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Cuba: History, Politics, and Culture of Cuba
Havana, Cuba (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
Program Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Fact Sheet:
SUNY code: 800
Program Description:

History, Politics, and Culture of Cuba


Program Information | Requirements | Academics | Support Services | Housing | Cost Estimates | Resources

Program Information 

The University at Albany-SUNY offers a unique opportunity to study the history, culture and politics of Cuba, plus intensive Spanish language classes.  Spring and Fall semester programs offer 16 credits, and five-week Summer programs offer 6 credits.  Learn from some of Cuba's leading intellectuals, political figures and cultural icons.  The program includes academic classes combined with experiential learning, cultural experiences, and home stays with Cuban families.  The program is based in Havana, with frequent trips outside the capitol to visit farming and fishing cooperatives, historic sites, environmental projects, and tourist centers.    

Course descriptions and weekly schedules can be found in the following sections: Please note: YOU MUST BE ENROLLED AS A DEGREE-SEEKING STUDENT AT UALBANY OR ANOTHER SCHOOL TO PARTICIPATE ON THIS PROGRAM!  


2Students should have studied some Spanish prior to the start of the program, either in college or in high school, or have equivalent background.   You must be in good academic standing in order to apply; applications are welcome from students in all majors.  Dr. Hansen of our partner institution, the Autonomous University of Social Movements.  will interview students by phone as part of the application process.   
Because of restrictions under the US embargo of Cuba, the Office of Education Abroad at UAlbany must provide a letter to the student signed by the on-campus coordinator designated to manage travel to Cuba.  For more information on the nature of travel restrictions to Cuba for US citizens, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers the embargo and the relevant regulations are reproduced below.  

The full regulations are available at



The spring program offers 12 credits in history and culture and 4 credits in Spanish for a total of 16 credits. The summer program is 5 weeks and offers 6 credits: formal classes along with two workshops or meetings each week which allow students to work directly with Cuban academics, political leaders and social actors, and one or two experiential learning encounters each week which enable students to connect theory with practice. Please see the below sections for more detailed information on the course descriptions and weekly schedules for the both the summer and semester-length programs.

Semester-length program course descriptions and weekly schedule: 

Semester course descriptions: Semester weekly schedule:
Cuba course description (semester).pdf Cuba weekly schedule (semester).pdf


Summer program course descriptions and weekly schedule:

Summer course descriptions: Summer weekly schedule:
Cuba course description (summer).pdf Cuba weekly schedule (summer).pdf


1FACULTY: The program draws on some of Cuba’s most distinguished academics, political leaders and social actors from the Universities of Habana and Pinar del Rio; leading research institutes, including the Centro de Investigación de la Economía Mundial (CIEM), the Instituto de Investigaciones Culturales Juan Marinello, and the Centro de Estudios sobre Desarrollo Cooperativo y Comunitario; political leaders, including member of the Assembly of People’s Power; non-governmental institutions; and community leaders from cultural, artistic and religious groups.
Dr. Thomas Hansen, a professor at the Autonomous University of Social Movements, is the lead professor and program coordinator.  Tom holds a doctorate in Rural Development with a focus on social movements from the Universidad Autónoma  Metropolitana-Xochimilco in Mexico City.  He has 27 years of experience leading educational programs in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.  The Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas coordinates scheduling, ground transportation and housing.

General Education Information for UAlbany students: credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these General Education credits.  You may file a request to have additional courses approved.

Support Services

Cuban Rebellion The University at Albany hosts an orientation prior to the start of the program, and advisers are available to you at any time.  The staff of the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas in coordination with on-site staff from the Autonomous University  make logistical arrangements. There will be two types of internet access available in Cuba.  At the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas there will be sporadic access.  It is VERY slow.  You won't be able to access pages with lots of graphics or videos, and you will not be able to access email clients like Yahoo or most university based accounts.  You are encouraged to open a gmail account set to download html format only.

The second type of email access can be found at WIFI spots around Havana. It costs $2 per hour and it is much faster than that available at the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas. Depending on the availability of bandwidth on any particular day, you may or may not be able to do things like register for classes or access homepages with lots of bells and whistles. Telephone service is readily available to the US at a cost of about US$1.50 per minute, using phone cards that can be purchased in Cuba. Some US cell phone companies have a roaming service in Cuba, check with your provider for available services.


Students live with families in Marianao,  located on the southwest side of Havana, about 20 minutes from the city center.  It is a popular barrio with a large Afro-Cuban population.  Families are carefully screened by on-site staff  Home stays provide students with a unique opportunity to learn firsthand from Cuban families while also improving their Spanish.  


Download an estimate of costs for this program: 
Summer 2016 Cost Estimate: Cuba - MLK Center - SU16
Spring 2017 Cost Estimate: Cuba - UCP - SP17.pdf

Costs include room, board, round-trip airfare, tuition, and fees, and on-site assistance from the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas and on-site staff.  Students must obtain their own passports and arrange to travel to and from Havana.

Click here for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid


In Pictures: Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas

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Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2017 10/13/2016
Rolling Admission 01/31/2017 04/29/2017
NOTE: An optional 2-week re-entry program in Chicago immediately follows the spring semester in Cuba.
Summer 2017 04/15/2017 ** Rolling Admission 06/03/2017 07/08/2017
Fall 2017 05/01/2017 ** Rolling Admission 09/03/2017 12/01/2017

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed