utah, he noted it is a different kind of beauty. It is a dry beauty.
Different but still beautiful. That seemed to be what many students took back with them from their stay in Utah. They were glad to be going home to see their families once again, but all agreed that Utah now holds a special place in their hearts.