Universidad de la Habana
About the Program
Watch a video about the Cuba Program!
Enriched by the strong, historic economic and cultural ties between New Orleans and Havana, Tulane University's multifaceted relationship with the Universidad de La Habana provides a solid intellectual foundation for this very special direct-enrollment program. Sponsored by Tulane's Cuban & Caribbean Studies Institute, Stone Center for Latin American Studies, and Center for Global Education, this study abroad opportunity is designed for advanced Spanish-language students who demonstrate a strong interest in the study of Cuba and Latin America in and outside the classroom.
Our Partner Institution: Founded in 1728, the Universidad de La Habana is Cuba's oldest and most prestigious institution of higher education. The main campus of UH is on the edge of the historic center of Havana in the Vedado neighborhood. UH is organized into three divisions—Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Economics— and has total of 15 departments and 14 research centers. Approximately 60,000 degree students are enrolled in 32 majors.
Orientation for the fall semester program begins in the spring semester prior to departure. Multiple meetings and seminars aim to introduce students to academic culture in Cuba, Cuban Spanish, U.S.-Cuban relations, health and safety issues in Cuba, as well as historical cultural context for the present-day Cuba. Students are expected to attend all pre-departure orientation program sessions.
Founded in 1519, Havana is the largest city in Cuba with a population of two million. It is the political and economic hub of the country, and boasts a vibrant arts scene – from the music for which the island nation is famous to film, dance, and visual arts - Havana has it all. Students will be living and studying in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood, which is at the center of Cuba’s arts and culture scenes. Students will be in walking distance to movie screenings, cultural centers, bookstores, Cuba’s famous ice cream shop Coppelia, jazz clubs, dance clubs, and Havana’s notorious malecón, where young people gather with friends by the sea. In colonial times, Vedado was a forested area outside of the boundaries of Havana’s walled in city. Then, when the city’s walls came down in the late nineteenth century, Vedado transformed into a neighborhood for elites. By the early and mid 1900s, U.S. architecture firms were enlisted to develop Vedado in modernist and art deco styles. These styles can be seen in Vedado’s many iconic buildings, which include the Hotel Nacional. Before the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Vedado was famous for its clubs, cafes, cabarets, theaters, and places to stroll and relax. After the Revolution, Vedado maintained its status as a neighborhood geared towards leisure. La Rampa, a famous street in Vedado, continues to be a site of many music venues, art markets, and hotels.
Beyond Vedado, students will be adjacent to Old Havana, where in colonial times Spanish treasure fleets would overwinter to prepare for the return journey to Spain. Students can see traces of the city wall and the castles and fortifications that were built to protect Havana from pirate attacks. By 1774, Havana was the most fortified city in the Americas. In 1982, Old Havana was named a UNESCO World Heritage site and the restoration process has been recognized internationally for its success in combining historic preservation and investments for international tourism with local community development. Old Havana is a site of revitalized colorful colonial buildings, many new restaurants and cafes, and historical sites of interest such as the Hotel Ambos Mundos and La Bodeguita del Medio, which Ernest Hemingway used to frequent.
- completion of two or more courses at Tulane in Spanish at the 3000 level or higher with a grade of B or better, including the successful completion of a Spanish course the semester prior to departure
- completion of coursework with Latin American content is strongly recommended
Students will participate in an interview with members of the Tulane faculty. The faculty review committee will make final recommendations to the Newcomb-Tulane Committee on Study Abroad. The interview will last approximately 30 minutes and be conducted in Spanish and English.
Fields of Study
Anthropology, Art History, Economics, History, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Natural and Physical Sciences, Philosophy, Political Economy, Political Science, Sociology, Spanish
Get to know the director of the Fall 2019 Faculty Leader of the Cuba program, Maile Speakman!
In this direct-enrollment program students take 12 credits directly at the Universidad de La Habana alongside local Cuban students in the departments of Artes y Letras, Filosofía e Historia, and/or Biología, plus one core course (LAST 3130) exclusively for Tulane and Rice students taught by the resident director. The Tulane faculty leader will be Visiting Professor Maile Speakman. You can learn more about here on her website. All courses at UH are taught in Spanish by resident faculty; UH courses are selected under the guidance of the Tulane resident director, as well as staff at the University.
Cuban universities tend to adhere to a very traditional classroom culture that relies heavily on memorization, expositive lectures, and PowerPoint presentations. Professor Speakman will assist students in navigating Cuba’s academic system and she will help students acquire reading materials and communicate effectively with their professors. Please e-mail Professor Speakman at email@example.com with any questions you may have about academics in Cuba or the program in general.
All credit taken on an approved Tulane Study Abroad Program comes back as elective credit. If you are planning to petition for Spanish major or minor credit, please carefully review the guidelines on the Department of Spanish and Portuguese website.
Orientation for the fall semester program begins in the spring semester prior to departure. Multiple meetings and seminars aim to introduce students to academic culture in Cuba, Cuban Spanish, U.S.-Cuban relations, health and safety issues in Cuba, as well as historical cultural context for the present-day Cuba. Students are expected to attend all pre-departure orientation program sessions during the spring semester.
Excursions and Travel during the Semester
The program will include occasional excursions to sites outside Havana. Also, every attempt will be made to facilitate connections between Tulane students and local students at UH, as well as students from other U.S. institutions in Havana. Due to visa restrictions and the difficulty of travel outside Cuba, however, Tulane students are expected to remain in Cuba for the duration of the semester.
Students on the JSA Cuba program will be automatically enrolled in Assistur Health Insurance to cover them while they are abroad. Assistur is not domestic (US) health insurance. Students must still maintain a domestic health insurance policy while they are studying abroad. The Resident Director will purchase and enroll students in this insurance on-site in Havana.
Students will stay with local home stay families. All rooms include a private bathroom, refrigerator, and air conditioning. Bed linens and towels are provided and changed weekly.
U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security
U.S. Department of State
The White House: Office of the Press Secretary
U.S. Department of Transportation