Fargo man first in ND to get medical degree in Cuba


Born and raised within the typically frozen tundra of Fargo, Lubka took on tropical warmth when he enrolled in medical faculty in Havana, Cuba, in 2010.

Seven years later, he is earned his diploma and is again house, making use of for a residency.

Lubka, 34, is the primary North Dakotan to get a medical diploma from the Communist Caribbean island nation.

His class of 600 included Africans, Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders. Solely 30 college students have been from america.

“It was sort of troublesome to not stick on the market,” Lubka stated.

He discovered concerning the alternative in Cuba from his late father, Lewis Lubka, a retired professor, World Struggle II veteran and longtime human rights activist.

The Latin American Faculty of Drugs, or ELAM, gives full scholarships to individuals from low-revenue areas of Africa, Asia and the Americas, together with the U.S.

Lubka could not cross on the prospect of a free schooling.

“I did not need to should borrow a half million dollars to go to medical faculty,” he stated.

In trade, ELAM graduates pledge to follow drugs in poor or underserved communities, one thing Lubka absolutely intends to do.

Spanish solely

The most important problem of medical faculty in Cuba is that each one programs are taught in Spanish.

Lubka took español at Fargo South Excessive Faculty and North Dakota State College, however wasn’t fluent.

For the primary yr in Havana, he targeted on constructing that fluency.

Regardless that the medical faculty instruction and exams have been in Spanish, Lubka discovered himself learning virtually solely in English.

“Then when quizzed or requested questions in school, I might sort of translate on the spot,” he stated.

As a part of his full scholarship, Lubka acquired free housing, clothes and meals.

Dwelling quarters have been meager and crowded, however not uncomfortable. Lubka and his fellow college students have been capable of develop their very own greens and herbs to enliven a few of their meals.

Sometimes, that they had free time to discover Cuba’s capital metropolis of Havana, well-known for its Spanish colonial structure and previous-time American automobiles—a product of the U.S. commerce embargo in impact since 1960.

Lubka needs to see normalized relations with Cuba, and open commerce and journey.

“Cuba is a pleasant place. It is a enjoyable place to go go to,” he stated.

‘A fantastic schooling’

Among the many positives of receiving a medical diploma in Cuba, Lubka counts studying Spanish and the 4 years of medical rotations completed as an alternative of the standard two years.

He stated he additionally acquired extra palms-on work there, aiding in surgical procedures, for instance, than he may…



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