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  • Locations: Havana, Cuba
  • Program Terms: J-Term
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: J-Term Minimum GPA: 2.5
Class Eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Program Description:
HWS Short-Term J-Term Faculty-Led Program
Inside the New Cuba: Reconciling Socialism and the Market Economy; 1 Credit
Led by: Jack Harris 

Cuba Summer2

**NOTE: This program is contingent upon the US Department of State Advisory and Travel Regulatory System. New regulations issued June 5, 2019 abolished the “people-to-people” educational exchanges; HOWEVER, there have not been any regulatory changes for accredited educational programs. Students registered at degree-granting institutions can still travel to Cuba as part of structured educational programs that count as credit for undergraduate or graduate degrees.**  


Country Description:
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and home to a population of over 11 million people. Located just 90 miles from Florida, the country has maintained a unique relationship with the US, both before and particularly after the 1959 Revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. Students will take a course with the program director and will be based in Havana, a city that offers its visitors a charming blend of old traditions and modern living: old vintage cars, a relaxed atmosphere, a historic center that is a UNESCO World Heritage site, life along the Malecón, a diverse culture with African and European influences, traditional dance and music, and a unique culinary style. Excursions to Trinidad, Bay of Pigs, and Las Terrazas will enhance the students’ academic experience of this cultural immersion program.

Course Description:
This course will trace and explore the evolution of Cuban society from the revolution of 1959 to the present.  Drawing upon historical documents, literature, print media, films and music, the course will examine the impact of the revolution on Cuban society, as well as on the contemporary history of Latin America and the United States. In many ways Cuba has been an experimental society since the revolution.  The theory and practice of socialist thought and its effect on the welfare of Cuban society will be examined through a variety of lenses, including those of class, race, gender, religion and sexuality.

The current strains on Cuban socialism will be discussed in the context of socialist and capitalist economies and political systems, particularly those of Cuba and the US. Life in Cuba through the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the US embargo will receive special attention. Through intellectual engagement with text and film, and the personal experience of living in Cuba for three weeks, students will be able to achieve a better understanding of the complexity of this exceptional historical moment in Cuba, as well as re-imagine the place and reality of a new Cuba in the political map of the Twenty-first century.

Themes and Focus of the Course:
  • The Struggle for Independence: From Conquest to Revolution
  • The Cuban Revolution in the Latin American Imagination
  • “Extreme Socialism” – How and why?
  • The Politics of Dominance: Cuba-US Relations
  • The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the “Special Period”
  • The Effect of the US Embargo on the Cuban Population
  • From Slavery to Racial (In)equality
  • Gender and Power Through the Revolution to the Present
  • Sexual Minorities in Contemporary Cuba
  • The Place of Religion in Cuban Society
  • Foreign Money: One Country, Two Currencies
  • From Havana to Miami: The Multiple Faces of Dissidence
  •  (Mis) Handling the Change Curve:  Can socialism be preserved, or is capitalism inevitable?
  • The Emergence of the New Cuba
Faculty Director:
HarrisJack Harris is a professor in the Sociology department. He is an experienced program director who has led semester-long programs to England, Vietnam, Italy, and Ireland. He also directed two short-term social entrepreneurship programs to Panama and Ghana in 2015 and 2018. He has received the Faculty Award for Community Service and the Engaged Faculty Award from the Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Professor Harris is also the Director of the ASIANetwork Luce grant that uses community-based research and service-learning as pedagogies in support on field-based environmental projects in Asia.


Travel Dates:  December 27, 2020 – January 17, 2021 (approximate)

HWS Info Session:
September 17, 2019 7:30pm, Merritt Hall 100

Application Deadline:
Sunday, October 20, 2019 by 11:59pm (Apply online)
New deadline: Friday, February 28, 2020 by 11:59pm (Apply online)

Itinerary Highlights:
  • Old Havana walking tour and guest lecture
  • 20th Century Havana walking tour and guest lecture
  • City bus tour
  • Lectures on US-Cuba relations, the health care and educational system of Cuba
  • Bay of Pigs day trip
  • Museum of the Revolution
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • The tunnels of the Missile Crisis under the Hotel Nacional
  • Overnight excursion to Trinidad. Visit a tobacco plantation, focusing on the colonial history of Cuba
  • Santa Clara/Trinidad overnight excursion
  • Las Terrazas/Viñales/Soroa day visit
  • Optional trip to Varadero beach and Matanzas
Note: Itinerary is subject to change. Any changes or additions will be of equal or greater academic value.
Housing and Meals:
Students will enjoy shared accommodations in homestay "casa particulares" accommodations. Housing will be coordinated by Spanish Studies Abroad and includes bed linens and towels, cleaning service, and daily breakfast and dinner service.

All breakfast and dinners will be included as part of the program fee, but students should budget an extra $200-$250 for additional lunches and meals during travel days.

Group flights will be arranged by the CGE and accepted students will be notified of the cost and booking info for the flight once it is available. Due to specific travel restrictions the group flight must be booked through our travel agency. The group flight will be MANDATORY for all students. No separate travel plans to Cuba are possible at this time.
Note: Due to Cuba flight restrictions, it will not be possible to book our group flight more than 2 months in advance. The CGE will notify students as soon as the flight details are available and ready to book.

Passports and Visas:
All students will need a passport valid until at least 6 months after the return date AND a VISA. Visa paperwork/documents will be collected by the CGE and submitted to the travel agency to secure your visa. These documents MUST be remitted to our office by the specified due date (TBD). Non-US citizens should see the CGE about visa requirements as soon as you are accepted into the program.

Cuba does not present a noteworthy health risk. Nonetheless, Hepatitis A and typhoid immunizations are recommended for many travelers. Please check the CDC website to read more about the recommendations. If you choose to get immunizations, you can do this at a local medical clinic near your home - use this link to find travel medicine clinics  - or possibly with your home doctor or you can contact one of the Passport Health offices in Rochester or Syracuse who provide travel immunizations. Their contact number is: (585) 275-8884.


Course Prerequisites:
  • We recommend students take a Spanish language course at their appropriate level prior to the program.
  • All participants will be required to successfully complete a 1/2 credit Reader's College in Fall 2020.
  • There will also be mandatory orientation meetings in preparation for the program.
Qualified first-years (in Fall 2019), sophomores, juniors and may apply. Students graduating in May 2020 are not eligible to participate.
GPA Requirement:
Students applying for this program should have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA. First-year students and transfer students in their first semester at HWS will typically be waitlisted until fall semester grades can be reviewed. Depending on the number of available spaces in the program, first-years and transfers with strong applications may be given a conditional offer based on achieving at least a 2.5 GPA in the fall semester.

Course cross-listings and credit:
The course taught by Prof. Harris (“Inside the New Cuba”) will be worth one HWS course credit and has been approved by the following departments to receive major/minor credit:
  • Sociology
  • Spanish and Hispanic Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Political Science
  • Africana Studies
  • English and Comp. Lit.
  • International Relations
  • Social Justice Studies
This course has been approved by the HWS Committee on Academic Affairs to fully satisfy Goal requirement #7—multiplicity of world cultures. This course has also been approved to partially satisfy Goal #6— gender, race, and class and Goal #8— ethical judgment and action. Students should always discuss goal requirements with their advisors.


Program Fees:
Cuba program fees will be approximately $3,400-3,580* for the 3-week program, which will cover tuition, accommodation, most meals (with the exception of lunches), international health insurance, entrance fees, and excursions and local travel in Cuba.
Students should also budget an extra $200-250 above and beyond the program costs for meals not included. Students will also need to budget for round-trip airfare at approximately $650 - $800, books at $50, visa and Cuban Departure Tax at $100, any required immunizations, AND a non-refundable administrative fee of $100 charged for all short-term programs. The administrative fee will show up as a separate charge (separate from the program fee) billed to your student account.

*Costs are subject to change based on currency fluctuations, changes in costs of services provided and the number of confirmed participants in the program.

A limited pool of HWS short-term program funding is available to assist students seeking to participate in CGE summer or J-term programs. Those wishing to apply for financial assistance may do so as part of their program application. Funding will be allocated on a need basis and student financial aid and conduct records will be reviewed in making funding decisions. We will let you know whether you have been awarded funding before the deadline by which you are required to put down a deposit to hold your place in the program.

Payment Schedule and Program Timeline:
After applying and being accepted to the program, students will need to make a $500 deposit in person to the Student Accounts Office in Demarest Hall to hold their place in this program. This amount will be credited to your student account and will be applied to the cost of the program.
 Application Deadline  DUE: Oct 20, 2019  11:59pm online
 Decision Date  By Nov 15, 2019  
 Funding Decisions   By Nov 22, 2019  
 Deposit Deadline  DUE: Dec 10, 2019  $500.00
 Program Billing Date  By Mar 1, 2020  Balance charged to student account
 Final Payment  DUE: Apr 10, 2020  Remaining balance due

*Please note: Students must make the initial non-refundable deposit to Student Accounts in Demarest Hall. Program fees for the remainder (lump sum) of program will be automatically billed to the student accounts separately.

Cancellation Policy:
The initial $500 deposit is non-refundable. Students will be responsible for additional expenses beyond the $500 if they withdraw from the program while it is in progress or 90 days or less before the program begins. Specifically, students will be held accountable for any expenditures made by HWS on their behalf that the CGE is unable to recoup from any untimely withdrawal, such as housing deposits, non-refundable hotel reservations, excursion deposits, etc.

Questions? If you have questions about this program, please contact the Center for Global Education at 315-781-3307 or


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.