• Cuba

Overview

Cuba’s universal healthcare system is one of the best in the world, in part due to their focus on prevention & health education. Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) is one of the largest medical institutions in the world, attracting students from more than 100 countries.  And the country’s advanced biotechnical industry has received international attention with the development of the cancer vaccine, Cimavax, which utilizes the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells.

Students will get a first-hand look at Cuba’s healthcare system by meeting physicians & nurses to discuss how health practices are implemented at the local level. There will also be opportunities to visit local centers where the group will learn about health education.  

Highlights

  • Nurse training center – Speak with fellow nursing students to get a first-hand perspective on their training
  • Nurses Council of Cuba – Learn about the role of nurses in Cuba’s healthcare system
  • Polyclinic & maternity home – Visit the home to see how they are serving pregnant women in need
  • Center for Prevention – Meet with specialists to discuss STI/HIV/AIDS prevention & sexual education
  • National Center for Sex Education – Discuss sex education policies, including initiatives to aid the LGBTQ community

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Havana

Arrive at Jose Marti International Airport & begin with a bus tour of Havana to familiarize yourselves with the area. After checking in at the hotel, attend a brief orientation before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant & exploring the city’s cultural options.

Day 2: Havana

Begin your day at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, an agency specializing in relations with international guests. Groups can then talk with health professionals to learn about Cuba’s healthcare system. After lunch, visit a local training center & meet with fellow nursing students. Return to the hotel to have dinner & spend the rest of the night enjoying cultural options.

Day 3: Havana

After breakfast, meet with representatives from the Nurses Council of Cuba & take a walk around Old Havana. Here, you’ll visit the Historical Center, a few city squares & Bedeguita del Medio – one of Hemmingway’s favorite restaurants. Spend the afternoon at a polyclinic & maternity home where pregnant women lacking adequate resources can receive the care they need. After dinner, enjoy the evening to yourself or get some rest. 

Day 4: Mantanzas - Veradero

Begin the drive to Matanzas, a province about an hour away from Havana. On the way, stop at the Bacunayagua Bridge which connects Mayabeque & Matanzas. Enjoy lunch at the Velazco Hotel & learn alongside healthcare students in local training centers. Hop on the bus & depart for the resort in Varadero where you will have some free time before dinner. End the night with a meeting with members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution - a group of men & women committed to keeping their country safe. 

Day 5: Varadero - Havana

Spend the morning exploring the city before departing for a community project. Here, groups can get a first-hand look at healthcare needs & how Cuba is working to educate its people on better health practices. Head back to Havana & check in to your hotel before having some free time to enjoy cultural activities like salsa dancing. 

Day 6: Havana

Start your day at the Center for Prevention, meeting with specialists to discuss STI/HIV/AIDS prevention & sexual education. Then visit the National Center for Sex Education to learn from doctors about sex education policies in Cuba. This includes information on initiatives to aid the Cuban LGBTQ community. Have lunch at a local restaurant & drive to the Almacenes de San Jose Cultural Project in Havana. Meet with trip guides to discuss your time in Cuba & enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 7: Havana

Check out of your hotel & depart for José Martí International Airport to return home.