Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Leaving for Cuba

After a long summer, I will finally be leaving for Cuba on Saturday. When people find out that I will be studying abroad in Cuba, they ask me why, out of all the countries I could have chosen to study abroad in, did I choose there? My answer to them is simple: I think Cuba is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, and fortunately, study abroad is one of the few ways that I am able to experience the country as an American.

Located just 90 miles from my home state of Florida, Cuba has been the only country run by a communist government in the Western Hemisphere and has operated without diplomatic or economic relations with the U.S. for more than 50 years. While the average Cuban lives off only $240 a year, the country has great education programs, world-class arts, and a mean life expectancy of almost 80 years. And although Cuba is often described as “frozen in time,” many aspects of the country have been changing. For example, Cuba has become a popular tourist destination, recently allowed farmers to sell some of their surplus that was previously collected by the state, and made it easier for citizens to travel abroad.

I am excited to have this opportunity to live and study in Cuba. I posted a list below that I hope to add more to and complete over the next four months because who knows the next time I will be able to return to Cuba.

  • Visit the Museum of the Revolution and the National Fine Arts Museum
  • Walk the colonial streets of the city Trinidad
  • Attend the Festival of New Latin American Cinema
  • Visit a rum distillery
  • See Hemingway’s Cuban home
  • Take local dance classes
  • Go to baseball games
  • See live jazz in Havana’s clubs
  • Visit a tobacco plantation and cigar factory
  • Travel through the Valle de Viñales
  • See a bee hummingbird, the world’s smallest hummingbird that is only found in Cuba
  • Visit the monumental Columbus Cemetery
  • Walk through the Castillo de Moro outside of Havana
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