More Jamaicans to secure scholarships to study in Cuba Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

As of September, more Jamaicans will benefit under the Jamaica-Cuba Bilateral Medical Scholarship Programme.

The Cuban Government is offering additional scholarships for Jamaican students to study in various fields, including nursing, medicine and engineering.

Each year, the Cuban government invites applications from persons wishing to pursue undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

The programme is administered by the Cuban Embassy in Jamaica in conjunction with the Scholarship Unit of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and other entities.

Cuba’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Fermin Gabriel Quiñones Sánchez, told JIS News that the Cuban Government proposed an expansion in their offer of scholarships at the eighth CARICOM (Caribbean Community)-Cuba Summit in Barbados in December 2022.

At the Summit, he said Cuba made a commitment to increase the number of scholarships that are provided to each Caribbean country.

“In the past, we were offering around six to seven scholarships per year, and now we have increased that number up to 21 for 2024,” he said.

Sánchez said the scholarship programme is designed for students who would return to serve the country.

 “It is not on a first-come-first-serve basis, but it is for people from different communities around the country; people who will come back to Jamaica to serve the Jamaican people,” he said, noting that collaboration takes place to identify the best students for the programme.

Sánchez said the Cuban Embassy is planning a special ceremony to present this year’s recipients.

“We are looking at the best moment….  We are thinking of April to organise some gathering here to officially announce the scholarship awardees. Of course, they have to sign some papers. They have to sign a compromise paper (agreement) about their studies in Cuba,” he said.

Additionally, he said Cuba-trained Jamaican doctors and other Cuban graduates will be invited to the ceremony to share their experiences with the new students.

He explained that students will learn “what to do and what not to do, what they need to do well in Cuba to survive”.

He further said, “You have to speak Spanish. You have to go to the market by yourself. There is no Mom. There is no Dad. There is no family, and you need to look at the new family, which is the Cuban family,” he advised, noting that many Jamaicans return home with a new culture that was acquired while studying in Cuba.

“Many Jamaicans return with the concept of solidarity, which is in Cuba, the concept of friendship, the concept of family that we have. And it is something that we are very proud to share with our friends, because the spreading of solidarity is important,” the ambassador said.

He said the Cuban government is committed to supporting the education programme.

Under the full scholarship, tuition, accommodation, meals, clothing allowance, study materials and medical care are covered by Cuba.

“The Cuban Government has a commitment to support Caribbean people in the education field, and that’s why we will continue promoting this,” the ambassador said.

Apart from being able to explore the culture and history of Cuba, he said students will have the opportunity to learn another language, pointing out that the first year of their courses is dedicated to the study of the Spanish language.

“They know that going to study in Cuba is not like going to study in any other place, but it is an opportunity to speak a new language. They will be coming back to Jamaica with a career, and with a new language,” he added.

Apart from the scholarship, the ambassador said persons can also study in Cuban universities through self-financed programmes.

“Every year we receive under that programme around 100 Jamaican students who come here (Cuban Embassy) for foreign documentation, and they go to study in our universities,” he said.