Spanish Studies Program | Havana, Cuba

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Spanish Studies Program

PROGRAM INFORMATION

  • Fall or Spring Terms
  • Classes scheduled Monday through Thursday
  • Average class size: 10
  • Prerequisite: successful completion of one semester of intermediate college level Spanish or the equivalent
  • Class standing junior or senior during program
  • Participants must be at least 20 years of age at time of the program
  • 3.0 GPA in Spanish coursework required
  • 13 - 16 credits per semester

COURSES

All courses are taught by Cuban university professors with extensive experience in teaching American students.

STUDY TRIPS AND CULTURAL VISITS

All-inclusive program-sponsored excursions to places such as Old Havana, the Museum of the Revolution, Farmers' Markets, grassroots community centers, jazz, salsa and hip-hop concerts, Cienfuegos province, the colonial city of Trinidad, and more!

ACCOMODATIONS

While in Havana, participants in our program will reside with local families in a homestay option unique to our program.

 

More program information coming soon.

Cultural Info

Havana (La Habana)

Population: 2.14 million

Currencies: Cuban peso and convertible peso (CUC)

Famous for: The Malecón boardwalk, Colonial architecture, baseball, ballet

Choteo: A distinctly Cuban attitude

This attitude of Cubans is one of the most remarkable features that distinguishes them most markedly from Americans. It is a positive attitude, a defiant resistance to the despair and adversity that permeate their lives. How do Cubans express their “choteo?” By sharing stories (often very humorous!), telling jokes, playing or listening to music, or complimenting a beautiful woman. A Cuban writer said it best when he wrote, “En esas levedades, a veces sanas, otras premeditadas, el cubano desarrolla una resistencia que le permite encontrar luz donde todo parece apagado.” This best captures the Cuban choteo: to find light where there is total darkness. Perhaps the biggest lesson that American students can learn when they go to Cuba is one regarding perspective of life.

 The Weather and How to Dress in Cuba

Comfortable is the word that best describes the climate and dress in Cuba. June will be very hot (upper 80s and 90s) with high levels of humidity.  Breezes blow in Havana throughout the year, especially along the waterfront Malecón, and the rainy season (May – October) tapers off as winter approaches. Always remember that the sun can be quite intense and come prepared for that probability.

 Clothing is casual for going to classes at the university.  Lightweight semi-dressy or dressy clothes are appropriate for an evening out at a special restaurant or a nightclub. Rain gear should be lightweight and comfortable to use in the hot weather

Traditional Cuban Dishes

Breakfast (Desayuno): Breakfast is typically a small amount of strong coffee with hot milk, bread, fresh fruit, and eggs

 Lunch (Almuerzo): Your class schedule will determine your lunch schedule. Depending on your schedule you may wish to buy your lunch in one of the modestly priced cafetería snack stands near the university or to eat at a paladar or other restaurant.

Dinner (Cena or Comida): Dinner is served at 6:30 pm and typically consists of a soup or small salad, followed by rice and beef, chicken, pork or fish in a salsa criolla, that is, a typical Cuban sauce, and is accompanied by a beverage of your choice. Dessert and coffee are also offered. Cuban food is not spicy, but mildly flavored.

 Note to Vegetarians and Vegans

Meals in Cuba can be repetitive with lots of pork and rice, and very few vegetables.  We recommend that all our students be careful about their health, but vegetarians and vegans especially should make sure they are getting enough food and protein.  We suggest bringing multi-vitamins with you, as well as granola or power bars, peanut butter or other supplementary snacks.

Some vegetarian restaurants in Havana are:

  • Biki Vegetarian Restaurant (corner of Infanta and San Larazo)
  • Restaurant Vegetariano Carmelo (Calzada between Calles C and D)
  • Restaurante El Bambu (Jardin Botanico)

Cuban Social Life

Aside from the considerable entertainment of just walking around and watching people in this safe city, there is much popular music.  The cafes and restaurants in areas popular with visitors all seem to have groups of guitar, bongo and flute players drifting in and out. 

Many young people get together at neighborhood meeting places to play dominoes in the daytime and to dance salsa and rumbas in the evening. In addition, there are several popular salsa dance halls and discos in Havana, with entrance prices from 5-20 CUC.  Dancing is something that moves all Cubans and they love to have you join in!