Travel writer Pico Iyer once said, “For centuries, Cuba’s greatest resource has been its people.” With diplomatic and travel restrictions easing between Cuba and the United States since 2015, many have been heading south – the IMF estimates ten million Americans will visit each year – to engage with Cuba’s unique people and culture. Ramapo students can now take advantage of this opportunity through a study abroad program entitled “Cuba: Revolution and Evolution,” which will take place from May 14 to May 27 of next year.
“In Cuba, students will have a unique opportunity to experience a country in transition from isolation to integration into the global market,” Ben Levy, Ramapo’s Director of International Education, said. “Cuba has developed many creative solutions to the challenges posed by the U.S. Embargo, leading to innovations in the health and agricultural sectors, while maintaining a vibrant music and arts scene.”
The program, led by Ramapo professors Iraida H. Lopez, John Gronbeck-Tedesco and Yolanda del Amo, is open to all students in good academic and judicial standing. The “Revolution and Evolution” course will focus on Cuba’s history and culture, examining U.S.-Cuba relations, how politics and aesthetics have changed under socialism, and it will give students a broader understanding of the meaning of revolution in all of its dimensions. Beyond academic lectures, students can experience the country through museum visits, tours of neighborhoods and interactions with everyday Cubans. Throughout the course, students will complete writing assignments and take digital photographs to document their experience.
“I have been urging students to check out this program because of my own experiences in Cuba, which have been as educational as they have been wondrous,” Gronbeck-Tedesco said. “I think students will have a tremendously fun and inspiring time there, in an intimate group led by experienced Ramapo faculty.”
Prior to departing from the U.S., students will attend academic meetings and an orientation on culture, health and safety. Students will also attend film screenings and complete readings in order to become familiar with the subjects they will cover in Cuba. During the two weeks in-country, ten days will be spent in Havana and two days will be spent in Las Terrazas and Viñales.
At the end of the course, having explored literature, history and visual culture, students will have an understanding of the causes and objectives of a revolution – and therefore a better understanding of Cuba itself, including its evolving relationship with the U.S. Participants will also acquire the ability to generate, research, narrate and visualize a story.
“Studying abroad in Cuba has been such an amazing experience,” Amelia Morgenstern, a Ramapo alum said. “Especially since citizens of the two nations have never been able to travel across one another’s borders.”
The cost of the program is $4,650 for New Jersey residents and $5,760 for non-New Jersey residents. The price includes tuition fees for four credits, textbooks, an academic visa, pre-departure and on-site orientation, health and security insurance, lodging in Cuba, excursions and entrance fees, in-country program transportation and most meals. Students will stay in residencias (residences) in double rooms with breakfasts and dinners included. The deadline to apply for the program is December 16. Generous scholarships are available.
For more information, students can contact the Roukema Center in ASB-123, or visit ramapo.edu/international.