Havana: A Tale of Two Cities
Summer 2017 | Havana, Cuba and “Little Havana” (Miami), Florida
Open your eyes: Are you in Havana or Miami? To walk the streets of both cities—the original Havana and the “Little Havana” neighborhood of Miami, settled by Cuban exiles after 1959—is to marvel at the persistence of culture and identity. Along with their obvious similarities in food, music, language and vibrant street life, the two cities reflect the deeper nuances of Cuban and Cuban-American experience. Explore “the two Havanas,” forming a fuller picture of Cuban identity in this time of historic change in U.S.-Cuba relations.
Cuban History and Identity
Examine the Cuban experience through the lens of the two Havanas. Study their intertwined histories and cultures, developing insights into a complex relationship. How have historic phenomena—revolution in Havana, migration in Miami—left their imprints on the two cities? How has Cuban identity in both places been shaped by shared experiences: separation, memory and the myths of imagined homelands?
Learn to navigate cultures—both within and beyond the U.S.—that are very different than your own. As a traveler, develop the sensitivity to recognize the customs and conventions of your host culture. As a writer, develop the ability to craft honest reflections that remain respectful of a place and its people. Come away with heightened skills in diplomacy, both oral and written.
Academic and Cultural Programs
Develop a deep understanding of Cuban life in Havana and Miami through lectures, readings, guided tours of local neighborhoods and visits to heritage and cultural sites. This rich educational program has been developed in collaboration with Spanish Studies Abroad in Havana and cultural organizations in “Little Havana” (Miami). Revisit and rethink your perspectives after visiting both cities, deepening your skills in critical thinking and analysis.
Interact with the people of Havana and Miami in formal and informal settings. Hear the sometimes competing perspectives of local experts, college students and community leaders in prearranged meetings. Strike up conversations as you shop at an outdoor market or eat at a local café; many Cubans welcome a chance to practice their English with American visitors. In both countries, the Cuban people are known for their openness, warmth and political passion. Speaking with people in their local communities brings complex, geopolitical issues back to their human level.
Travel Writing and Reflection
Use travel writing as a learning tool to achieve deeper reflection and make meaningful connections among your experiences. Read the great travel writers—for example, Hemingway, whose house in Cuba is on the itinerary—and learn how they considered audience, purpose and style in their works. Write blog posts, keep a reflective travel journal and learn to weave research and your own observations into formal travel essays and other writing. All students submit a portfolio of their work on their return to the U.S.