Moenge dancers in Paramaribo, Suriname. Photo via Flickr by Christopher Cozier.

YES Students

All students from Suriname are Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program scholarship winners. Click here to learn more about the YES Program.

Country Information

Surinamers and the Suriname culture are a blend of influences. This South American country is heavily influenced by African, Dutch, AmerIndian, Asian, and Jewish cultures, a testament of the country's colonial history. Today, the people and culture have adapted and created an amazing hybrid culture that is all their own.

Lifestyle and Family

Surinamese are very proud of their diverse culture, and ethnic conflict is rare. Groups mix freely, and sharing is a deeply held cultural value. Education is seen as a high achievement.

Common-law marriages are very common, and many women are single mothers.

Teen Life and Sports

Like teens everywhere, the Surinamese like to relax. When the weather is nice, you can find teens either on the beach or with some friends at a river. Music and dance is also very important to the Suriname culture. There are music festivals all during the fall and winter, and soccer is a popular sport.


A Surinamer’s diet is greatly influence by Europe, Asia, and Africa. The breakfasts are light, consisting of bread with some sort of spread, such as jam or butter. Lunch is a heavy meal of rice and a sauce, which could be a meat or vegetable sauce. To finish off the day a meal of meat or fish is served with tea or milk.

Language and Religion

Dutch is the nation’s official language. During informal conversations, however, Surinamese tend to speak in Sranan Tongo, a Creole language. Most Surinamese are Christian, at 47 percent. The rest of the population practices Hinduism or an indigenous religion.

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