The recent history of Cuba- since the mid twentieth century to present day, makes this Caribbean island a unique place in the world. Cuba´s difficult relationship with the U.S. after the Castro revolution has not interfered with the island´s welcoming, open and relaxed attitude towards any visitors, more so Americans. Cuba is one of the safest, kindest countries and its climate and culture, music and traditions bring thousands of visitors yearly.
Yet it is the Cuban soul what makes the island irresistible. Students will be immersed in a culture that is different and exciting. While students will have to navigate certain challenges due to the difficult economic situation (internet access not always readily available, more traditional education system), the idiosyncrasies of Cubans, their openness and welcoming attitude towards foreigners and rich social life make this experience incomparable to any other.
Dr Elena Moreno, Arcadia Resident Director in Havana, remarked on the friendly approach of Cubans, saying this convivial culture will survive and thrive, whatever new technological developments may come as the country's relations with the U.S. change.
She commented: "Cubans will always need to talk to each other with or without technology. It is in "our" culture. You do not need to talk to everybody you run into on the street, but Cubans do. It would be rude not to stop with everybody you know to ask how they are doing. Sometimes I am so amused by having to stop five times in one block."
As former participants in the program have put it in words: “Cuba makes you appreciate all the things you have, makes you re-evaluate who you are as an American and as a citizen of the world and makes you re-assess your life objectives and goals.”
By going to Cuba, a fire inside me to try and make a difference was sparked. As Americans, we can very easily do that just by interacting with [Cubans]… Opening up the world that they are so isolated from makes a difference and it gives them hope. You really create relationships that are so beautiful. ”
Georgetown University Student, University of Havana
Dr. Elena Moreno Angulo, Arcadia Resident Director, Cuba
Based in Havana, Elena co-ordinates our student services support, academic guidance and co-curricular learning activities in Cuba.