Despite years of withering neglect and a wildly turbulent history, Havana is a city that hemorrhages nothing but passion, vibrancy, and exuberance -- which will definitely shine bright when you study abroad in Havana. How Havana ages as beautifully as George Clooney, is anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s the swashbuckling history, the survivalist spirit, or the tireless salsa energy that ricochets off walls and is absorbed by the souls of the Cuban people. If you’re ready to harness some of that saucy Cuban spirit for yourself, the adventure of studying abroad in Havana is yours for the taking!
Popular Ways to Study in Havana
Havana is the picture-perfect setting for a study abroad program, emboldening students to embrace the local lifestyle and soak in the surroundings almost effortlessly. When it comes to the most popular ways to study abroad in Havana, consider these options:
Popular subjects to study. Perhaps the most popular subject to while studying abroad in Havana is—yup, you guessed it—Spanish. Aside from studying Spanish abroad in Havana, other common areas of study include politics, international relations, and art history. International relations and politics can be incredibly eye opening for students due to the nation’s very unique political history. It can also provide students with a better understanding of how Havana became what it is today. On the other hand, courses in art and culture will introduce students to the Cuban people, help them understand the local way of life, and learn the techniques of past and present Cuban artists.
Short term/summer vs. long term programs. International students can study abroad in Havana almost any time of the year, though summer programs and spring break programs are especially popular. Long-term options, such as semester and even yearlong programs are available too for those who want the total immersive experience!
Attending universities vs. other program types. The obvious route when deciding where specifically to study abroad in Cuba is to go the university route, however, there are many other options to consider. Other program and institution types, such as language schools and private programs and tutors, are available as well. No matter where you choose, many study abroad programs in Havana factor in plenty of field trips, such as tours of rum factories, beach escapes, salsa classes, and walking tours to give you plenty opportunities to practice your español outside the classroom walls.
Student Life in Havana
You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to filling up your spare time in Havana. During your study abroad in Cuba, hop on a guagua or ride in style in an almendron and experience what brings Havana to life. No matter what you do, you will be Havan-a good time!
The daytime hours in Havana can be easily exhausted admiring the tangible history oozing out of every nook and cranny in the city. Check out an exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, catch a show at the Gran Teatro, or take a stroll around the Hemingway Marina. You’ll find plenty of extra-credit materials to supplement your studies in Havana.
When evening strikes, head to the restaurant district to get a taste of the sizzling Cuban culinary scene and swig down a cortadito (the OG of energy drinks) so you can keep up with the vivacious Havana nightlife. Watch the sunset along the Malecón, enjoy midnight martinis in the underground jazz cafes, and salsa your heart out at La Casa de la Musica. After working up an appetite dancing the night away, feed that rumba-ly in your tumbly with some melt-in-your-mouth ropa vieja or yuca con mojo.
Goabroad Insider Tips
Even if you know a little español, Cuban Spanish is not what you took in high school. Cuban Spanish sounds like it is sipping on a mojito and has a permanent cigar wedged in the corner of its mouth. Whether it’s laziness or efficiency, syllables often get dropped and the only time you’ll hear a “D” is when you’re singing the alphabet. On top of that, there’s almost as much slang peppered into conversation as there are real words. ¡Ay, caramba!
Don’t let the mesmerizing colors, tropical drinks, and sublime beaches lull you into thinking that studying abroad in Havana will be an all-inclusive resort vacation. Of course there will be time for fun, but keep in mind that you will be in a different domain where normal daily happenings are more tightly regulated than you’re used to. Say adios to Western certainties and prepare to expect the unexpected during study abroad in Cuba.
If you’re ready to get serious about integrating your street smarts with your book smarts, listen as Havana is calling your nombre. Havana is a city of indefinable magic and it’s time to marinate yourself in the zest of it and let it seep into your soul. The world is literally your classroom when you opt to study abroad in Havana!
For even more information, read our comprehensive guide on study abroad in Cuba.