Carpe Diem Education | Cuba Semester

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Carpe Diem Education.

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About Program

Travel back in time and tap into the vibrant charm of a previously “forbidden country.” Dance in the music-filled streets of Santiago. Practice your Spanish at the University of Havana. Learn about sustainable agriculture and farming in vibrant western Cuba. Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey through Cuba and make up your own mind about this complex and dynamic country that’s on the verge of transformation.

Experiential Education: Take drumming and dance classes in Santiago de Cuba; one of the premier locations to learn about Afro-Cuban culture and religions.

Community: Get your hands dirty while you work side-by-side with Cuban farmers and learn about sustainable agriculture.

Intercultural Exchange: Study Spanish at the University of Havana and volunteer with a language exchange program mentoring Cuban students.

Note: This is a 3-month long semester program.

Now Accepting Applications for Summer 2021, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022!

We are currently accepting applications for our Summer programs in Costa Rica, Hawaii and Ecuador. Applications also open for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022! Very limited space is available.

Program Reviews

9.5 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
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  • Housing 7.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 7.5
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Carpe Diem Cuba

My daughter went on the Carpe Diem Cuba trip in the Spring of 2017. It was clearly a wonderful experience for her. There were 10 students on the trip with two overseas educators. The educators were very supportive and struck a good balance betweeen giving the students independence, responsibility and structure. The range of experiences they had was amazing - trekking, Spanish classes, dancing and music lessons, caving, snorkeling, service learning on farms and in classrooms. They met a huge variety of interesting people, from the Cuban families who ran the "casas" they stayed in to students at the dance school they studied at to a Santeria priest who made a prediction about each of their futures. My daughter told me that the trip was as much about personal development as it was about traveling and experiencing another culture, and that the personal development was facilitated by both the educators and the other students on the trip. The students and educators became very close over the course of the three month trip. I was surprised by how little friction there seems to have been among them given how much time they spent together, often in close quarters, and I suspect the skill of the educators in building a positive group dynamic played a significant role. The staff at Carpe Diem are great and I never felt as if the group didn't have the support it needed, despite the fact that it is still not trivial to communicate and organize travel in Cuba.

My daughter says she is extremely glad she did the trip and that she would strongly recommend Carpe Diem - and the Cuba Chango trip in particular - to anyone even remotely considering doing a gap program. (She plans to write her own review as well.) From a parent's perspective, I would definitely second her strongly positive recommendation. This was clearly an important learning and growing experience for her and something she will be able to draw on for the rest of her life. You will get to follow your child's adventures on the Carpe Diem blog - and by occasional email or chat messages - but as there is limited wifi access your child will also be unplugged for three months, something that my daughter confessed was another good part of the experience.

Carpe Diem is a wonderful organization!

1 person found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

First of Chango

I had no idea what to expect from this program. I didn't have any specifics that I needed to get out of this trip, or was trying to answer any questions of myself that I wasn't capable of answering. I just wanted to do something totally new that other kids my age were missing out on. And what is more new and have more Americans missing out on it than Cuba? This program put me in a group of 13 other strangers and made me live and travel the beautiful island of Cuba, and with each new adventure and each new day I became closer and closer to my group members and within 3 weeks was certain that I was in for a heart retching goodbye after 3 months.
With 14 different people all in Cuba for different reasons, you will hear a lot of conflicting beliefs of what this program does for an individual. And all I can share with you is my view of what Carpe Diem has done for me. If you are interested in taking a gap year because you are nervous for college and have no idea what you want to do with your life, and you hope that this will answer all your doubtful questions of your life, it won't. This program didn't slap me in the face with an answer of what I need to go study in college, that's not what this program does and I feel like that is a commonly seen misconception. What this program does is give you all the answers to questions you don't even have yet. Carpe Diem doesn't help prepare you for college, it helps you prepare for life. And I challenge all of you to question what is more important to you.
Carpe Diem has made me a more capable human being that is cultured and caring and now struggles with being in the same place for extended periods of time because all I want to do is travel. My best advise is that if you do not know what you want to do at this stage in your life, pick Carpe Diem and answer all of the questions that you never knew you had.

What would you improve about this program?
The 0 tolerance of drinking is very inhibiting for individuals trying to dive into the culture and socialize, especially in countries like Cuba where drinking is part of their culture. I found that more times than not that that rule was withholding us from joining in cultural experiences with friends rather than keeping us safe. I believe if this program is truly about educating young people into becoming experienced work travelers, that we should be treated as world travelers and partake in all forms socializing and celebrating.
2 people found this review helpful.

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