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:

Study Abroad Programs in Cuba

Displaying 1 - 15 of 20 programs
The Cuba Fellowship
The Cuba Fellowship Study Abroad Program
Cuba
9.64 •11 reviews

The Cuba Fellowship is the best study abroad program for students to...

Class Afloat
Class Afloat - Travel and Study at Sea
Multiple Countries
9.75 •4 reviews

Founded in 1984, Class Afloat - West Island College International is...

University at Albany Education Abroad
History, Politics, and Culture of Cuba
Cuba
9.25 •4 reviews

The University at Albany offers a unique opportunity to study the...

Augsburg University's Center for Global Education and Experience
Peace, Justice, and Community Engagement
Multiple Countries
10 •5 reviews

Travel to both Guatemala and Costa Rica on this experiential program...

Seamester
Seamester: Caribbean Basin Voyage - 90 Days
Multiple Countries
9.5 •6 reviews

This is the trip for the adventurer who's looking for more - a full...

Firesoul Media
Documentary Film Short Course at EICTV Cuba
Cuba
10 •1 review

“Tell Me a Story ”: A three or four week intensive, hands-on...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Nicaragua & Cuba: Youth, Literacy & Media
Multiple Countries
9.67 •6 reviews

Explore Nicaragua a generation after the revolution and investigate...

USAC
Cuba: La Habana - Cuban History, Society, Politics, Culture
Cuba
9.71 •7 reviews

The La Habana program offers an unparalleled opportunity to visit this...

Arcadia Abroad
Arcadia University- University of Havana Summer
Cuba
9.33 •3 reviews

This program brings you an exceptional educational and life experience...

API
API Study Abroad in Havana, Cuba
Cuba
10 •1 review

The capital and largest city of the island nation of Cuba. The city...

Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)
IFSA: Universidad de la Habana Partnership
Cuba
9 •3 reviews

We're proudly the first study abroad program to offer a comprehensive...

Spanish Studies Abroad
Spanish Studies Abroad: Study in Havana, Cuba
Cuba
8 •2 reviews

Immerse yourself in the beauty, culture, and history of Havana, Cuba...

The New School
International Field Studies Program Across the Globe
Multiple Countries
7 •1 review

Since its inception in 2002, hundreds of students have participated in...

Sustainable Summer
Sustainable Summer: High School Summer Abroad in Cuba
Cuba

Our Cuba program is ideal for students with a strong interest in...

BestSemester
Latin American Studies Program
Cuba

Arriving in Costa Rica, you sense there's a bigger picture than just...

What People Are Saying

Choosing to sail the Caribbean on SY Ocean Star for my study abroad is by far the most important decision I have made thus far in my academic career. While the classes on board fun and educational the...

Scuba

This past year has been incredible. There are no words to accurately describe nine months spent at sea, let alone in a short review. Just trust that every moment is breathtaking. From painstakingly...

Gulden Leeuw in Samana

I loved my experience in Cuba! From the start, IFSA is incredible. They process all the visa paperwork, etc. And, they prepare you with weekly newsletters with great reading materials etc. Once you...

Mogotes

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