Cuba Study Abroad at Universidad de La Habana
Study Abroad at Universidad de La Habana
Universidad de La Habana (UH) is Cuba's oldest and most prestigious university. UH offers study in 15 faculties, and its academic excellence attracts students from throughout Latin America and around the world. Located next to the heart of Havana's historic district, UH offers a unique study abroad opportunity for the adventurous and flexible student.
What the Universidad de La Habana has to offer
What is the academic structure of the Universidad de La Habana program?
The academic structure of this program consists of the following courses:
Do I have to take a Spanish course if I'm already fluent in Spanish?
Cuba: Culture, Art, and Society - This mandatory program course, from an anthropological perspective, looks at a panorama of Cuban culture and heritage to help students better understand their host communities. It looks at aboriginal Cuban cultures, 18th and 19th century events, and the growth of cultural and scientific societies. It also explores Cuban linguistics, as well as museums showcasing art, ethnology, ethnography and anthropology. It focuses on management of historical and cultural patrimony and tourism, as well as case studies such as the urban centers of Baracoa and Habana Vieja (Old Havana). Cultural values surrounding collections, paintings, recordings, literature, architecture, and film, and well as racial and demographic issues, are explored.
What is the Universidad de la Habana like?
The Universidad de La Habana is Cuba’s most prestigious academic institution and attracts international students from throughout Latin America and around the world. During your semester in Cuba, you may take courses from a variety of faculties, although your enrollment will depend on course availability, student interest and other factors.
What UH courses am I eligible to take?
Students choose three or four electives from the vast course selection at UH. Syllabi may be available on request. Most courses are integrated with Cuban students. Courses may be chosen from any university department, although it will be easiest to find classes in Biology, Humanities and Social Sciences.
UH departments include: Letters, German, French, English, Russian, History, Art history, Psychology, Sociology, Sociocultural studies, Social communication, Journalism, Philosophy—Marxist Leninist, Law, Geography, Tourism, Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Economics, Accounting, Finance, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Food Sciences, Pharmacy, Computer Science, Information Sciences, Physical Engineering, Math and Physics.
Are there any restrictions or additional requirements for courses I may take?
There are no restrictions at this time, though some courses may not be available due to enrollment caps or other factors.
I need to provide course descriptions and/or syllabi to my home university advisor. Where can I find those?
Course descriptions and syllabi are not currently available online from the Universidad de la Habana. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can assist you in obtaining syllabi from certain departments. Please contact your IFSA-Butler program advisor regarding the academic departments and types of courses that may be of interest to you.
How are UH courses different than courses at my home university?
The system of higher education in Cuba is more specialized than the U.S. liberal arts curriculum, which means that Cuban students enter university with some background in the subjects they wish to study. Therefore, local students take most of, if not all, their courses in one faculty and receive a degree in one field. In the U.S. system, students take a little of everything and don’t specialize until a couple of years into their studies.
Additionally, you might notice that your Cuban classmates know each other very well. This is because students enroll in carreras rather than majors. Carreras are similar to majors in the United States but with a more structured program of study and fewer electives. Students from the same carrera enroll in the same courses together during their entire undergraduate career.
How will I register for courses?
While we are sure that your time abroad will be rewarding, you must be aware of some of the challenges inherent in dealing with the Cuban educational system. Our resident director will not only discuss these at orientation, but will also be available to help you with any problems that may arise during the semester.
What if I need to take a required course?
What are the registration conditions?
All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. Students are not allowed to register for on-line, distance education or hybrid courses. See the "Academics" and "Program Fees and Financial Aid" sections in Preparing to Study Abroad for more information.
What do I need to know about exams?
How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
Tutoring and academic advising are available at no additional cost. More information about these services will be available during the IFSA-Butler orientation.
Areas of Study
On the Cuba program, you are able to take university courses in a wide range of subject areas. Following is a sample list of courses that previous IFSA-Butler students have taken in Havana during past semesters. Please keep in mind this is not a complete list. There are many of courses in Havana from which you can choose. To inquire about specific courses, please contact your IFSA-Butler program advisor.
Housing for this program is guaranteed. Students are placed in Casa Paticulares, which are private accommodations with a Cuban family. The concept of a casa particular is similar to a bed and breakfast or room rental. This is common in Cuba, in which private family establishments provide paid lodging, usually on a short-term basis. Rooms are shared doubles with air conditioning, shared bathroom and access to a refrigerator and safety box. Housing is within walking distance from the university.
The housing includes two meals per day, typically breakfast and dinner. Students may purchase an affordable lunch near the university, or prepare a lunch to take from home.
Is housing included in the program fee?
When will I receive my housing assignment?
Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.
Do I have to pay a housing deposit?
Should I bring my own sheets and towels?
Can I arrange my own housing?
Living and Studying in Havana
Dates & Fees
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Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.
Program housing is available only until the date listed as “Program ends” on the calendar.
Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed. In Cuba exams are taken under formal examination conditions, and changes cannot be made for individuals.
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Fall Payment Due: July 1
Spring Payment Due: November 15
Program Fee Bills
Personal Cost Estimates
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These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs.
The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.
Meals: The Cuba program fee includes two meals per day.
Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.
Commuting: Estimates are for transportation between housing and university. Transportation for personal or recreational purposes is not included in the above estimates.
All costs are in U.S. dollars.
To apply to the Universidad de la Habana program, use our easy online application.
Applicants to the UH program must complete additional forms as part of the application process:
Please submit these forms with the remainder of your program application. They can be sent to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail.
If you have already started an application to the UH program, you can check the status of your application using the Student Portal.
Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team
IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in Cuba:
Program Advisor Jennifer McKibben assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Jennifer studied abroad in Costa Rica for a year through an IFSA-Butler program. After completing her undergraduate degree in Spanish at Butler University, she moved to Costa Rica for three years to immerse herself in the culture and pursue a master’s degree in Spanish-English Translation at Universidad Nacional. She is very passionate about helping students have impactful, enriching experiences abroad. Jennifer currently advises students planning to study abroad in Latin America. She can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4264.
Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident director, Michelle Ranieri.
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