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Community Engagement & Service

Challenging the American Perception: The Cuba of Today

Photo by Rebecca Bellinger.

The Program:

This alternative break program will be focused on the consequences of the changing relationship between the United States and Cuba. The social justice theme will be centered on addressing the potential as well as current repercussions this evolving relationship is having on Havana residents. These changes are being seen economically, culturally, and socially. Community engagement will be the cornerstone of the program, as learning firsthand through conversations is the most effective way to understand the current situation. Partnering with Cuba Educational Travel — an organization that will be a facilitator both on site and beforehand — will help us ensure a "people to people" approach crucial to this Alternative Break.


Engagement Itinerary:

Day 1:
Travel from Washington DC to Havana, Cuba via Miami
Visit the “Plaza de la Revolucion” (Revolution Square)
Settle where we are staying (place TBD)
Eat a traditional Cuban meal, and walk along the “Malecon”, where one can see the local residents hanging out.


Day 2:
Theme: See Havana from the Revolution to today’s government
Guided tour of the “Old City”
Go to the Museum of the Revolution
Discussion with Pablo Diaz Galindo about how he has seen changes working for the Cuban government, facilitating travels for Americans to Cuba.

Day 3:
Theme: Cuban culture [in Havana], and the outlook of the Cuban youth
Visit the Universidad de Habana. Meet with a professor that will discuss the United States and Cuba relationship in detail.
Tour of the Museum of Cuban Art, by professor of the Universidad de Habana.
Go to Regla and see live music performers.
Meet with members of “Manana Club y Papucho”, that have been able to integrate modern music, with the Afro-Cuban roots to produce music that appeal to young adults and older generations.

Day 4:
Theme: American Media in Cuba
Go to ABC’s Havana Bureau - discuss and learn from production and journalist perspective.
Continue the discussion in “Viñales”

Day 5:
Theme: Cuban Universal Systems: Healthcare and Education
Visit the WHO Office in Havana
Visit the UNESCO Office in Havana

Day 6:
Theme: Americans in Cuba
Meet with diplomatic figures
Go to the Morro Castle (fortress that protected Cuba from external threats)
Farewell dinner and final reflections

Day 7:
Travel back to Miami and then Washington D.C



Quick Facts

Destination: Havana, Cuba

Cost: $2200

Dates: March 11-18, 2017

Faculty Adviser: TBD

Cost includes: Airfare, lodging, meals, ground tranportation, guides, admission fees, visa, travel insurance, and administrative fees.

Cost does not include: Immunizations

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Meet Your Student Leaders!

Inés Rénique is a rising senior at AU. She is majoring in international studies and minoring in communications. Inés is a Peruvian-American born in New York City. She has long had a passion for Latin American issues, culture and history. Inés interned at the Inter-American Dialogue as well as the United Nations Foundation where she furthered this interest. Inés has always found Cuba to be a fascinating place and she continues to further her knowledge on the nation, whether it is through books, articles, first hand interviews of Cubans who had lived through the "special period", or through her recent visit to Cuba earlier this year. She could not be more excited to share her knowledge of Cuba during this alternative break. This will be such an unforgettable experience and she can't wait to share it with the participants as well as the AU community!

Flávia Bedicks is a senior pursuing a dual degree in International Studies and Economics. She is interested in political and socioeconomic development in Latin America, but has a passion for Brazil. She was born and raised in São Paulo and hopes to return there to work with public policy. Besides Brazil, she has spent a year in Canada and France, and has just returned from a year at the London School of Economics. Flávia loves nature and hearing people’s stories, however, she has a true passion for coffee — one of the reasons she developed her interest on Cuba along with Juan Reinaldo Sánchez’s book “The Double Life of Fidel Castro.” She has interned at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she had the opportunity to work with leading US scholars on Cuba. Flávia is really excited to co-lead the program to Cuba as it allows her to exchange her experience, knowledge, and perceptions on US-Cuban relations. She is really interested in experiencing the Cuban culture from within in order to share with the AU community how such culture should shape US policy on the issue.