Havana, Cuba

Universidad de La Habana Partnership

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Program Overview


Ideal for adventurous, flexible students who want to connect with Cuban people, experience vibrant cultural life, and see the natural beauty of the Caribbean. Learn among Cuban peers and students from all over the world at Universidad de La Habana. Classes are taught in Spanish. Humanities and social sciences classes tend to be popular with IFSA students. With a homestay and engaging activities and excursions, you’ll get to know Cuba’s unique social and economic system.  

Details at a Glance

Application deadline

Fall: April 1
Spring: Oct. 15

Minimum GPA


Credit load



Single Room Option, Homestay

Instruction language


Language prerequisites

Four semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent

Visa required?

Yes. Learn more.

Apply Now


IFSA offers a dynamic, immersive semester study abroad program at the Universidad de La Habana (UH) in Havana, Cuba. This unique program allows you to enroll directly in UH and study alongside local students. All classes are instructed in Spanish. Spanish as a Second Language classes are available in the Facultad de Español para No Hispanohablantes. Before enrolling, you will take a placement test early in the add/drop period.

Universidad de La Habana Electives
You’ll choose from UH classes alongside Cuban students. IFSA students may choose four or five electives in the facultades (departments) listed below. The classes open to study abroad students may vary from semester to semester. Syllabi and previous class catalogs may be available on request from your IFSA Enrollment Counselor. Students may take a maximum of 16 credit hours.

These faculties include:

  • Facultad de Artes y Letras
  • Facultad de Biología
  • Facultad de Comunicación
  • Facultad de Contabilidad y Finanzas
  • Facultad de Economía
  • Facultad de Español para No Hispanohablantes (FENHI)
  • Facultad de Farmacia y Alimentos
  • Facultad de Filosofía, Historia y Sociología
  • Facultad de Física
  • Facultad de Geografía
  • Instituto Superior de Tecnologías y Ciencias Aplicadas
  • Instituto Superior de Diseño
  • Facultad de Lenguas Extranjeras
  • Facultad de Matemática y Computación
  • Facultad de Psicología
  • Facultad de Turismo

Popular classes:

  • Afro-Caribbean Studies
  • Cuban Cinema
  • Cuban Literature
  • Cuban Music
  • Dialectology and Sociolinguistics
  • General Linguistics
  • History of Cuba
  • History of the Cuban Revolution
  • Marxist-Leninist Philosophy
  • Sociology of Health
  • Urban Sociology

CHART Your Course
Find the classes you need fast with CHART. Our easy-to-use tool shows you classes recently taken by IFSA students

Language Requirement
To enroll in Spanish-taught classes, you must have a specific language level. Please visit our Language Requirements page for more details. If you have questions about whether you qualify, contact your IFSA Enrollment Counselor.

Students have the opportunity to participate in part-time, non-credit bearing volunteering opportunities in Havana. The placement process begins with indicating on your IFSA application that you would like to volunteer while in Cuba. The local IFSA office then works with your availability outside of classes and your interests, to help find an appropriate option for you.

IFSA does make every effort to connect students to companies or organizations that match the organization’s needs with a student’s skillset, experience, and goals, including but not limited to the student’s Spanish language level and communication skills. Below are examples of what students have done in the past and what you might be able to do during your time abroad:

  • Become an English language tutor for Cuban university students or working professionals hoping to fine tune their English skills.
  • Play an active role in environmental clean up initiatives, including helping advertise the events, educating the public on importance of keeping areas clean, and day of activities.
  • Join the Cuba Libro literary café and local development project as a part-time volunteer, focused on its community involvement (donations, partnering with schools and health care facilities, etc.)



  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Students under 18 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must be currently attending or recently graduated from a U.S. or Canadian community college, technical college, two-year college, four-year college, or four-year university.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) full-time semester of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.

Recommendation Letter
Your application to this program will require one (1) academic letter of recommendation.

Language Requirement
Four (4) semesters of college-level Spanish or an Intermediate II level proficiency is required.


Upon completion of your program, IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. semester credit hour system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects classes taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost. See our Transcripts page for more information.


Activities and excursions are designed to pull you into the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. There’s no extra fee to participate in these optional outings—everything is included in your program fee.

Below are a selection of activities and excursions from previous terms; options may vary for your program. Due to the seasonal nature of many of program activities, we cannot guarantee a specific activity or excursion will be available in a given term or program.


  • City-as-Text: This activity will focus on gaining an initial understanding of social, economic, and cultural aspects of Havana through a guided walking tour of the Vedado district near the Universidad de La Habana. The tours will focus on aspects such as transportation, housing, landmarks, tourism, the university, the cultural importance of the Vedado district including theaters and other arts venues, and food.
  • The African Presence in Cubanía: Exploring the African presence in Cuban culture will include visits to sites such as: Asociación Cultural Yoruba de Cuba (temple and museum), Callejón de Hammel (community art space), La Casa de África (museum), Sanctuary of San Lázaro in El Rincón, and Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Regla. In addition, there will be visits and discussions with young Cubans who promote Afro-Cuban culture through small businesses such as Beyond Roots, Zulu, and Que Negra. Finally, experience a Rumba show at the El Gran Palenque in Vedado, home to the Conjunto Folklórico Nacional.
  • Food Self-Sufficiency and Sustainable Agriculture: During this trip you’ll explore Finca Marta. Part of the national project for food self-sufficiency and sustainable agriculture, it is overseen by agronomist Dr. Fernando Funes and part of a local farm cooperative.
  • The Colonial City: Enjoy and learn during a guided walking tour through the four main plazas of the formerly walled section of Habana Vieja, a UNESCO heritage site. Featuring an architecture specialist from the City Historian’s Office or a restoration specialist from the Colegio Universitario San Gerónimo de La Habana, the tour will focus on architecture and patrimony and included a visit to the Capitolio building and the Museum of the Revolution.
  • Las Terrazas Visit: This mountain community, about hour west of Havana, was the first intentional community built post-1959 to reforest the countryside and bring services to the rural poor. The trip includes a walking tour of the community, a visit to the Rio San Juan, and an optional hike.
  • Matanzas Trip: Visit the Castillo de San Severino, a colonial fortress restored to house the Museo de la Ruta del Esclavo, and discuss the role of slavery in Cuba’s sugar industry. The trip will continue with a visit to the Afro-Atenas community project that promotes Afro-Cuban popular traditions, LGBTQ+ rights, and local development in the city of Matanzas.
  • Viñales Trip: During this visit to the tobacco-growing valley of Viñales, a UNESCO world heritage site in the Sierra de los Organos mountains and a “living landscape,” you will learn about traditional agriculture and the impact of tourism. The trip will also include a hike or a visit to the Gran Caverna de Santo Tomás, part of Cuba’s largest cave system.

Housing and Meals


Single Room Option, Homestay


Most Included


In Cuba, students live in Habana with families in what’s called a homestay. Homestays are a fabulous way to soak up as much culture as you can and provide plenty of opportunity to make language gains. Many students keep in touch with their hosts after they return home.  

Homestays: Who’s at home?  

We place students with carefully screened families in safe neighborhoods. Most hosts welcome two IFSA students, though students can request individual placements. Many families have been hosting IFSA students for years. Often, they have grown children who have left home, and enjoy having young people around.  

You might live with a retired couple and their beloved terrier, with frequent visits from their young grandchildren. Your hosts might have high school-age children and a grandparent living with them. Or you might join a single mom who shares her home with her adult daughter and grandson, with another adult child living nearby. 

  • Location. Students live near the University of Habana in the Vedado neighborhood. 
  • Commute. A 20- to 30-minute walk to the university and the IFSA Program Center, one block from the university.  
  • Living space. Most hosts live in houses; some have apartments. Expect to have your own bedroom with air conditioning, likely smaller than a typical U.S. space. Students sometimes have their own bathroom. Many share with other family members. Hosts provide a desk or other suitable place to study.  
  • Language. Few families are fluent in English, but most can communicate. We do our best to place students without Spanish skills with English-speaking families 
  • Meals. Breakfast and dinner are included. Students occasionally eat out with friends and buy snacks independently. Hosts appreciate a heads up in advance if you plan to eat out.  
  • Other details. Your host will do your laundry once a week. Keep in mind that washing machines tend to have smaller capacity here than in the U.S.  

Dates and Fees

Term begins
Term ends
Program costs
Application deadline
Fall 2024
September 9, 2024
December 20, 2024
Spring 2025
Mid-Jan. 2025
Mid-May 2025
$15,995 (estimated)
Oct. 15, 2024
Fall 2025
Early Sept. 2025
Mid-Dec. 2025
$15,995 (estimated)
April 1, 2025

Get Started

Selena Rincon

Selena Rincon

Enrollment Counselor