Cuba is education focused. As a result, its people are exceptionally receptive to educational groups. People-to-people trips allow you to engage in open discussion with the Cuban people, while studying an array of academic foci. In addition to Cuba’s vibrant culture & complex history, students can study a variety of subjects ranging from Political Science to the Arts.
1. Healthcare & Psychology
Cuba boasts the third highest doctor-patient ratio worldwide. It’s home to one of the largest medical institutions in the world – Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) – attracting physicians & psychologists from more than 100 countries! And, their advanced biotechnology industry has also helped them emerge as a worldwide leader in cancer treatment through the development of the Cimavax vaccine. This immunotherapy treatment utilizes the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.
In addition to providing free physical healthcare to their citizens, there is also a strong emphasis on mental health. Treatment of the patients’ mental well being is incorporated into nearly every medical service, from prenatal to elderly care.
Faculty-led groups interact with local physicians & psychologists at medical facilities around the country. Through these meetings, students learn about the challenges, advantages & breakthroughs within Cuba’s universal healthcare system.
2. History & Political Science
Cuba is the ideal destination to learn about historical & political events from a brand-new perspective. Explore the evolution of Cuban history, from the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the country’s developing relations with the U.S.
Faculty-led groups visit sites integral to the Spanish-American War & Cubans’ fight for independence. Interact with citizens & soldiers to hear first-hand accounts about the Cuban Revolution & life in Cuba today. Speak with government officials to get their perspective on the challenges & advantages of a socialist society.
Conclude with modern-day Cuba, which will likely evolve rapidly due to the change in U.S. relations. Your students will see history unfold before their eyes & witness a country, frozen in time … for now.
3. Spanish Language Immersion
Despite many changes in political power, Cuba remains deeply influenced by its Spanish roots. Obviously, any time you travel to a Spanish-speaking country, there are opportunities to practice your language skills when riding in taxi cabs or ordering dinner at a local restaurant. But, with the current focus on people-to-people travel, Cuba is specifically focused on cultural exchanges. This presents the opportunity for a truly immersive program in which students can discuss a wide variety of topics with local citizens.
Cuba spends nearly 13% of its total GDP on public education – the highest percentage in the world. Before the Revolution, close to 60% of the Cuban population was illiterate. But after Che Guevera’s educational initiative was put into place, Cuba’s literacy rate skyrocketed. Today, 99.8% of the population can read & write.
Since education is highly regarded in Cuba, faculty-led groups studying education will be warmly welcomed. Cuban faculty & students are happy to share their experiences with the robust public-school curriculum. The curriculum extends beyond typical academics into technical, social & life skills training. And, instructors incorporate a variety of teaching techniques. For example, many use music to teach their students new material & help them learn about Cuba’s history. Witness this first-hand by visiting local schools (including special education classrooms) and interacting with students and faculty face-to-face.
5. Natural Science
Cuba is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Its well-protected coral reef system, botanical gardens, mountains & wetlands make it an ideal location to study agriculture, environmental science & sustainability. Students can visit key organizations like organic farms; the Ministry of Science, Technology & the Environment; & the Antonio Nunez Jimenez Foundation.
Cuba has become a world leader in permaculture with more than 10,000 sustainable organic farms across the country. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the people of Cuba were cut off from nearly 80% of its goods, including: fuel, fertilizer & food. Fertile land was given to those with farming capabilities in exchange to help feed surrounding communities.
Students can also explore Cuba’s terrestrial & aquatic ecosystems. Learn about the country’s conservation efforts while trekking, snorkeling or sailing through Cienaga de Zapata National Park in Matanzas. Visit a small ecovillage in Artemisa called Las Terrazas. This community was once severely deforested & has since become a well-respected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
¡Vamos a Cuba!
Make sure to read our last post about the Top 5 Reasons to Plan a Faculty-led Trip to Cuba. You can also visit our website to learn more about travel to Cuba. Or, contact us if you’re ready to start planning a custom faculty-led program to Cuba.
It’s a big world. Get out there!
Your FTI Team