Study abroad in Cuba with IFSA

Universidad de La Habana Partnership

Program Overview

Step into a world few Americans experience. Learn with Cuban peers at Universidad de La Habana, which draws students from all over the world. Ideal for adventurous, flexible students who want to connect with the Cuban people and to experience the vibrant cultural life and beautiful natural environment of this Caribbean island country.

Details in a Glance

Application deadline

October 15

Minimum GPA

3.00

Credit load

16

Housing

Home Stay

Instruction language

Spanish

Prerequisites

4 semesters of university level or equivalent

What does this mean?

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Academics

Looking for specific classes? Explore CHART, our exclusive class database — if the Universidad de La Habana Program is pre-approved at your institution, you’ll find classes recently taken by other IFSA students.

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. IFSA encourages you to select classes that do a particularly good job of strengthening your Spanish skills, such as Spanish language, literature, or other writing-intensive classes.

Universidad de La Habana Electives

You’ll choose your course load from UH classes alongside Cuban students. IFSA students may choose four or five electives in the facultades (departments) listed below. Syllabi and previous course catalogs may be available on request from your IFSA Admissions 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 courses:

  • History of Cuba
  • Rural Cultures of Cuba
  • Cuban Cinema
  • Afro-Caribbean Studies
  • Marxist-Leninist Philosphy
  • Sociology of Health
  • General Linguistics
  • Dialectology and Sociolinguistics
  • Cuban Literature
  • Urban Sociology

Students on a semester program in Cuba have the opportunity to participate in part-time, non-credit bearing, volunteering opportunities at sites located throughout the country. 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 locals, varying in age from elementary school children 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

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility

  • 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) 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.

Visa Requirement

This program requires a visa for all students.

Start your application now by clicking the Apply Now button.

TRANSCRIPT

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 courses 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.

Excursions

Program Activities:

Activities and excursions are an important piece of your IFSA experience, designed to pull you into the fabric of the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. That said, at times, circumstances beyond our control — including local government regulations and health protocols — could impact our ability to hold these events as planned.

Know that we’ll make every effort to run the activities, trips, and excursions slated for your program. You’ll see detailed examples of previous outings offered during this program below. Keep in mind that the options could look different for your program, and that we cannot guarantee these activities, trips, and excursions.

Activities are optional, but they are included in your total program fee. They vary each term based on availability, but activities may include:

  • 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.
  • Pandemic and Cuban Public Health: Hear directly from representatives of the public health system during a presentation focused on Cuba’s national strategy for handling the pandemic and locally developed vaccines. Then visit the office of a neighborhood primary care doctor and polyclinic to see public health in action.
Program Excursions:

IFSA excursions are included in your total program fee and though these are optional, most students choose to participate. They vary each term based on availability, but excursions may include:

  • 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

Housing

Home Stay

Meals

All Included

Details

Your homestay will be arranged with a carefully selected host family and located within walking distance of the university in the Vedado district of Havana. One student is housed per family for maximum cultural and language integration. You will have a single bedroom with air conditioning, shared or personal bathroom, desk or other designated place to study, and access to a refrigerator. All linens, laundry, and three meals per day are included.

Dates and Fees

Term

Term begins

Term ends

Program costs

Application deadline

Spring 2023

February 15, 2023

June 2, 2023

$15,975

October 15

Fall 2023

Early September 2023

Mid-December 2023

$15,795 (estimated)

April 1

Spring 2024

Mid-February 2024

Early June 2024

$15,975 (estimated)

October 15

Term

Spring 2023

Term begins

February 15, 2023

Term ends

June 2, 2023

Program costs

$15,975

Application deadline

October 15

Term

Fall 2023

Term begins

Early September 2023

Term ends

Mid-December 2023

Program costs

$15,795 (estimated)

Application deadline

April 1

Term

Spring 2024

Term begins

Mid-February 2024

Term ends

Early June 2024

Program costs

$15,975 (estimated)

Application deadline

October 15

Program Counselors

IFSA Student Stories