PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

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Cuba: Connecting With People & Culture

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Teaching English (and sewing) in HAVANA, CUBA

Let's be honest, 2 weeks was too short! Until I got to know everyone's name, it was time to leave. But, in those 2 weeks, I got to participate in a myriad of things, with the group of students and their leader, Theresa. For a new program, things are well in hand, with the local concern: Jakera. They have a network of activities, and you will be able to meet fellow travelers, engaged in other pursuits. They were very good at suggesting travel and tourism experiences, including trips outside of the city, both day trips and overnight to other locations of interest. The personnel of Jakera were able to arrange for breakfast and lunch each day, and to ensure we had adequate accommodations, including access to toilet/shower. By the time I left, it seemed there was a/c in almost every room! But, that was the experience overall, Havana is busy modernizing and improving.

When I arrived, I was given the option of teaching adults or children, I was prepared to do both, and so I did. The children were preparing their dances for and upcoming event, and so, in conversation, it was revealed that they were in need of costumes. As I have been sewing all my life, I suggested that we shop for fabric, and make them ourselves. For the price of 1 dress in the USA, I was able to buy enough fabric for the whole group to have an outfit! The children were very enthusiastic to learn a new activity, pattern making and cutting out pieces of fabric, and at the end of the 2 short weeks, we had almost every thing finished. In all, 11 top/skirt sets, and 2 vest/pant sets. Our English lessons and conversations revolved around the colors of the fabric, the sizes and measurements, and other characteristics of each child. As I am a vocational school teacher, this was right up my alley, teaching a skill, while teaching the language! The students invited me to come and go swimming with them on a Saturday, this was a great opportunity to experience Havana, as a resident, not a tourist!

So much of Havana, and Cuba is in flux, the idea that one can interact with the inhabitants is a new one, and there will be surprises. The embargo seems to have had a stranglehold in certain sectors of the economy, so for example, running water isn't universal. People earn $20/month, although housing, food, medical care, and education are universally available. So, it seems, many people have ways to supplement their incomes. Since I knew that people in Havana enjoy music, I brought along my flute and donated it to the program.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Cuba Volunteer English Teacher

This was truly an amazing way to visit this beautiful country. During the 3 weeks I spent in Old Havana, not only did I meet many wonderful people from all over the world, I also felt like I was actually a part of the local community. This program satisfied everything I was looking for in my trip to Cuba; an opportunity for personal growth, constructive work and, of course, enjoying one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Pay and Benefits

    10

  • Teacher Support

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Everything Promised and More

I spent one month in Cuba teaching English and my assignment was in a school with children. Geovisions was very supportive, timely and effective in arranging my teaching experience in Cuba. Even though this is a new program, every question was answered promptly or I was referred to someone else who answered my question or concern. Every issue on the field was just as described and there is a good working relationship with the Cuban business partner, Jakera. Once I arrived in Cuba, all accommodations were arranged, questions answered and on resources on site gave whatever support was requested or needed.