“If at first you don’t succeed then try, try again” This simple quote could have easily been modeled after Emanuel Cuevas’ journey to get to IMG_9006college. After graduating high school in his home country of the Dominican Republic, Emanuel decided that he wanted to learn English in order to better his chances of getting a good job. It wasn’t until his friend told him about a government funded scholarship, that he decided that he needed to go to a university in the United States. Confident in his English abilities, Emanuel applied. Unfortunately he soon found out his confidence was misplaced and that he had been denied the scholarship. Undeterred, Emanuel vowed to improve his English. Over the next year he continued his English lessons, enrolled in a Dominican College, and even taught an English class. This hard work payed off and Emanuel received the scholarship he had been denied the following year. He came to MSU in 2013 and began to work on receiving his BA in Hospitality Business.

When he’s not studying or going to class Emanuel loves to compete in anything he can. He’s an avid weight lifter and can usually be found at his favorite place, the gym, or playing a sport. His two favorite sports to play are baseball, which is extremely popular in Santo Domingo, and basketball. In fact, Emanuel enjoys baseball so much that he plans on joining the MSU Club baseball team and hopes it will help him on his way towards achieving his dream of playing in the MLB.

After he gets done with his workout, Emanuel refuels with one of his two favorite dishes. One being a mix of rice, peas, fish, avocado and spices and the other being a dish named the Dominican Flag, which consists of white rice, red beans and chicken. Each part of the meal is supposed to represent a color of the flag, the rice represents white, the beans are red and the chicken is the blue. While he isn’t a bad cook, Emanuel says that his mother makes the best food.

Since leaving his home town of Santo Domingo, known for its vibrant nightlife, and coming to Michigan State, Emanuel has noticed quite a few changes in the two cultures. The biggest differences he says are the way people drive here, the cleanliness of MSU and how punctual everyone here is with time. There is even a joke about the how punctual Americans are back in the Dominican Republic when people are meeting at a specific time. Dominicans always ask whether they’re meeting on Dominican time or American time. But be careful, if you ask someone to meet you at a specific time and they say they’ll be there in Dominican time, then expect them to be 20-30 minutes late!

Emanuel’s advice to other students is that they should find their passion and follow it. He is obviously following his own advice, and will undoubtedly be very successful in whatever he does.

Major: Hospitality Business

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Favorite food from home: Dominican Flag (Chicken, Red Beans, Rice)

Plans after graduation: Return to Dominican Republic to work at a resort/ MLB

Favorite place in East Lansing: IM West

When he’s not studying: Working out, playing baseball or basketball, watching debates

Favorite place in Dominican Republic: His home with his mother and siblings

Advice for other international students: Find your passion and follow it!

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Interviewed and written by Josh Rothermel. Josh is a senior studying International Relations and is the Sponsored Student Program intern at OISS. He enjoys getting to hear all the international students’ unique stories and loves to play rugby in his spare time. Josh graduates this spring and hopes to move to New York City after graduation.