Getting Settled In
With getting all unpacked and having a general idea of where everything is that we need in the city, it was time to begin the process of registering for classes. The Sunday before classes began, an advisor from the faculty of philosophy and history as well as arts and letters met with each of us individually to discuss the potential classes we would like to take at the university. In order to test out a couple of different options, we are given a 2 week “shopping” period to see what we would like to take in addition to our core course. As classes started, they required some adjustments; some professors being easier to understand than others, but as the week goes on you catch on very quickly. Also the other Cuban students in the class are more than happy to help you out if you need it.
However, with getting settled in, the original infatuation and euphoria of being in a new place eventually dissipates (Which is a good thing). In becoming more acclimated to your surroundings, you begin to experience all aspects of a different society and culture. For instance, Cuba’s infrastructure is obviously very different. Most of the sidewalks are crumbling or broken, many of the buildings are in disrepair, and the air pollution in the city can be pretty bothersome. Also limited internet access is very frustrating. Sometimes hotels charge you different amounts for internet cards, and even if you’re able to buy one, there is no guarantee the Wi-Fi is even functioning. Contacting home is also very expensive, and often times when trying to by an international phone card, they’ve run out. So you can imagine that it could be a little frustrating to get used to.
Although, with these differences, it really changes your view on the world. As Americans, for the most part, we are always connected to the internet, checking social media/emails, or texting. Even if you study abroad anywhere else, communication back home is still relatively easy, and that’s part of the reason I chose to come to Cuba. It forces you out of the mindset of being constantly connected and reliant on technology. Cubans seem to live more in the moment then we do at home. We’re always panicking about the future, where we’ll be or what we’ll be doing. However, the occasional phone call from my mom or email from a friend (thanks Jess) is always uplifting, they are definitely more appreciated.