|Florida A&M University (FAMU) joins the growing number of colleges and universities encouraging students to pursue an international experience during their matriculation. Recognizing that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States and responding to the rapid growth of Hispanic populations within American communities, Florida A&M University implemented the study abroad program in the Dominican Republic. It offers students the opportunity to sharpen beginner Spanish language skills or to develop greater proficiency in advanced language skills while living in a Spanish-speaking country. Courses, with instruction given in English, are taught at the St. Thomas Aquinas Campus of Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) in Santo Domingo. Students also study Caribbean-Dominican culture and history.|
|To assist students throughout the study abroad semester, the FAMU Study Abroad Center provides academic and personal support services. The office, housed on PUCMM's campus, offers computer services and arranges several recreational excursions for students. The center coordinator assigns and monitors lodging arrangements for students with selected Dominican families.|
|The Dominican Republic occupies two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Caribbean Sea. Sharing the island with the country of Haiti, it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the North and the warm waters of the Caribbean to the South. It is a land of extremes, from the rugged mountainous ranges to steep valleys and lowland plains to the beautiful coastal areas. [See the Encarta Encyclopedia Article.]|
|Of the country's three major metropolitan areas, the largest is the capital city, Santo Domingo, on the southern coast. It is the second largest city in the Caribbean with a population of about 2.4 million. As the oldest city in the New World, it is the cultural center of the country with its historical attractions dating back to the fifteenth and sixteenth century, including national museums and art galleries. Students use the national museums and government offices to complete research projects related to topics covered in the classroom. Excursions to historical sites and areas outside of Santo Domingo introduce them to varied aspects of the Dominican culture.|
The purpose of the program is to provide American students with an enriching undergraduate education which responds to the growing bilingual needs in many communities within the United States. The interdisciplinary curriculum supports most major fields of study or career goals that demand knowledge of Spanish or other Caribbean cultures. The academic program was developed by PUCMM and FAMU faculty to insure that it adheres to U.S. academic standards.