Sara Lawrence in Cuba
Students studying in Cuba through this program will be living in Havana, taking courses through Sarah Lawrence. The program curriculum is comprised of courses on Spanish language, as well as a mandatory seminar course on Cuban culture and history, supplemented by two elective courses. Students will also have the opportunity to take courses directly through the University of Havana, theFundación del Nuevo Cine Lantinoamericano, and the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA). Students are required to live together in program housing located in the Vedado neighborhood, a residential area walking distance from the University of Havana. Program housing offers spacious double/triple bedrooms, an internet room, and a small library. All students will be accommodated by the program meal plan, which provides breakfasts and dinners. Upon arrival in Cuba, students will undergo a week of orientation exercises in Spanish language, Cuban culture, and academic methodology. In addition to their coursework, students will have the opportunity to participate in internships, working with organizations such as the Cuban Worker's Union. The Sarah Lawrence program also organizes numerous group site-visits and cultural outings to help facilitate immersion and cross-cultural understanding. In order to qualify for this program, students must have completed four semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent. This program is only offered for the fall semester.
Further info can be found at: http://www.slc.edu/international-exchange/cuba/studying/index.html
Anyone who goes abroad and doesn't expect that the academics will be different is missing the point. I had to get used to a unique style of learning, but once I accepted that, I was challenged intellectually and able to interact with the course material very well with the help of my professors. We did have some major problems with the core course of the program that is Cuba: Population and Society through an institution called CEDEM. We spoke to Maya and Prema about the problems of this course at length and I am more than confident that they are trying their best to overcome those difficulties. Our residence was well maintained,clean, and comfortable. We never had hot water though, which was unnecessary (most Cubans use hot water to shower). A big problem was that people knew that we lived there and would target our street. They attempted to rob me twice, once with a weapon. The street is usually dark and there was talk about getting a few more lights on the street, but so far it hasn't happened. I'm still unsure of whether or not I will be able to get credit for the aforementioned course Cuba: Population and Society. Students planning to go to Cuba be warned: the food is just terrible, anywhere you go. There are ways you can make due and be creative, but it's difficult and takes time and money. So come prepared not to complain, to make friends with the workers in the kitchen, and walk to the "agro" frequently to get your fruits and veggies. The most important thing is to maintain a positive attitude that will allow you to learn from those absences rather than stubbornly refusing to readjust and achieve a glimpse of how life is for a Cuban. Take classes at ISA the art institute!! You can take classes at the university or at ISA or at some of the faculties off campus. I think taking classes in various locations is a good idea because you get exposed to so much more that way, even by just having to travel around the city on a regular basis. ISA's campus and general feeling made it my favorite place in Cuba. I unfortunately did not take classes there, but I spent time there and everyone who did take classes there loved it. Even if you don't study art, it would be worth it to audit a class there. It was a great place to make friends as well. It was a unique situation because we were the first Reed students to go to SLC's Cuba program. I was never set up with a student who had completed the program, which would have been helpful. I personally would be very willing to be used as a resource in this way if future Reed students should want to contact me.
-Anonymous '14 (student can be contacted through the International Programs Office)