Half of My Heart is in Cuba! April 09, 2019

By (Lafayette College) - abroad from 12/30/2018 to 01/18/2019 with

Abroadia: Study Latin American Culture, History and Spanish

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
While being in Cuba, I learned a lot about the complexities of class. Specifically, I learned about the possible relationship of capitalism and socialism, the ways in which they can work against yet with each other, and the effects of both situations.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Whenever and whatever my peers and I traveled, we stayed in "casas particulares" which are like staying at an air b&b and besides the food, this was also another part of the trip that I really enjoyed. While staying in these casas particulares, we were able to stay with families who we got to know and learn from. For me, it was another way of connecting with the community and the culture.

* Food:

My favorite part of my trip to Cuba was the food and drinks! Whether it was ropa vieja, ACTUAL Cuban coffee, or Havana Club, everything I tasted was delicious!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Besides staying with families in their casas particulares, Abroadia took us on various trips and activities like visiting different types of farms, museums, and famous sites and these trips, I would definitely say, allowed us to learn more about the overall Cuban culture and history but also the culture and history of specific regions.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

By traveling to Cuba through Abroadia, I was able to travel throughout the entire country to different regions and I would say, as I mentioned earlier, allowed me to learn more about the overall Cuban culture but also the culture of the specific regions that I visited. I feel like I was able to learn about Cuba and not just necessarily Havana, the capital.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The cost of living in Cuba is really cheap! As a student who ate out, went out, and brought back souvenirs, I was able to sustain myself for about 3 weeks with about $500.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? A 300- level Spanish history course
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Listening to music and watching tv are fun and easy ways of becoming familiar with the language! Besides this, using apps/websites/games like Duolingo and Rockalingua are really helpful. Even checking your phone settings in the language that you are learning can help (may be really challenging at first but helps!)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Traveling throughout the country
  • The Food
  • The Housing - Casa Particulares
* What could be improved?
  • The execution of logistics
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Before going on the trip, I wish I knew a little bit more about how money works in Cuba considering that they have two different types of dollars

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.