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Students: Get your passport ready, Cuba awaits

December 13, 2011 12:00 PM
Carol J. Schlueter cjs@tulane.edu

Tulane students who are eager to experience the “amazing mystique” of Cuba have a new opportunity starting next year — a four-week summer studies program for undergraduates that is returning to the island nation after a seven-year hiatus.

Summer in Cuba

Tulane students will travel to Cuba next summer to earn six credits during a four-week study session. (Illustration by Douglas Miller)

Earlier this year, Tulane leaders worked with officials at the University of Havana to reinstate the summer program, which had been offered from 1999 until 2004, when President George W. Bush restricted academic trips to Cuba.

President Barack Obama reversed that ruling, and plans are under way for the summer 2012 program, says Carolina Caballero, a lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese who is co-director of the summer session along with Ana Lopez, associate provost and director of the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute.

There is a mystique to Cuba, Caballero says, perhaps enhanced by the embargo preventing travel there by U.S. citizens. “Students are curious about what is going on there — to be there, to live there, to be part of that,” Caballero says.

Only a few U.S. universities will be sending groups to Cuba next summer, and Tulane is pleased to be one of them, she says. Organizers hope to have at least 20 students enrolled in next year's session, which will take place May 26–June 23, 2012.

“There are few U.S. undergraduates who have the opportunity to do short-term study of this high caliber in Cuba,” says Lopez.

Students who complete the program will earn six credits. Three classes will be offered, including one required course on the culture and society of Cuba, with lectures by Cuban professors, professionals and intellectuals as well as excursions and field trips. Courses are available for both Spanish and non-Spanish speakers.

Applications are due Feb. 17, 2012, for the summer program. Tulane also offers a Junior Year Abroad option in Cuba in the fall semester.