Before I arrived in Havana, I thought I knew Cuba. I had spent a great deal of time studying the country’s history, its tenuous relationship with the United States, and I did my best to envision what I thought it would be like when I got to the Capital city. Very quickly, I was shocked by how much I didn’t know about this extraordinary place. It’s truly one of the world’s best kept secrets, for Americans at least.
After having traveled to Cuba, I am so optimistic about the future of the island. You can sense that the nation is on the verge of great things. I am so fortunate that I found this unique program when I did. One of its best aspects is the complete immersion into the culture that was an integral part of the Fellowship. Although I was only able to experience Cuba for a short time, I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime here thanks to the exceptional program staff. We went to so many great places that only the locals know about. Morning classes were supplemented by afternoon visits to some of Havana’s most famous historical sites. Everyone I encountered was so welcoming and vibrant, and that includes the group of students that I was with. Although our areas of study varied greatly, our shared love for Cuba made the program that much better.
There simply isn’t a better way to be introduced to this incredible nation. The intricate history of the island and the infinite idiosyncrasies of its people that I was able to learn about gave me an immense sense of empowerment for future travel abroad. The people-to-people exchanges I had every day were my favorite part of the trip, and my Spanish is so much more advanced thanks to the constant interaction. I’m happy to say that my experience in Cuba completely exceeded my highest expectations! I will definitely be returning in the future.