Cuba: A Beautiful People and Beautiful Place July 09, 2023

By (Sociology, Austin Community College) - abroad from 06/17/2023 to 07/02/2023 with

Abroadia: Havana - Cuban Culture Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned many important things traveling to Cuba (specifically). (1) Cuba is similar to many other Latin American contexts, and this a good thing for those of us who have traveled, and (2) Cuba is unique given the absence 60 years of a strong culture of individualism and consumerism. This was very evident after just days that make the Cuban people a very special indeed.

Review Photos

Abroadia: Havana - Cuban Culture Program Photo Abroadia: Havana - Cuban Culture Program Photo Abroadia: Havana - Cuban Culture Program Photo Abroadia: Havana - Cuban Culture Program Photo Abroadia: Havana - Cuban Culture Program Photo

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.

For our music and culture course, the professional and folk artists we interacted with were amazing! Through exploration of Cuban music, dance and religion, we learned well the journey of Afro-Cuban culture and people up to today.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Having daily contact with program administration made all the difference in understanding our list of planned activities and working together to enhance our program from students' perspectives.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our host (and many others) were some of the most incredible, generous, knowledgeable and caring people we have ever met! We became part of their families and wanted them to become part of ours.

* Food:

From daily fresh fruit of the likes I've never had to solid and delicious staples, we dined well every day, both at home and at spectacular restaurants selected for our experiences.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Much time was spent interacting with program and activity personnel who lived and worked in Cuba, along with getting first-hand perspectives from our host families. And if you wanted to (and you should), you could stop almost any Cuban ask them how they were experiencing their lives, both highs and lows.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Having to interact with hospital staff, we got to live out the well-known excellence of the Cuban health care system. Staff were knowledgeable, courteous and generous with their time.

* Safety:

From daily events to Cuban nightlife, we felt safe and respected, taking all the necessary precautions anyone in a foreign, urban setting should take.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

While I loved this experience, I would next choose a different program to Cuba that focuses more on history and/or social challenges.


* 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)

As Abroadia mentioned, the issue was not our budget, but blowing through it because the exchange rate was so good to our dollar. A student could have an excellent time with under $100/week. Given the heat, one issue was the need to buy bottled water for those without filters.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Get a water bottle with a filter! It's hot in the summer and you will need to drink lots of water due to the high humidity. Keep track of your money in the local currency. If not, you will spend more than you realize by constantly thinking "this is only $1"! Those dollars can add up fast if you're not careful.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Number of activities
  • Individuals and groups we connected with
  • Host families
* What could be improved?
  • Better pacing, slower at first then speeding up as we get acclimated
  • More beach time!
  • Maybe one trip outside of La Havana to see how the rural people live.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Prepare for the heat (abnormal levels this time around). The weather was really a challenges given how hot it was (even Cubans were struggling). This means focusing on drinking enough water and wearing light, breathable clothing.