For a country that is known for its diversity, many Americans actually know little about the educational systems outside of the United States. For those who live in a rural town such as Presque Isle, this is even truer. Although it may not have a direct effect on our lives, learning about education in other countries helps to better understand and improve our own education in the U.S.
The classroom in Pullen 212 was packed on University Day to hear Raymond Feliciano-Rodriguez give a presentation on his experience with the educational system in Puerto Rico. Feliciano-Rodriguez, a transfer student from Puerto Rico, highlighted many aspects of his education he received in his home country, as well as information on the system itself.
Some key points of his presentation included activities he participated in while attending school in Puerto Rico. Some of these included his field trip to the El Portal del Yungue, a rain forest center in Puerto Rico, and his schools’ celebration of Halloween. “In Puerto Rico, we celebrate Halloween by dressing up as our future career,” Feliciano-Rodriguez said. He jokingly adds, “I always dressed up as a teacher because it was an easy costume. Who would’ve thought I’d be majoring in education later in life?”
Along with details on school celebrations, Feliciano-Rodriguez also provided information on Puerto Rico’s grading system (which is similar to the United States), as well as the different categories Puerto Rican public schools fall under.
Additionally, Feliciano-Rodriguez discussed the educational budget problems Puerto Ricans are currently going through. “In 2013, there were 1,460 public schools and 754 private schools. That number has decreased due to budget cutbacks caused by the financial crisis currently affecting Puerto Rico,” Feliciano-Rodriguez said.
Despite the problems facing the Puerto Rican educational system, Feliciano-Rodriguez asserts that his education provided him with the tools to succeed later in his life. His good-natured and informative presentation gave those attending University Day a chance to learn about education outside the United States. “I really enjoyed his slides on how his school celebrates holidays, especially Puerto Rican Day,” Sabrina Adcock, a student at UMPI, said. “I think it’s important for us, especially coming from a small, less diverse area, to learn about other cultures because it gives us another way to look at things.”