Study Abroad in Cuba

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Do you march to the beat of your own drum? Want a unique, interesting, and cutting-edge study abroad experience that few others have had? Then Cuba might just be your perfect study abroad destination.

The world is changing as the United States and Cuba inch towards normalizing relations. Visa restrictions have eased along with the decades-long embargo. That makes this the perfect time to make Cuba home while you study overseas.

A vibrant, lively, and culturally rich place, Cuba is the perfect destination to learn Spanish but also to be immersed in a world that seems to be frozen in time. But don’t let the antique cars fool you – Cuba is on the precipice, about to leap forward into a modern world and you can be part of it all by studying abroad in Cuba.

Photo Credit: API Study Abroad

Language & Cultural Immersion Programs

Many study abroad programs do require intensive Spanish language courses to be taken by participants, and they place you in certain classes based on your current level of knowledge. Some programs also have course instruction in Spanish, so be sure to check this if you are not fluent or take a Spanish language course in Cuba.

Many programs offer homestays, which give students a unique opportunity to experience life as it is lived by the locals. This is also a great option since it provides a source of income for Cuban host families. Cultural immersion programs allow students to study politics, economics, art, history, and society. There’s no better way to understand the long, complicated story of Cuba.

Study Abroad / Direct Exchanges

All universities are public making education extremely accessible for Cubans and creating a highly achieving and highly literate society. Many study abroad programs to Cuba are focused on politics (since Cuba is a unique and interesting case study), international relations (because of the infamous relationship between Cuba and other countries), Latin American studies, and Spanish language studies

Havana

Havana is a lively city full of passion, color, and culture. The city’s major school, The University of Havana, is one of the oldest university in the region. Nightlife, concerts, and theater is abundant in this tropical, somewhat dreamlike city.

Though there are wonderful universities in many parts of the country, access to these institutions is rare for study abroad students.

For study abroad students, you'll almost definitely end up in Havana. That’s not to say it is the only city you will see! Be sure to travel the country during your time abroad to experience all the Cuba has to offer.

Visas

Lucky for you, President Obama has recently made it easier for American students to study abroad in Cuba. Cuba study programs need to be approved by the U.S. Treasury Department but are then open to students from all universities, even if the program is through a specific school.

Getting a Visa for Cuba is a more extensive process than for other countries, but the program you go with will usually help you in this step.

For students of other countries, the student visa process will be pretty different. Be sure to check with your embassy or consult you study abroad program provider before departing.

Social life and student culture

As you probably already know, Cuba is a communist country. As such, life is definitely different there from other places you may have lived.

As a student in Cuba, you are given a “carne” or a student identification card, which entitles you to certain deals and discounts for museum entrance, festivals, and more. Be sure to get yours!

Concerts, movies, festivals, and clubs are all extremely popular activities in Cuba and befriending the locals as a study abroad student is welcomed--not only will you get a firsthand look at local life, but they’ll give you all the inside deets on where to go, too!

If you’re into dancing and music, you’ll love the various jazz and salsa clubs this island has to offer. Sports like soccer and baseball are a big part of Cuban culture. In fact, even the constitution mentions sport as an integral part of the citizens’ well being! You will have no trouble finding a pick up game to join, as its popular to play sports on the streets.

Language

Many study abroad programs do require intensive Spanish language courses to be taken by participants, and they place you in certain classes based on your current level of knowledge. Some programs also have course instruction in Spanish, so be sure to check this if you are not fluent or take a Spanish language course in Cuba.

Housing

Many programs offer homestays, which give students a unique opportunity to experience life as it is lived by the locals. This is also a great option since it provides a source of income for Cuban host families. Dorm housing is also a popular option, as is being put up in a local hotel by the study abroad program.

Scholarships

Many scholarship opportunities specifically state that the money cannot be used for studying abroad in Cuba, so definitely check that before filling in any applications. Here are a couple that allow Cuba as a destination:

Showing 25 Programs

Cuba

IFSA/Alliance
We're proudly the first study abroad program to offer a comprehensive academic experience in Cuba! Our excellent on-site supp...

Cuba

Arcadia University Study Abroad
You will live, study and take part in Cuban society, enjoying the country’s special eclectic mix of Latin, European and Ameri...

Cuba

Jakera
Learn Spanish in Old Havana in a vibrant maze of neoclassical buildings and UNESCO World Heritage Site bursting with atmosphe...

Cuba

Jakera
Combining the best of our Learn Spanish, Dance & Culture program with meaningful volunteer placements – conservation and comm...

Cuba

CET Academic Programs
Learn about health policy. Practice Spanish. Witness a changing Cuba. Gain insight into a vastly different approach to health...

Cuba

Arcadia University Study Abroad
Explore the unique way of life in Cuba and the vibrant city of Havana, with its eclectic mix of Latin, European and American...

Cuba

Jakera
We love adventure travel, immersing in other cultures, spending time to understand how things work, enjoying nature and disco...

Cuba

AIFS Study Abroad
Earn 3 credits when you study with AIFS in Havana, Cuba. Live in a tourist-class hotel with daily breakfast plus one addition...

Cuba

AIFS Study Abroad
Earn 3 semester credits studying in tropical Havana, Cuba. Take Intensive Spanish Language and Culture (at one of five levels...

Cuba

AIFS Study Abroad
Earn 3 semester credits studying in tropical Havana, Cuba. Take Intensive Spanish Language and Culture (at one of five levels...

Cuba

University at Albany Study Abroad & Exchanges
The University at Albany offers a unique opportunity to study the history, culture and politics of Cuba, plus intensive Spani...

Cuba

API
Students in the API Cuban and Caribbean Studies Program will study at the University of Havana. Founded in 1728, the Universi...

Cuba

ISA (International Studies Abroad)
The ISA summer program in Havana is offered through one of the leading institutions in the arts, the Universidad de las Artes...

Cuba

USAC
The La Habana program offers an unparalleled opportunity to visit this enchanting island and legendary city to learn about it...

Cuba

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API
Students who study abroad in Santa Clara, Cuba with API on the Integrated Studies Program will be able to take courses with C...